The Fifth Quarter - Seahawks
By: Scott Hurrey
Category: Washington Redskins News
The road to XL is over, and the road to XLI has begun. The Washington Redskins played their guts out, but the 7-game playoff run took its toll on this team and while they made a number of potentially game-changing plays, they were unable to capitalize on the ones they did get. That being said, the Redskins had enough opportunities to win this game and had they not beat themselves up trying to get to this point, we may have seen a different game.
The Redskins passing game exploded in the fourth quarter with a 52-yarder to Cooley up the middle, setting up a 24-yard touchdown to Santana Moss, which Moss grabbed out of the air, after the ball bounced off two Seahawk defenders. Visions of Dallas week began appearing out of thin air, especially when Jimmy Farris forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that was recovered by kicker John Hall, but it was not meant to be.
Unfortunately, the first three quarters were painful. The Seahawks kept eight men in the box, forcing the Redskins to beat them in the air, and the Redskins were not up for the task. Taylor Jacobs saw the ball early, and after botching the first ball thrown to him, he made a nice grab on the second pass thrown his way. After those two passes, on the first two drives of the game, Jacobs disappeared for the most part, missing nearly half the game with an undisclosed illness.
Mark Brunell finished with decent numbers, but it seems clear that he was never the same after injuring his knee against the Giants in week 16. Whether he was still injured remains to be seen, but Redskins fans know from 2004 that Brunell will not use an injury as an excuse, so we may never know.
1 Quarter (the fourth)
The Seattle Seahawks came out with the sole purpose of stopping the running game, and that they did. The Redskins were never able to get anything going with Portis early. They found themselves losing the field position game badly, forcing the Gibbs-led coaching staff to stay conservative so close to the end zone.
Clinton Portis played admirably in other aspects of the game. His pass blocking was excellent as always, and he made 3 catches on the day, the best of which was called back on a penalty.
The defense played hard all day, but was unable to make the plays they had been making over the past few weeks. Shawn Springs was tested early, and Darrell Jackson beat him badly. Jackson went on to have a career day against the Washington defense, while Springs finished the day with one tackle.
When Shaun Alexander went out in the first quarter, the Seahawk fans must have been thinking that the history was going to repeat itself, but it seemed to make things more difficult for the defense. Maurice Morris stepped up big early, seemingly able to run for first downs at will. It seemed as if the Redskins whole plan was based on stopping Shaun Alexander, and when he left the game, the Redskins were unsure as to what to focus on.
That being said, the defense played well against the number one offense in the NFC in their home stadium. Matt Hasselbeck made enough plays to win, and the Redskins were unable to capitalize on the mistakes they were able to force him into early.
Probably the defining moment of the game came on the first play of Seattle’s first scoring drive. Carlos Rogers read Hasselbeck’s eyes perfectly, jumping a route on the 20 yard line that was an easy score. In previous weeks, the ‘Skins would have been up 10-0 and the Seahawk fans would have been taken out of the game. This week however, Rogers is unable to pull in the interception, and the Seahawks are able to march down the field for a score.
What a day for the Washington Redskins coverage units. They started by recovering a muffed punt in the second quarter, which lead to the Redskins taking a 3-0 nothing lead. Then in the fourth quarter after the offense scored a touchdown to pull the team to 17-10, Jimmy Farris forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that John Hall recovered. Unfortunately, Mr. Hall followed up the great play with a missed 36-yard field goal.
Derrick Frost spent more time on the field then any other Redskin it seemed. His stats turned out ok; however he was punting from his own end zone for most of the first quarter. All in all, the Redskins special teams earned the best grade of the day, despite the missed field goal.
The Redskins are back folks. The culture of losing has been changed. The team played with character, heart and determination all year and especially in the last 7 weeks. While we all wish they were still playing, it is hard to be disappointed looking at where the team is now, as it compares to where it was when Coach Gibbs pulled up to Redskins Park last year. Here’s to a first round bye and home field advantage in 2006!!
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