and Scott Petrak
CLEVELAND — When the Browns traded for Odell Beckham Jr., the energy surrounding this season rocketed to new heights.
Beckham’s goal is to match that level on the field.
The star wide receiver turned in a solid game against Seattle on Sunday in a 32-28 loss — six catches on 11 targets for 101 yards with a drop — but was critical of himself in a number of areas and aims to make a bigger impact going forward.
“I was very proud of our effort,” Beckham said. “I woke up with it on my mind today to have energy. I hate losing and at times, and I feel in the past I’ve let the team down as far as not bringing the energy every single day. It’s something I will never not bring to the field again.
“Just being a leader, being a better teammate and pushing those guys when we’re down is something I put on my plate. A lot of this game I could have changed the game in many ways, it just wasn’t the case today.”
Fellow receiver Jarvis Landry criticized the play calling during the week and said the Browns needed to “deliberately” get the ball to Beckham. And for the most part, Cleveland was successful in doing so.
Most of Beckham’s work came in the first half, when he caught five passed for 82 yards. He had a nice catch in the second quarter to take the Browns back into Seattle territory, cutting over the middle on a slant and catching a well-timed ball from Baker Mayfield for an 18-yard gain. However, Mayfield threw an interception two plays later.
Beckham was held to just one catch in the second half — a short route over the middle midway through the third quarter. The ball was thrown accurately to give Beckham a chance to cut up field for extra yardage, turning into a 19-yard gain to the Seattle 29-yard line. Once again Cleveland turned the ball over — this time Nick Chubb fumbled — and Seattle took its first lead with a touchdown on the ensuing drive.
Mayfield said the Browns weren’t necessarily forcing the issue with Beckham, rather walking the line between taking what the defense gave them and making sure one of the team’s top weapons was utilized.
“I think it was a little bit of both,” Mayfield said. “Definitely trying to get it into the playmakers’ hands like I harped on all week. He can make plays, and when he is hot, he is going to make plays.”
A frustrated coach Freddie Kitchens didn’t care that Beckham had six catches following back-to-back games with two apiece, which matched a career low.
“I don’t go off of numbers,” Kitchens said. “I just go off of I think Odell for the most part was where he was supposed to be and caught the balls that were there for the most part.”
OUT OF CHARACTER
Chubb had another strong game, rushing for 122 yards, a 6.1 average and two touchdowns.
But his first lost fumble in 22 NFL games stung. It was one of four Browns turnovers.
“For the most part we hurt ourselves and didn’t give ourselves a chance,” Chubb said. “There was a couple of turnovers, and I was responsible for one of them. We need to be very critical of ourselves and keep moving.”
Chubb has six rushing touchdowns this season and 14 in his career. He rebounded from the fumble with the go-ahead 3-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“Nick is an incredible player and somebody that we rely on,” Mayfield said. “Mistakes are going to happen. He is going to be a whole lot harder on himself than anybody else in this whole world can be. We trust him wholeheartedly, and we are not going to stray away from getting him the ball.”
Chubb had a 52-yard run and impressed Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
“Nick is a great player,” he said. “We made a terrible mistake on that one, but he is a fantastic competitor and we have great respect for him.”
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Receiver Rashard Higgins was back.
Then he wasn’t.
Higgins was active after missing four games with a knee injury but didn’t play an offensive snap. Antonio Callaway took all the reps as the No. 3 receiver, catching two passes on four targets for 22 yards.
Higgins, who was injured blocking during the opening loss to the Titans on Sept. 8, was a security blanket for Mayfield last year but fell behind Callaway on the depth chart when Callaway returned from a four-game drug suspension last week.
With Callaway and Higgins active, receiver Damion Ratley was a healthy scratch.
** In Landry’s rant about getting the ball to the playmakers during the week, he included himself. He can’t be happy with three catches on five targets for 36 yards.
He thought he had a touchdown catch from the 1-yard line, but it was ruled a fumble and Kitchens lost the challenge.
Landry walked out of the locker room before reporters were permitted in.
UP AND DOWN
Dontrell Hilliard set the tone for the fast start with a 74-yard return on the opening kickoff, leading to a touchdown. It was the longest kickoff return for the Browns since Travis Benjamin’s 83-yarder in 2013.
But the final impression of Hilliard was a Mayfield pass going through his hands on Cleveland’s final drive for an interception.
“Tell him to catch the ball,” Kitchens said of his message to the backup running back.
Mayfield was gentler on Hilliard, who was picked to serve as a game captain.
“Trell played great,” he said. “Obviously, there is a lot of stuff that we can look back on and learn from. Stuff like that is going to happen. It is just the timing of it is obviously not great.”
Defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale suffered a concussion when he landed on the sideline after chasing running back Chris Carson.
** Right guard Eric Kush exited with an ankle injury but returned after one play. He was limping badly leaving the locker room and a cart was called.
Wyatt Teller took his spot for the one play.
** Mayfield went to the locker room to have his sore hip examined but didn’t miss a play.
** Seattle tight end Will Dissly suffered an Achilles injury and is likely done for the season.
Cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams were inactive for the fourth straight game with hamstring injuries. Williams tweeted he’ll return to face the Patriots on Oct. 27 after the bye, and Ward will likely join him.
** Backup tackle Kendall Lamm (knee) was inactive for the fifth straight game.
** The other inactives were healthy scratches: offensive lineman Austin Corbett, defensive end Genard Avery and receiver Taywan Taylor.
** Defensive end Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence were fined $10,527 apiece for unnecessary roughness Monday night against the 49ers. Vernon wasn’t penalized but gave quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a shot to the head when he didn’t have the ball. Lawrence was called for a face mask.