The Seahawks moved to 5-2 on Sunday, defeating the Cleveland Browns 24-20 to move into first place in the NFC West. A late deflection by safety Jamal Adams led to an interception by safety Julian Love, setting up Geno Smith and the offense for the game-winning drive. As Adams continues to make plays a few games into returning from injury, Seattle's defense once again came through and gave the team opportunities to win.
After giving up 20 points through three quarters, the Seahawks defense held the Browns scoreless in the fourth. Cleveland's offense produced 385 total yards, snapping Seattle's three-game streak of holding opponents to less than 250. After falling behind 17-7 in the first, Cleveland scored 13 unanswered points to take a three-point lead before Adams made the game-changing play. On third down with two minutes remaining, a blitzing Adams deflected Browns quarterback P.J. Walker's pass with his head, with Love nabbing the interception. The play would make way for a 44-yard game-winning drive from quarterback Geno Smith, capped by a touchdown to rookie wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Following the game, Coach Pete Carroll discussed Adams' role in shifting the tide of the game.
"Man," said Carroll. "This is what he lives for. He lives for these opportunities and to go for it when it was on the line. You know, right there, he came up with a way to figure it out and did something that changed our fortune in this game. Fantastic."
Since returning following a concussion suffered in Week 4's 24-3 win over the New York Giants, Adams continues to lead by example in his three appearances this season. Including Love's late-game pick, Seattle forced three turnovers, two of which led to touchdowns, and one of which ended a Cleveland drive in Seattle territory. Second-year cornerback Tariq Woolen nabbed his first interception of the season, while linebacker Boye Mafe recovered a fumble forced by linebacker Jordyn Brooks. On a day when he threw two interceptions, Smith discussed postgame repaying the defense with the game-winning touchdown.
"Of course," said Smith. "Our defense is playing lights out football. We've got to continue to reward those guys because they're really one of the better defenses in football. We have a chance every single week when we have that type of defense. We know that once we get out to a lead and score points, they're going to be able to pass rush. Today we let them back in the game because we weren't consistent throughout, but if we can be consistent and continue to put up points, man, we'll be pretty good."
Adams reflected postgame on Smith's resiliency and the defense's ability to come up big.
"Just grit," said Adams. "Perseverance, and obviously just to finish. That's what we preach over here man. We're never out of it until the last inning is done, once that time clicks off that's the end of the game. But, as long as we have time on the clock, we're going to fight. We're going to fight until the end."
In Adams' first full game of the year against the Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle fell short despite the defense held their AFC opponent to three points in the second half. The Seahawks have won two straight since, and have allowed a total of nine second-half points in their last four games.
Love praised Adams for his headbutt assist in his first interception as a Seahawk, comparing him to international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.
"He was like a prime Ronaldo right there," said Love. "That play is all credit to Mal. The way he plays, the passion, the energy, the physicality. If he's not pressuring the way he is, that play never happens and who knows what happens at the end of the game. So, thanks Jamal Adams."
As the seventh-year safety continues to get comfortable on the field again after dealing with injuries, he leads a hungry Seattle defense that continues to find a way to make big plays when the team needs it most.
Check out some of the best action shots from Week 8 vs. the Browns at Lumen Field on October 29, 2023. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.