A year after making the transition from Canadian Football League player to Pro Bowl cornerback, Brandon Browner is continuing to prove his value to the Seattle Seahawks.
Browner came up with two key plays to help the Seahawks earn their first road win of the season, a 16-12 victory over the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, including a strip and fumble recovery that helped shift the momentum back in Seattle's favor. He later teamed with Marcus Trufant to stop the Panthers' Louis Murphy at the 1 on a critical third and goal in the fourth quarter.
"I don't think you can find a better football play in the fourth quarter than Brandon Brown makes when he takes the football away from them. It's just an extraordinary play. But that stop on the goal line with Brandon and Marcus, that was the game right there in front of us, so it was really cool," coach Pete Carroll said.
Browner joined the Seahawks last year after spending four years with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. He fit in perfectly with Seattle's physical pressing defense. His six interceptions were tied for fourth-most in the league and he was one of three members of the Seahawks' secondary to make the Pro Bowl in 2011.
"I feel like I'm playing well, but there's always room for improvement," Browner said. "I could be 13 years into the league and still feel like I have things I can work on."
His improvements have included drawing fewer penalties.
Browner was the most penalized player in the league last year with 19 penalties on the season. He had four multi-penalty games and only had three games without incurring a penalty. Through five games this season, Browner has had just four penalties called against him. After compiling six defensive pass interference calls a year ago, he has yet to be called for one this season. He's also played two penalty-free games.
"I think all the calls that he got last year weren't always on him," fellow cornerback Richard Sherman said. "You just have to get used to seeing how he plays. He's a real aggressive, he's a real powerful physical being and I think a lot of times last year he got flagged because they just didn't understand how he was in position to do what he was doing."
Browner and Sherman form a formidable pair to throw against. Panthers receiver Steve Smith was targeted 13 times against the Seahawks and was held to just four catches for 40 yards. According to STATS LLC, Browner has been targeted 26 times this season and allowed just 11 receptions through five games.
Browner and Sherman will be in for a challenge this week as the New England Patriots and the league's top-ranked offense visit Seattle. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is going to rely on Browner and Sherman to carry the load against the Patriots.
"Our corners are key each and every week and they're going to be key this week. They're going to be challenged," Bradley said. "...We know they're going to attack the outside. There's going to be a lot of one-on-one matchups and we've seen that throughout the year. It starts with those guys being able to hold up out there."
Notes: C Max Unger (hip), DT Clinton McDonald (groin) and DT Jaye Howard did not practice Thursday. ... RB Marshawn Lynch (back) returned to full participation after being limited Wednesday. ... G John Moffitt (knee) is out for Sunday's game.
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