What We Saw: Week 8

The What We Saw Team recaps all of the Sunday action from Week 8 of the 2023 NFL season

Browns @ Seahawks

Final Score: Seahawks 24, Browns 20

Writer: Jason Wolf (J_Wolf_Picks on Twitter)


Geno Smith and the Seattle Seahawks started the game out hot, scoring two touchdowns in the game’s first ten minutes and hanging 17 on the vaunted Cleveland defense in the first quarter alone. The Browns defense tightened up after the opening frame and held Seattle scoreless over the next 40+ minutes while scoring 13 consecutive points to take a 20-17 lead into the fourth quarter. The Browns’ defense looked like they were going to hold their lead until P.J. Walker committed his third and final turnover within the two minute warning. Geno Smith calmly led the Seahawks down the short field for a game winning touchdown drive with under 60 seconds left. Quarterbacks P.J. Walker and Geno Smith combined for 5 turnovers but it felt like Seattle could have won this game by double digits if Geno doesn’t turn the ball over, as the Seahawks offense was chewing up yardage with relative ease all game.

Three Up

  • David Njoku – Amidst the absence of Nick Chubb, Njoku is becoming an increased focal point of the offense. Clearly one of Cleveland’s most dangerous offensive threats, they are doing a better job of getting the ball in his hands in advantageous situations.
  • Geno Smith – Despite his box score stats not dropping any jaws and this being objectively not one of his better games, I came away impressed with Geno, especially from a fantasy perspective. If he is able to put these counting stats up against the Browns and their top defense, then he should have no problem carving up lesser squads.
  • Kareem Hunt – Though he didn’t significantly out-touch the other Browns RB’s, he was trusted in the highest leverage situations (goal-line work, third downs) and excelled in pass protection. These things as well as familiarity with their system will ensure Hunt maintains a consistent baseline level of volume.

Three Down

  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba – JSN saw his target share sharply decrease with the return of DK Metcalf, finishing third on the team in targets, clearly operating behind Metcalf as well as Tyler Lockett, who seems to have found that half a step he lost last week. Great talent trapped in one of the most crowded WR rooms in the league.
  • Jerome Ford – Partly due to injury, Ford saw the least touches of the three Browns RB’s but also did the least with his targets. Failed to convert a short yardage situation only for Hunt to come in and convert on the next play. Seemingly not the preferred third-down RB, hard to squeeze out enough value from Ford’s role unless the game script is clearly positive.
  • Elijah Moore – I don’t think anyone is expecting much from Moore at this point but all expectations can be safely thrown out the window now. Between low targets and lack of chemistry with backup QB Walker, Moore is currently not in a position to thrive.


Cleveland Browns 




PJ Walker: 15/31, 248 Yards, TD, 2 INT | 6 Carries, 27 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)

P.J. Walker had a tough day at the office overall, throwing for a sub-50 completion% and coughing the ball up three times (two interceptions and a lost fumble). Walker flashed some talent and showed he has the ability to make routine throws expected of a starting NFL QB but also struggled to maintain consistency and accuracy throughout the game, slightly over/under-throwing receivers multiple times. Two of Walker’s turnovers were entirely avoidable and unacceptable mistakes from a starting caliber QB. Walker did make a few nice plays using his legs to extend plays and make throws on the run or picking up chunk yardage on the ground.


  • No one can question his toughness as he displayed numerous times that he is willing to step up in the pocket and make throws even though he knows he will take a big hit.
  • Has the ability to make throws on the run but struggles with consistency.
  • Either held on to the ball too long or simply didn’t read the defense well enough, leading to his turnovers and several other unnecessary forced throws.
  • When given time by his offensive line, he has the ability to accurately deliver balls in the second and third levels.

Missed Opportunities

  • Had David Njoku wide open on his second interception but completely missed him, turning the ball over instead of hitting Njoku for a first down in the redzone, costing his team points.


Running Back


Kareem Hunt: 14 Carries, 55 Yards, TD | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 12 Yards

Kareem Hunt got first crack at rushing attempts in this game, and he received the most touches out of the RB group for the Browns, seeing four more touches than Pierre Strong and five more than Jerome Ford. There still seems to be some juice left in Hunt’s tank as he still runs with plenty of power and speed, hitting holes hard and consistently able to churn out tough yards. Hunt had success running in the interior lanes, consistently pushing piles forward and breaking through initial tackle attempts. Between his familiarity with the Browns system and physical tools, he still seems like a viable RB to shoulder 10-15 touches a game.


  • Excelled in pass protection this game, picking up blitzes and getting most of the third down work as a result.
  • Was called upon to get the tough yards in the short distance situations and usually converted.
  • Was given first crack at goal-to-go carries.


Pierre Strong Jr.: 10 Carries, 41 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 41 Yards

Pierre Strong Jr. displayed some nice burst out of the backfield, looking exceptionally quick on his carries to the outside. On his 40 yard catch and run, he did an excellent job following his blockers and running in the open field in squeezing every yard possible out of his lone target. Strong saw one mare carry than Jerome Ford, and looked perfectly suited for the job.


Jerome Ford: 9 Carries, 37 Yards | 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 2 Yards

Jerome Ford saw the least amount of run out of the Cleveland RB group, most likely due to him coming back from injury. Regardless, Ford was about as effective as Hunt and Strong but got the least production out of his targets in the passing game. Ford got the first crack at third-and-short carries but couldn’t convert (partly due to a poor play-call) and then Kareem Hunt came in on the next such opportunity and converted.


  • Got mostly predictable, interior run plays his way. Offense was more predictable with him in the game


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Amari Cooper: 11 Targets, 6 Receptions, 89 Yards 

The Browns made sure to get Amari Cooper involved from the jump this week as he was getting fed targets early and often, a stark contrast from last week where he didn’t do anything until the third quarter. Cleveland rectified that mistake as Cooper repeatedly made big play after big play in this one, coming down with jaw-dropping sideline catches as well as important third down conversions when the Browns needed them. Cooper saw the most targets out of any receiver with 11, but only came down with six catches due to degree of difficulty of the targets as well as seeing a lot of defensive attention from Seattle’s star-studded secondary.


  • Made two highlight-worthy grabs down the sideline, showing off every single week his elite contested catch ability; particularly down the sideline.


David Njoku: 8 Targets, 4 Receptions, 77 Yards, TD

Tight End David Njoku was clearly the second most dangerous offensive weapon on Cleveland’s offense and as such saw by far the second most targets as the team, operating as the team’s #2 passing target. Njoku looked lethal with the ball in his hands, bursting through holes and creating extra yards after contact with every catch. The Browns dialed up multiple designed screen plays for him and P.J. Walker was often looking Njoku’s way in a pinch. His big gain of the day was only possible due to his raw athletic ability and rare speed at the TE position.


  • Seeing nine targets last week and eight this week are probably at the upper threshold of his expected range, but might be the norm when the Browns have to play keep up with better offensive teams such as Seattle.
  • Cleveland doing a good job getting Njoku involved at all levels. Promising for continued future usage.


Elijah Moore: 5 Targets, 2 Receptions, 30 Yards

Only two receptions on five targets, Elijah Moore is just not a very big part of the offense as many (myself included) had anticipated.


Jordan Akins: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 6 Yards


Seattle Seahawks




Geno Smith: 23/37, 254 Yards, 2 TD, 2 INT | 2 Carries, -3 Yards, 1 Fumble (Recovered)

Geno Smith did not have his best day in the box score; far from it. Yet it felt like Smith was nearly toying with Cleveland, as if he could have stopped and turned it on “for real” whenever he wanted to. Geno had the Seahawks moving the ball up and down the field with ease the entire first half and found themselves in scoring position numerous times but turned the ball over twice to squander potential scoring opportunities. Had it not been for Geno’s untimely turnovers, Seattle could have won this game by 10+ easily. All this to say that Geno was inconsistent. He mostly made the throws he should have but also made some highly questionable decisions and some boneheaded moments which are recurring themes almost weekly with Smith. When given time he was laser accurate, dropping dimes to his receivers but when he was pressured, mistakes piled up. Despite Geno’s sloppiness this game, he turned it on when it mattered most, expertly leading the team down the field for the game winning touchdown.


  • One of the most accurate QB’s in the league when operating with a clean pocket.
  • Not always looking to escape the pocket but has excellent ability to extend plays and make throws on the run when he does.
  • Second INT was just a bad decision. Geno threw the ball right at the defender, possibly missing him due to pressure arriving. Geno is prone to questionable decisions when faced with pressure.
  • Showed excellent poise and leadership on Seattle’s game-winning touchdown drive. Never would have known he threw two interceptions by his body language and demeanor on the final drive.

Missed Opportunities

  • With Seattle in field goal range at the end of the first half, Geno threw an unnecessarily risky pass and got picked off on first down. He could have thrown the ball away and lived to see another day, securing a field goal or potentially a touchdown. Instead of getting points, he turns it over, could have potentially been the difference in the game as Seattle was down three late.
  • Had Kenneth Walker running down the sideline a solid step ahead of his defender but Geno under-threw him, leading to an incompletion instead of what should have been a monster gain / potential long touchdown score. Geno threw his second interception two plays later.


Running Back


Kenneth Walker III: 8 Carries, 66 Yards | 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 4 Yards

Star RB Kenneth Walker saw a surprisingly small workload in this game, only rushing the ball eight times and drawing two targets in the passing game. A bizarre stat line for sure, especially seeing as he was ultra efficient, averaging over 8YPC on his attempts. Walker and backfield mate Zach Charbonnet were routinely carving up the Browns defense so the run/pass balance of the Seahawks was peculiar to say the least. Even though Walker received limited work, of course he flashed his elite combination of speed and power, particularly on his 40+ yard rush where he did a nasty cutback in the backfield, creating a wide open hole which he burst through. Walker shows off his superb shiftiness weekly and this game was no different despite the lack of touches.


  • Walker is able to run through defenders just as well as he can cut back, change direction and make defenders miss in the open field.

Missed Opportunities

  • Was wide open streaking down the sideline but Geno Smith couldn’t hit him in stride.
  • In a game where Geno was under pressure in the second half, I wondered why they weren’t getting Walker more involved in the passing game since he has shown to have excellent hands for a RB.


Zach Charbonnet: 5 Carries, 53 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 11 Yards 

Zach Charbonnet saw five carries and seven touches overall compared to KW3’s 10 touches. That’s a greater portion of the workload than anyone could have reasonably expected and Charbonnet delivered with a wildly efficient 10+ YPC. Charbonnet had two runs of 20+ yards and was difficult to bring down when he had the ball.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


DK Metcalf: 14 Targets, 5 Receptions, 67 Yards

Geno Smith clearly missed his boy DK Metcalf as he showered him with targets, throwing the ball his way 14 times on the day. Metcalf was only able to snag five balls though, totaling 67 yards in the process. Metcalf’s inefficiency can mostly be chalked up to the higher degree of difficulty on his average target as well as taking a little bit of time to round into pre-injury form. Metcalf also saw a lot of poor quality targets when Geno was pressured or just hoping for his receiver to make a play. Seattle was dialing up plays for Metcalf on all levels of the field, on screens and on intermediate routes in the second + third levels.


  • Made a great play on his 30+ yard catch. His release was perfect, allowing him to immediately gain a step on the DB and did an excellent job tracking the ball in mid-air and coming down with the back shoulder catch.


Tyler Lockett: 9 Targets, 8 Receptions, 81 Yards, TD

Tyler Lockett must have heard me questioning how much he has left in the tank after last week as he was consistently getting open in this game. Finding soft spots in the Cleveland zone and doing a good job working himself open on broken/extended plays, Lockett made himself available as a safety valve all game. Coming down with short gains to keep the chains moving and snagging some intermediate balls as well, Lockett was all over the place in this one. After last week, it would have been fair to question if JSN was ready to take over for Lockett as the #2 in the offense but no one stopped to think if Lockett was ready to give that role up. Doesn’t seem like it just yet.


Jaxon Smith-Njigba: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 36 Yards, TD 

After his breakout last week, Seattle was clearly trying to get JSN the ball in space in order for him to make plays. Putting the ball in his hands in situations like a 2nd & 15 WR screen, Seattle is trying to take advantage of his YAC potential, and it is working, as his touchdown at the end of the game was perfectly schemed and executed to get him the ball in space on the outside, and it worked to perfection. JSN’s target share significantly decreased this week but that was to be expected with Metcalf back in the fold.


  • Looks amazing running with the ball in open space. Super dangerous + crazy YAC ability.


Jake Bobo: 1 Carry, 3 Yards, TD | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 23 Yards 

Probably the biggest loser of DK Metcalf’s return, Jake Bobo was again relegated to supplementary offensive piece in this one. Bobo was mostly shelved except for seeing two targets as well as scoring the game’s first touchdown on a designed run play for him within the five yard line. Bobo did well on his touchdown to recognize that the edge was sealed off and cut it back inside, allowing him to score. Good decision and quick reaction.


  • Not much room for Bobo to eat when everyone is healthy but he will be there and ready if the situation arises.


Noah Fant: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 32 Yards

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