The big, bad Seahawks beat the Browns: NFL Week 15 Recap

NFL Recap Header

wild and crazy Week 15 has come to a close, so Will and Derek are back with their unsolicited opinions on the week’s action, including the Seahawks-Browns showdown, Odell Beckham losing his mind, Brandon Weeden coming back from the dead, the Chiefs earning an apology, the Gentlemen of the Week, and the Most Hungover Fan Bases.

AP Photo/Scott Eklund

AP Photo/Scott Eklund

Will: In one of the least surprising results of Sunday, the Seahawks trounced the Browns and covered the spread in the process. What’s it like supporting the winner of an NFL squash match? Were you remotely concerned at any point? Were you in awe of the Browns gifting Seattle a field goal to end the first half by virtue of a penalty on a Hail Mary? DO YOU FEEL LIKE A BIG MAN NOW, HUH?

Derek: First, I just want to apologize to our dear readership for our inability to put together a Week 14 Recap and last week’s Wrasslin’ Wednesday. My traveling plans kept me from watching sports last week, much less forming some sort of reasoned analysis. Toss in 48 hours in planes and airports in a seven day stretch and I just couldn’t get my brain to do anything productive in a timely manner. I hope you’ll forgive us. To football!

I DO FEEL LIKE A BIG MAN. Though I admittedly was worried when Johnny hit Barnidge to cap a 15-play opening drive. I was reminded of that time the Seahawks were trailing 21-0 at home to the 0-7 Buccaneers in 2013. Sure, the Seahawks went on to win that game in overtime before winning the Super Bowl, but it was still an unpleasant memory.

I’ve been fortunate enough to make a recent habit of supporting the winner of an NFL squash match, and it seems like some sort of trap. Nine of Seattle’s first 11 games were nail-biters. Now they’ve won their last three games by a combined score of 103-26. My guard is permanently up after Super Bowl XLIX. How is this seemingly good thing going to horribly crush me in the worst possible way? Whose ACL is going down? What terrible fourth quarter collapse am I going to have to suffer through? Rip the band aid! GET IT OVER WITH!

I suppose the Browns version of that oncoming car crash was the field goal gift. I was in awe as it happened, and even more so after the fact. You noted that Seattle covered the 15 point spread, but they wouldn’t have if it weren’t for that field goal. I hope the folks who gambled on the Seahawks plan to send The Cleveland Facemasker a batch of Christmas cookies.

How are Cleveland fans dealing with The Cleveland Facemasker? How did you feel after the Browns’ opening drive? Did you see anything that makes you feel good about the future?

Will: The Facemasker, if I’m not mistaken, was former Green Bay Packer Tramon Williams. Six months ago, one might think of him as a reliable, savvy, veteran player from a winning franchise. Now he’s playing like a Brown. Poor guy never stood a chance. I think this season is too far gone for anyone — anyone reasonable, at least; a bunch of people still seem to enjoy tossing out words like inexcusable and disgraceful and embarrassing — to get too upset about it.

Funny thing is, I feel like the Browns didn’t play all that badly. Considering they were on the road against a really good team, I think it was a respectable 17-point loss. Johnny did some stuff, and Duke Johnson did some stuff, and Travis Benjamin did some stuff. Rookie offensive lineman Cameron Erving got tossed around and the secondary got shredded, but hey, whatreyagonnado?

Can you explain Doug Baldwin catching 10 touchdowns in his last four games? I can chalk up those allowed by the Browns to garden variety poor play, and I suppose the same goes for the Ravens, but this is still crazy production. Has he separated himself from the rest of the Seahawks receivers? What does he do well?

Derek: I can’t. I like Doug Baldwin a lot, in large part because he has Michael Jordan’s ability to find a slight in almost anything. One of the perks of going home was finally getting to enjoy the mountain of Seahawks stuff I bought after they won the Super Bowl. One of those Seahawks things was the Blu-Ray that I got for subscribing to Sports Illustrated for a year. And my favorite part was when the camera zoomed in on Baldwin’s sour visage during a regular season game and he angrily proclaimed “there aren’t enough 89 jerseys in the stands.” I love it. I’m going to start trolling him on Twitter and if I see him in public I’m going to pretend I think he’s Percy Harvin. You’re the best, Doug. Unless you’re reading this, in which case you suck.

But still, I can’t explain this kind of explosion. He’s doing things no one has ever done. According to Pro Football Focus, he’s the eighth best receiver in the league this year. He’s not the most athletic guy in the world, but he’s sneaky and tough and has a two-ton chip on his shoulder. I can’t wait to see the look he gives Seattle’s beat reporters when he doesn’t make the All-Pro team.

Is there a Cleveland player you’re still enjoying even though things are falling apart? And what are your views on tanking? Should the Browns bench everyone for a shot at hometown hero Joey Bosa or a(nother) quarterback?

Will: I don’t know if I’d say I’m enjoying Johnny, but I am fascinated by him and the offense. The offensive line has slowly fallen apart due to injury, so there are a whole bunch of plays where he’s just running for his life. You can see that he has a better grasp of the offense than he once did, and I think he’s trying to do all the regular boring things that quarterbacks do, but the most fun thing in the world is when he bails out and looks for someone to chuck it to downfield. If it goes to Duke or Benjamin, all the better.

As far as tanking…I mean, they really don’t have to. If they give up 50 points total in their last two games, they will have allowed more points than the 1999 expansion team. It’s remarkable how bad they are. I also don’t really know who they could bench that would make a difference besides Joe Thomas. Maybe Gary Barnidge? They just suck. I haven’t dived into mock drafts and such yet, but I’m excited about another top-three pick, even if history suggests I have no reason to feel that way.

Brandon Weeden was a Browns’ first-rounder, and now he is an NFL starter again, this time for the Houston Texans. Will you take solace in his starting for three different franchises when you have a personal failure? Does Brandon Weeden have the most inspirational career in football?

 Michael Conroy

Michael Conroy

Derek: I think Steve Harvey is going to get me through all of my personal failures for years to come. But I’m always looking forward to more Weeden. He’s certainly inspirational, in that he inspires me to take out a huge loan so I can bet against him in the playoffs and set myself up for life. I really can’t express how excited I am to watch him in the playoffs. They’re going to lose 3-2 and J.J. Watt will glare at him so fiercely that he’s banished to 300 cycles in the Phantom Zone. Still a great night!

What did you think of that Panthers-Giants game? Was it the Game of the Year?

Will: It was pretty freakin’ awesome. I didn’t watch most of it once the Panthers went up 35-14, because what was gonna happen, Eli leading the Giants comeback against an undefeated team? But that’s exactly what he did. New York scored four touchdowns in a 15-minute span across the third and fourth quarters. Alas, they left Cam and company almost two minutes to get three points, which turned out to be plenty.

The greater story, sadly, is that the shine appears to be coming off of Odell Beckham. delivered a nasty headshot to Josh Norman and earned himself a one-game suspension in the process. In your most outraged voice, how much contempt should we have for him?

Derek: <outrage>He’s a thug and he should be suspended for a year!</outrage>

I wasn’t too bothered by it. He absolutely should have been ejected or benched, but it was one of the most compelling things I’ve seen all year. The only legitimate contempt I can muster is for Beckham and the Giants’ PR teams, who are out in full force trying to make the situation look different than what it was. It was bats! It was gay slurs! Or maybe he was a little too amped up and got carried away. This is why I don’t like PR people.

Is there any subplot or playoff scenario you’re looking forward to seeing play out over the last two weeks?

Will: The AFC playoffs could be really, really bad. The quarterbacks could, anyway. Right now we’re looking at Brady and Roethlisberger, then its A.J. McCarron (in for Andy Dalton), Bork Osweiler, Brandon Weeden, and Alex Smith, with Ryan Fitzpatrick hoping to butt in. In the NFC, meanwhile, we have Cam, Carson Palmer, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson (and Kirk Cousins and Teddy Bridgewater). Too early to take the NFC money line in the Super Bowl?

Is there any random non-playoff team that you have found yourself getting somewhat attached to this season, for better or worse? Who compels you?

AP Photo/Nick Wass

AP Photo/Nick Wass

Derek: They may not end up being a non-playoff team, but I’ve been really interested in the Chiefs. Way back in Week 5, you asked me if I thought any teams were already done for the year. I said the Lions (because they sucked) and the Chiefs, because they were 1-4 and they just lost Jamaal Charles for the year. “It was going to be difficult to crawl back to respectability with Charles,” I said. “Without him, they’re done.” Now they’re 9-5 with home games against Cleveland and Oakland to close out the year. They have the same record as the Steelers and the Seahawks. I don’t know how this is happening. If they do get that sweet, sweet playoff game against Brandon Weeden, they’ll deserve it.

Let’s hand out this week’s hardware.

Gentlemen of the Week

Derek: Who else but Ron Rivera? No more bats on the field! That’s a load off.

Will: I’ll second that. Look at this stupid shit:

A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Beckham felt threatened when [Marcus] Ball carried the baseball bat onto the field in pregame warm-ups and motioned with it toward the receiver while making comments.

You’re threatened by a guy gesturing with a bat when 300-pound dudes trying to break every one of your ribs is an every-play thing? C’MON MAN!

Most Hungover Fan Bases

Derek: Cowboys fans. They’ve had to watch some truly, truly horrific quarterback play this year. Matt Cassel got flagged for intentional grounding and threw an interception on the same play, which I didn’t think was possible. Now they’re going to finish in last place in one of the worst divisions in recent memory and somehow the quarterback they cut earlier this year could start a playoff game for the Texans. It’s difficult to pity Cowboys fans, but I do. That’s a rough run of luck.

Will: I’ll go with San Diego. The Chargers may have played their last ever game in San Diego, and that just plain sucks. Also, how weird is it that we don’t yet know the fate of the Chargers, Raiders, or Rams? Doesn’t it take longer than six months to build a stadium and move a franchise? The NFL is so dumb.

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