Seahawks Game Day: Seattle vs. Cleveland

  • By John Boyle Herald Writer
  • Sunday, October 23, 2011 12:01am
  • Sports

KEY MATCHUP

Seahawks FS Earl Thomas vs. Browns QB Colt McCoy

These former Texas Longhorn teammates should both play a pivotal role in today’s game. Thanks to a struggling run game, the Browns will have to rely on McCoy to move the ball more than they’d like to–he threw 106 time

s in the last two games–while Thomas has emerged as the leader of a young but talented secondary.

Back in their college days, Thomas and McCoy squared off all the time in practice, and according to Thomas it went back and forth on who would get the better of the other. All of those practices against each other won’t give either much of an advantage today, however.

“I know what type of guy he is, but as far as game-planning, it’s a totally different offense,” Thomas said. ” . . . It’ll be weird seeing him over on the other side after playing with him in college.”

While his numbers have been less than stellar, McCoy has been good taking care of the ball, having thrown only three interceptions in five games. Thomas and the rest of Seattle’s secondary would love to change that. With Thomas’ speed and ball skills, it’s almost surprising he hasn’t returned an interception for a touchdown yet in his young career. Will he do it today against a friend and former teammate?

If he does, it won’t be the first time Thomas has picked McCoy, but it will be the first time in a game that matters.

“We had a lot of intense battles,” Thomas said. “Spring game, he threw me a pick my freshman year, starting my career off, about a 50-yard run. He chased me to the end zone, I scored on him. I kind of did a little end zone dance–it was the spring game, you can do whatever you want–and he was a little salty about that.”

IMPORTANT INJURIES

Seahawks: QB Tarvaris Jackson is doubtful, and while Pete Carroll left open the possibility of him playing, all signs point to Charlie Whitehurst getting the start. TE Zach Miller has been ruled out with a head and neck injury, and center Max Unger is doubtful.

Browns: LB Scott Fujita is out with a concussion. Several key players are listed as questionable including RB Peyton Hillis (hamstring) CB Joe Haden (knee) and RT Tony Pashos (ankle). WR Josh Cribbs (knee) and C Alex Mack (illness) are probable.

SERIES HISTORY

Seattle leads the all-time series 11-5, but Cleveland won the last meeting in 2007. The Seahawks are 4-2 in Cleveland, having last won there 10 years ago in a 9-6 thriller.

KEY NUMBER

3–Current and former Seahawks head coaches who will be at Sunday’s game. Pete Carroll will be on the Seahawks sideline, Mike Holmgren will be there as Cleveland’s president, and Jim Mora will be providing commentary for Fox’s TV broadcast.

Seahawks will win if they . . . Keep momentum going off the bye. Seattle put together its best six quarters off offense leading into the bye, now they need to keep that up, and most likely with a new quarterback leading the way. . . Pressure Colt McCoy. The Seahawks have sacked the quarterback six times in their two victories, and only twice in three losses. . . Keep it up with the turnovers. The Seahawks forced only two turnovers in their first four games, then had five takeaways against New York. . . Take care of the ball in the red zone. As good as the Seahawks have been offensively of late, they have turned the ball over three times in the red zone in the last six quarters.

Browns will win if they . . . Get the run game going. Cleveland ranks 30th in the league in rushing, and as a result Colt McCoy is throwing far too often (106 attempts in the last two games). . . Make the quarterback uncomfortable. Seattle’s young line is getting better, but the Seahawks did allow six sacks in their last game, and have allowed 20 this season. . . Test an inexperienced secondary. With Marcus Trufant out for the year, Seattle is suddenly very young in the back end. . . Make a big play on special teams. Seattle has been vulnerable at times in the return game, and Browns return ace Josh Cribbs is one of the best in the business.

PICK

Seahawks 20, Browns 16

Both teams are 2-3, but are trending in different directions. The Seahawks have won two of their last three and shown big improvement, while the Browns are coming off of back-to-back losses. Cleveland’s only wins came over Miami and Indianapolis, a pair of winless teams.

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