How about that, huh? I was packing it in after the Redskins went up 14-0 in the first quarter. I ignored my texts, I started unfollowing annoying Seahawks bloggers who try to make a joke out of literally EVERYTHING (“it’s a numbers game” might be the worst philosophy in the known universe), I went from a seated, upright position to a passive, supine position on the couch. Everything was coming up “punch to the nuts”.
Then, when the Seahawks settled for that field goal, I was looking for a good Cadet Kelly rerun to boost my spirits.
BUT, the defense started getting stops, the offense started getting yards in big chunks, and before you knew it, the Seahawks were down only a point and getting the ball first after halftime!
Then, Jesus Christ, Beastmode with the fumble at the goalline. Instead of grabbing that game by the horns, it essentially set us back a full quarter. Even knowing RGIII’s knee was mashed potatoes, I was still concerned about their ability to get the momentum back and take control. They had some key drops, but then again so did we.
Finally, with less than 10 minutes in the game, still down by 1, 3rd and 10 and the Redskins D becoming more stout by the play, it was gametime. That’s where Zach Miller’s peeling off in the open field for a 22-yard gain was the play of the game for the Seahawks. Three plays later, Beastmode made up for his fumble with that MAN’S run into the endzone from 27 yards out.
After that, you know how it turned out. I want to look at the Keys To The Game. These aren’t keys to this specific game, these are keys to ALL playoff games. Let’s see how the Seahawks stacked up.
3rd Down Percentage
The Redskins finished the game 5 for 11. That’s not an insanely good number for the Seahawks’ defense. HOWEVER, the Redskins were 4 for their first 4 converting 3rd downs – including two touchdowns – on their first two drives. That means they were 1 for 7 the rest of the game. Critical. Absolutely critical. After the Seahawks brought the game back to 14-13, they probably could’ve withstood another scoring drive or two, but they absolutely could not let that Redskins team continue to churn out long drives and bleed the clock. And, they didn’t; kudos to the defense after a rockier than rocky start.
On offense, the Seahawks were just 5 of 13, but they made them count as 4 of them were on drives where the Seahawks finished with a score. Can’t say enough about the value of converting on 3rd down.
Russell Wilson was sacked five times. That’s part of the reason why the Seahawks didn’t score even MORE points. A couple of those third quarter/early fourth quarter drives were totally derailed by the pressure the Redskins were able to get on Wilson. Still, for the most part, I thought we picked up the blitz well (save that one blitzer Turbin totally let go by untouched) and rendered their pressure packages mostly ineffective.
On the flipside, the Seahawks were only able to get 2 sacks. That charge was made all the more difficult when the Seahawks lost Clemons to injury. I thought Bruce Irvin played his best game. Without Clemons, we’re essentially down to a single pass-rusher on the whole team. Everyone else KNOWS that rushing the quarterback is Irvin’s ONLY skill right now, and yet he was still able to get consistent pressure. He finished with a sack, a couple QB hits, and honestly a nicely-timed personal foul against RGIII early in the game after they went up by two touchdowns.
This wasn’t the greatest team effort with regards to quarterback pressure, but it was good enough.
Time of Possession
Seattle: 34:20, Washington: 25:40. From the moment the Redskins went up 14-0, they were leading in TOP 11:01 to 1:33. Meaning, for the rest of the game, the Seahawks dominated TOP 32:47 to 14:39. Incredible! That’s the kind of dominance that’s going to wear down an opposing defense.
Well, the Seahawks won this battle 2-1, but to tell you the truth there was a LOT of luck involved. The initial interception by Earl Thomas was well-earned. That was a poor throw by RGIII, but that was a MONSTER hawking of the ball by the best free safety in the game. The fumble near the end was a gift-wrapped present mostly thanks to RGIII’s knee finally giving way, but also partly thanks to the offensive coordinator mind-bogglingly calling for an empty backfield on that shotgun play. If there’s a running back in the game, they recover that ball and who knows how this game ends?
Also, there was a zone read play where Wilson pulled the ball back, but then simply dropped the ball on the ground as he was being tackled. Lynch was running away from the fumble, but he had the awareness to turn around, scoop up the ball one-handed, and turn it into a 20-yard gain for a first down. We went on to score our first touchdown of the game to bring it to 14-10; if the Redskins recover that ball, this game is COMPLETELY different.
Will that luck continue to be there the rest of the way? That’s always the question. Wildcard, bitches!
Red Zone Percentage
Well, the Redskins were 2 for 2 in the red zone to start the game, scoring touchdowns both times on 3rd and goal. Maybe I have to re-think the importance of this particular stat, because not only did the Redskins not get back to the red zone the rest of the game, they didn’t even play an offensive down inside Seahawks’ territory!
I will say that the Seahawks probably don’t want to settle for the number of field goals they had to settle for in this game. Especially considering Steven Hauschka has a bum wheel and who knows how quickly he’ll recover before next week. Eventually, one of these playoff games will come down to a last-second field goal. Will we be kicking ourselves because we weren’t as good as we needed to be in the red zone?
Three field goals and a lost fumble (before the turnover on downs when the game was out of reach). Not where you want to be. But, we got the win, and that’s all that matters.