There’s been one constant in the last 3 playoff appearances by the Redskins, the Seattle Seahawks. 2005, 2007 & now 2012. Redskins have beat Seattle the last 6 times they’ve faced them in the regular season, but the Seahawks have beat them the last 2 times it’s mattered, in the playoffs. Redskins & Seahawks are the NFC’s two hottest teams, with the biggest current win streaks in the NFC at 7 & 5 respectively. Since this is a playoff game, I want to do a mega preview, highlighting previous match-ups & detailing this current match-up.
Coaches: Joe Gibbs, Redskins. Mike Holmgren, Seahawks.
The Redskins offense came into this game struggling, having set an NFL record by posting the lowest total yardage (120) in a postseason win in the wildcard game against Tampa Bay a week before. Redskins offense led by QB Mark Brunell, struggled again only putting up 10 points in this game. Clinton Portis couldn’t get going in the run game averaging only 2.7 yards per carry while gaining 41 yards. The defense had the task of trying to stop the NFL MVP that year Shaun Alexander, but they knocked Alexander out of them early with a concussion & he never returned. But Matt Hasselbeck was very efficient in this game leading Seattle to victory. The Redskins couldn’t generate a pass rush against him & Hasselbeck was comfortable the whole game, throwing for 1 TD & running for another. The Redskins forced 3 turnovers in this game, but the Redskins only came away with 3 points off the turnovers. Santana Moss & Chris Cooley were the only bright spots on offense combining for 188 yards receiving but the Redskins defense was burned by receiver Darrell Jackson the whole game who had 143 yards & 1 TD.
Seahawks 20 Redskins 10
Coaches: Joe Gibbs, Redskins. Mike Holmgren, Seahawks.
Career backup QB Todd Collins had led the Redskins on a late-season playoff surge. But the Redskins offense was completely shut down for 3 quarters, Collins couldn’t get anything going & once again Clinton Portis was shut down averaging 2.6 yards per carry & gaining 52 yards. The Redskins offense finally got kick-started in the 4th quarter after a touchdown pass from Todd Collins to Antwaan Randle-El which had the Redskins down 7-13. Then Collins a drive later connected with Santana Moss for a 30 yard TD putting the Redskins up 14-13. The Seahawks couldn’t field the ensuing kickoff & Redskins receiver Anthony Mix recovered & returned it for a TD, but the TD was called back because you can’t advance the ball in the situation. Shaun Suisham ended up missing the field goal on that drive deflating all momentum. This game was all about the 4th quarter, Laron Landry had 2 4th quarter Interceptions off Matt Hasselbeck & Seattle scored 22 points in the 4th with 2 interception returns for TDs.
Seahawks 35 Redskins 14
Coaches: Mike Shanahan, Redskins. Pete Carroll, Seahawks.
Mike Shanahan is in his 3rd year with the Redskins, it looked rocky even up to halfway through this season. But he’s finally got the guys he wants, & they’re trusting him & his staff & its lead to the Redskins first division title in 13 years. Pete Carroll, also in his 3rd year with the Seahawks has the team making its 2nd playoff appearance in 3 years. The first playoff appearance many considered was a fluke as the team was the first team with a losing record (7-9) to win a division title. Carroll has built a ferocious defense & a disciplined offense this year, making the Seahawks one of those teams “You don’t want to play”.
QBs: Robert Griffin III, Redskins. Russell Wilson, Seahawks.
These two QBs have had phenomenal rookie year’s, two of the best rookie year’s by QBs in NFL history. Both quarterbacks have similar impacts on the game as they can beat you with both, their legs & arm. Also both QBs make very little mistakes which is rare for rookies, only combining for 15 interceptions. But Russell Wilson hasn’t been asked to carry this team on his back, very few games have Seattle needed Wilson to go out there & beat a team.
RBs: Alfred Morris, Redskins. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks.
Both teams ask a lot of their running backs. Both running backs deliver, Morris & Lynch finished the regular season 2nd & 3rd respectively in the NFL for rushing yards. Both running backs also have similar punishing running styles. Very rare will the first guy bring them down & they have great vision. Neither are big factors in the passing game.
Seahawks WRs are around average to mediocre. Sidney Rice & Golden Tate are big play threats but only average around 46 yards per game receiving. Zach Miller the tight end is one of Russell Wilson’s favorite targets but he only gets about 2 catches per game. The Redskins, meanwhile have got a lot of production out of a number of guys in the passing game, Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Josh Morgan & Logan Paulsen have all stepped up this year as viable targets.
These 2 teams feature 3 pro bowlers on the offensive line between them. Russell Okung for Seattle has had a fantastic year, as had center Max Unger. Trent Williams is the anchor of the Redskins line but a case could have been made for center Will Montgomery to be a pro bowler as well. The Redskins have had issues on the right side of the offensive line this year, specifically right tackle. Seahawks offensive line excels in power run blocking, & have the least runs for loss in the NFL. Seahawks & Redskins o-line both get to the 2nd level very well.
The Redskins front 7 has definitely got better as the season went on. Earlier in the year they weren’t generating pressure. London Fletcher & Rob Jackson are making game changing plays nearly every week. On the opposite side, Bobby Wagner is having a magnificent rookie year at middle linebacker. They also get a lot of sacks from defensive ends Chris Clemons & Bruce Irvin.
The Seahawks have arguably the best overall secondary in the NFL. Definitely the biggest secondary, with both starting cornerbacks over 6’2″. Richard Sherman was 2nd in the NFL with 8 picks & safety Earl Thomas was voted to the probowl. Brandon Browner is returning from a 4 game suspension, which should bolster the secondary even more. Redskins secondary is weak at the safety position & hurting. DeAngelo Hall played his best game of the season last week against Dallas, the corners are solid but nothing spectacular.
Leon Washington has been one of the game’s most dangerous return men for years, he’s second in kick return average. The Redskins had Brandon Banks returning most of the year but his mediocre production led to Niles Paul returning kicks & Richard Crawford fielding punts. The Redskins found a steady kicker in Kai Forbath who just missed his first FG last week, while Seattle has a consistent kicker in Steven Hauschka. Redskins have had problems all year in the punt game with blocks or just poor kicks from Sav Rocca.
Seattle is 3-5 on the road this year & has yet to win a road playoff game in 30 years. The Redskins haven’t lost a home playoff game since 1984. Seattle is very hard to beat in Seattle, but on the road they seem to be a different team.
Redskins will come out fired up, but Seattle’s defense will keep it close early. RGIII will be able to do more this week & convert some big plays in the air. Redskins defense will hold Seattle to 3 points after halftime.
Redskins 27 Seattle 17