Week 19 Game Recap: Washington Redskins 10, Seattle Seahawks 20
What you need to know
Washington started the game very slowly on offense yet again, but did manage to pick up the pace in the second half. After gaining only 74 total yards and three first downs before halftime, the Redskins’ passing game started to produce.
QB Mark Brunell had a poor first half, completing just seven passes for 38 yards. He was under pressure a number of times and had to get rid of the ball rather than take a sack. His second half was much improved, as he was 15 for 22 for 204 yards and a touchdown. He was able to throw both the deep ball and with touch across the middle, hitting his receivers in stride and letting them pick up multiple yards after the catch.
WR Santana Moss was the most targeted receiver, and he finished with over 100 yards and the only Redskins’ touchdown. TE Chris Cooley put up better numbers than in the Wild Card round, catching four passes for 85 total yards. Many of those yards came after the catch, as Cooley was used often across the middle or on designed screens.
RB Clinton Portis failed to get on track against Seattle, struggling to gain 41 yards on 17 carries. Portis had only 24 yards on 12 tries in the first half, picking up zero first downs on those attempts.
The Redskins defense came up with three turnovers, two on special teams, but they failed to capitalize on a few key interceptions. CB Carlos Rogers had a sure touchdown in the second quarter and failed to grab the ball, which would have changed the dynamics of the game dramatically. Instead of Washington leaping out to a 10-0 lead, Seattle continued that same drive to score a touchdown and go up for good, 7-3.
RB Shaun Alexander was forced to leave the game in the first quarter due to a concussion. He was unable to return to the game, but Head Coach Mike Holmgren believes that he should be able to play next week in the NFC Championship Game against Carolina.
With Alexander out, QB Matt Hasselbeck had to lead the offense. He stepped up his game to do just that, completing over 60% of his passes and throwing for over 200 yards and a touchdown. He also added 21 yards on the ground, including a six yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
WR Darrell Jackson was Hasselbeck’s favorite target, and Jackson did not disappoint. He caught all nine passes that were thrown in his direction, gaining a team record 143 yards and scoring from 29 yards out in the second quarter. Jackson caught short and long passes, including three for over 25 yards. He did have to leave the game briefly in the first half with a back injury but was able to continue.
Seattle was fortunate in this game, for they did turn the ball over three times to Washington. An Alexander fumble in the red zone likely took Seattle points off the board, and a fumbled punt set up the Redskins for a 3-0 lead. Another special teams miscue, a fumbled away kickoff return, set up Washington to try and score a field goal late in the game but it sailed wide.
RB Maurice Morris and RB Mack Strong filled in for the injured Shaun Alexander. Strong broke off a 32 yard run late in the fourth quarter, his career best run and the longest run by any Seahawk in postseason history.
Seattle ended the longest win drought of any NFL team. Seattle had not won a playoff game in 21 years, and now are just one game away from the Super Bowl for only the second time in the 30 year history of the franchise.
What you ought to know
|QB Mark Brunell, Pass: 22 - 37 - 242 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 12 - 0|
Brunell had a terrible first half, completing only seven passes for 38 yards. He was pressured often and had to throw the ball away to avoid the sack. Brunell had to call his own number and sneak for a yard in the second minute of the second quarter for Washington’s first first down of the game.
Brunell picked up the pace in the second half in part due to the deficit on the scoreboard. Washington had kept a decent balance on offense before the final quarter, but after entering the last period down 14-3 Brunell threw 14 times compared to just three running plays. He targeted his favorite receiver, WR Santana Moss, ten times in the second half and targeted TE Chris Cooley another six. Brunell used the touch pass and the deep ball to move the chains effectively as he gained over 200 yards and connected for the only Redskins’ touchdown of the game to Moss.
|RB Clinton Portis, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 17 - 41 - 0, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (5 targets)|
Portis was the feature back for the Redskins despite nagging shoulder injuries, but he could not get the offense moving. He had 12 carries in the first half but none of those went for longer than four yards or for a first down. Portis entered the locker room at halftime with just 24 yards rushing and a two yard average.
Portis had more meaningful production in the second half despite fewer touches. He gained 18 yards rushing on only four carries, picking up two first downs including one on fourth down. He also added two catches for 11 yards and lost a third catch and run for 26 yards on a penalty, but the yardage came mostly as the Seattle defense was letting up knowing that they had committed the infraction.
Portis tried a halfback option pass in the third quarter to TE Chris Cooley, but the pass was defended well by the Seahawks’ FS Marquand Manuel in the end zone.
|RB Ladell Betts, Rush: 3 - 5 - 0, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (3 targets)|
Betts was used sparingly, getting only six touches in the game on offense. He was used predominantly in the second half, but Betts did get seven meaningless rushing yards on the final play of the first half. Betts added one more carry in each of the last two quarters, netting a negative two yards.
Betts contributed more as a receiver out of the backfield, catching all three of his second half targets on short routes. He finished with 21 total receiving yards, 19 of which came in the final quarter.
Betts was also the main kickoff return man, netting 77 yards on four kickoff returns.
|WR Santana Moss, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 7 - 103 - 1 (14 targets)|
Moss was the central figure of the Redskins’ passing game, as he led the team in receptions, targets and yardage and scored the only Washington touchdown. After only catching one pass for 14 yards before halftime, Moss contributed three big plays in the second half that accounted for 82 total yards. Moss gained 23 yards and a first down early in the third quarter, then later added a 39 yard catch late in the game on a fourth down desperation pass from QB Mark Brunell. In between those catches Moss caught a 20 yard touchdown pass that somehow got between two Seattle defenders and to his hands. The ball actually deflected off of Seattle CB Andre Dyson and right to a waiting Moss for the score.
Many of Moss’ incomplete targets were either out of bounds or uncatchable, and he was also often double covered. Despite being a main focus of the Seattle defense, he still was able to beat the coverage and get open enough to post over 100 yards on the day.
Jacobs got the start this week due to an injury to WR James Thrash. He recovered from dropping his first target, catching all three of his next chances. Jacobs gained just three yards total on his first two short catches, but gained 16 and picked up a first down on a nice crossing pattern in the second quarter. All of his targets came in the first half. Jacobs also missed part of the game due to an illness but was able to return.
Farris was used sparingly, coming in as the #2 wide receiver when WR Taylor Jacobs had to leave the game due to illness. He was targeted deep downfield in the second quarter on a 50 yard throw, but was called for offensive pass interference and still did not make the catch.
Thrash was inactive for this game due to his thumb injury. Thrash had surgery on it early in the week but could not make a recovery in time to play in this contest. WR Taylor Jacobs started in his place.
Cooley started the game slowly, just like the rest of the Redskins. He had only one catch in the first half, a tight end screen that he ran for a nine yard gain. Cooley became a bigger part of the offense in the second half, as he caught a 16 yard pass in the third quarter for a first down. He was also the intended recipient of RB Clinton Portis’ attempt at a halfback option pass, but the 30 yard toss to the end zone was well defended by the Seahawks’ FS Marquand Manuel.
Cooley’s biggest play of the game came in the fourth quarter, as he caught a softly thrown 24 yard pass from QB Mark Brunell in the seam and ran 28 more yards for 52 yards and the longest play of the game. The 52 yard catch was the key play of the Redskins’ only touchdown drive of the game.
Royal officially caught three short passes for just three total yards. His first catch would have been better to have been a drop, since Royal caught a pass from a scrambling QB Mark Brunell that resulted in a six yard loss. Royal later added two short catches for nine total yards in the fourth quarter to bring his total yards to the plus side. He also lost his fourth catch, a six yard gain, due to a penalty.
Hall converted his first field goal, a short attempt of 26 yards in the second quarter. He later attempted a 36 yard kick in the fourth quarter but it sailed wide left. Hall also added one extra point on his only chance.
Washington stifled RB Shaun Alexander in the first quarter, affording him just nine yards on six tries and recovering a fumble. They kept that pace up against his replacement, RB Maurice Morris, holding him to under 50 yards. However, they did give up two big plays. The first was QB Matt Hasselbeck’s six yard run for a touchdown, and the second was RB Mack Strong’s 32 yard run near the end of the game that chewed up more clock and set up Seattle for their second field goal.
The Redskins had ample opportunities to make a big play with an interception, but they failed to catch the ball when it counted. CB Carlos Rogers had a clear path to the end zone in the second quarter as he jumped a pass to RB Maurice Morris but dropped the ball.
The secondary could not stop WR Darrell Jackson from catching nine passes for a Seattle record 143 yards and a touchdown. They were also unable to sack QB Matt Hasselbeck.
Hasselbeck was close to a one man offensive show after RB Shaun Alexander had to leave the game in the first quarter. Hasselbeck, a Pro Bowler for the first time in his career, answered the call and had one of his best playoff game performances. Hasselbeck threw for over 200 yards and a touchdown as he completed over 60% of his passes. He also used his feet to help the offense, running four times for 23 yards in the first three quarters. His fourth carry came on a third down near the goal line on the opening drive of the second half. Once Hasselbeck saw that the right corner of the end zone was available, he ran right for the pylon and scored the second Seahawk touchdown of the game.
Hasselbeck favored WR Darrell Jackson in the passing game, throwing to him nine times, the most of any receiver. Jackson returned the favor by grabbing all nine for a Seattle record 143 yards and a touchdown. Hasselbeck threw the touchdown pass in the only place that Jackson could make a play on the ball, his back left shoulder, and Jackson slid into the end zone as he caught the scoring pass.
Hasselbeck did not play a perfect game. In fact, some might say that luck was on his side. He made a few bad judgments that could have easily resulted in a turnover and possible defensive touchdown. Hasselbeck scrambled on a play in the second quarter and instead of throwing the ball away he threw it up for grabs towards WR Joe Jurevicius, but it sailed right to SS Ryan Clark who made a leaping attempt but failed to catch the ball. The most dangerous play was in the middle of the second quarter where Hasselbeck forced an out pass towards RB Maurice Morris. CB Carlos Rogers jumped the route and had a clear path to the end zone, but dropped the ball.
Morris was asked to fill in for RB Shaun Alexander after he was forced from the game due to a concussion. Morris did not produce many yards, gaining only 49 despite 18 attempts. He did add 16 more on a short pass to the flat in the fourth quarter, but for most of the game was not very productive.
Alexander left the game in the first quarter with a concussion and did not play for the rest of the game. After the game, Head Coach Mike Holmgren addressed the NFL MVP’s availability for the NFC Championship Game, stating that he believes that Alexander will be ready for it.
Alexander had gotten off to a very poor start to the game, losing ground on three of his six carries. He also lost the handle on the ball in the red zone, as he fumbled the ball away to Washington inside of their 15 yard line. Alexander was not hit on the fumble; it just slipped out of his hands, likely in part due to the very wet conditions.
Strong had just three carries, but his last was one of the highlights of the game. Strong ran the ball for 32 yards and a first down on a third and long play near midfield with just over five minutes left in the game. The big yardage pickup set up Seattle for a short field goal and a two score lead to ice the victory for the Seahawks.
Strong’s 32 yard rush was the longest run in Seattle postseason history. It was also the longest run in the Pro Bowl fullback’s 13 year career.
Jackson was the most targeted receiver as QB Matt Hasselbeck threw towards him nine times. Jackson caught every single one, catching the ball everywhere and anywhere on the field for Seattle. Jackson caught short passes on the sides and across the middle, and then added three catches for over 25 yards each. He came up big just at the right time, as the loss of RB Shaun Alexander forced Seattle to emphasize the passing game.
Jackson had three catches in the first quarter, including a 37 yard deep sideline pattern that dropped perfectly to him in stride as he stepped out of bounds. The production kept going into the second period, as he caught four more passes for another 49 yards, including a 29 yard reception. This second long catch resulted in the only passing touchdown of the game for the Seahawks. QB Matt Hasselbeck threw the ball in the only place that Jackson could make a play on it, his back left shoulder, and Jackson slid into the end zone as he caught the pass for a touchdown.
Jackson caught only two more passes after halftime, both in the second quarter, for ten and 37 yards respectively. Both were sufficient for Seattle first downs. He also left for a portion of the first half with a back injury but returned to the game.
Engram was the target of six short passes from QB Matt Hasselbeck, including two in the end zone. Engram had a sure touchdown in the first quarter but the ball was batted away at the last moment by Redskin DB Sean Taylor.
Engram caught just two balls, a short nine yard catch in the first quarter and an even shorter two yarder in the fourth.
Jurevicius caught a nice stop and go pass in the third quarter for 31 yards and a first down. QB Matt Hasselbeck waved him to continue his route down the sideline, and Jurevicius obliged. Hasselbeck hit him in stride as Jurevicius caught the pass and gained 31 yards on the play.
Jurevicius had one other target in the first quarter, as Hasselbeck made a poor decision to throw in his direction despite double coverage. Seattle was fortunate that the pass fell incomplete as Jurevicius acted more as a defender than a receiver on the play.
Stevens was targeted very little by QB Matt Hasselbeck. All three of his chances came in the third quarter, and Stevens caught the first two for 13 total yards. The third was a seam route that Stevens likely had a play on had he not been hit illegally downfield. The pass fell incomplete but the Seahawks did pick up the first down along with five yards.
Hannam caught just one pass, a one yard catch in the fourth quarter. His biggest contribution came on the touchdown run by QB Matt Hasselbeck, as he sealed the end zone with a great block to allow Hasselbeck to reach the end zone unscathed.
Brown scored eight points for the Seahawks, converting two extra points and two short field goals of 33 and 31 yards in the fourth quarter.
RB Clinton Portis gained only 41 yards on 17 attempts as Seattle held the Redskins to just 59 rushing yards on 25 attempts. Most of that total came in the first three quarters, as Washington nearly abandoned the run in the final period.
Seattle kept QB Mark Brunell under pressure for most of the game, forcing him to throw the ball away rather than to take a sack. They held Washington to 38 yards passing in the first half and just 51 more in the third quarter. They did allow a touchdown but it was off of a deflection. Seattle also failed to force any turnovers for the game except for a meaningless fourth down sack and fumble on QB Brunell.