PJ Walker and the Cleveland Browns had a chance to win late Sunday afternoon in Seattle.
But when faced with a narrow third down in the fourth quarter at Lumen Field, Walker did the one thing he couldn’t do.
Instead of playing it safe, Walker tried to force the ball to Amari Cooper with a quick slant near midfield on a third-and-3 just before the two-minute warning. While Cooper was surrounded by three Seahawks defenders when Walker made the throw, the ball never made it.
Instead, the ball was bounced off the helmet of safety Jamal Adams and intercepted by Julian Love about 20 yards further down the field. That was the decisive touchdown for Seattle and the 24:20 victory.
The Browns didn’t need to throw the ball there at all. They had a 20-17 lead at that point and could easily have run the ball to score first. It wasn’t like the clock was a problem either, as it would stop despite the two-minute warning after the game.
But they made the mistake and the Seahawks capitalized on it. Geno Smith found Jaxon Smith-Njigba for a nine-yard touchdown with just 38 seconds left in the game, giving them a four-yard lead. The Seahawks then shut out the Browns one final time, securing the victory that moved them to 5-2 on the season.
Smith threw 23 of 37 for 254 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. They also took a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a short run by Jake Bobo and a 12-yard touchdown catch by Tyler Lockett, who finished the day with 81 yards on eight catches. Kenneth Walker III also had 66 rushing yards on eight carries.
Walker – who started in place of Deshaun Watson, who is still dealing with a shoulder injury – went 15 of 31 for 248 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in the loss. His first interception came early in the second quarter after starting a drive into the red zone. Kareem Hunt had 55 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and Cooper had 89 yards on six catches.
The Browns are now 4-3 this season. They will host the Arizona Cardinals next week, although it is unclear whether Walker or Watson will start in that matchup.