NFL Wild Card Weekend Analysis: Lessons Learned from Seahawks vs. Redskins

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A tough road victory and on to Atlanta these young Seahawks go. You could hear people tainting the win with mention of Robert Griffin’s knee injury before they even took the lead, but a win's a win, and who isn’t playing hurt at this point? Injured quarterback or not, the Seattle Seahawks came back from a 14 point deficit and won by 10. On the road, no less. That’s impressive.

Things didn’t start well for the Seahawks. The Redskins came out running, and the Seahawks didn’t have an answer. Facing an offense very similar to the one Seattle works so masterfully, they just couldn’t stop the read option. Morris had 35 yards rushing on the first drive alone, and Robert Griffin would eventually find Evan Royster in the end zone for his first receiving touchdown of the season. They would follow that up with a three and out on offense, and Seahawks fans were starting to get very antsy. The second Skins possession didn’t go any better for the Seahawks. The defense, once again, looked all kinds of average and gave up a short touchdown pass to Paulsen. After that it was all Seahawks though.

Many Redskins fans will point to keeping Robert Griffin in the game following their jump to a 14-0 lead as the reason their team lost, but let’s be realistic here: the Seahawks just dominated from the beginning of the second quarter forward. In every aspect of the game. Not all that sure a healthy Griffin could’ve beat this squad. The Seahawks were able to shut down the run, and take control of this game. It started with a field goal, and you began to get a sense that Seattle had shaken off the jitters. Then a touchdown pass to Michael Robinson, and then the final nail in the coffin, Earl Thomas’ interception of Robert Griffin.

For me, that interception was the real turning point in this game. Washington still had the lead, they still had life, and most of all the team still had confidence in Robert Griffin’s ability to compete at a high level. The Seahawks would settle for a field goal on that drive to go to halftime.

Going into the second half one could already see the pendulum swinging in Seattle’s favour, but nobody could have expected the Skins to be as flat as they were. Washington couldn’t get anything going on offense, and had a hard time stopping the Seahawks on offense. The Skins were saved on a few occasions by Steven Hauschka’s left calf injury, that led to odd play calls in Redskins territory and a punt that, were Hauschka healthy, would have been a field goal. It wasn’t enough to keep the Seahawks at bay though. They just kept on coming, and Lynch would eventually give the Seahawks the lead with a 27 yard run, with Russell Wilson acting as his lead blocker. They would make the 2 point conversion, and get the desired 7 point lead. The Skins next possession would prove to be Robert Griffin’s last, and he was forced to leave the game (well overdue really) with a knee injury that left anybody who’s ever suffered one grimacing from the couch. Count me among them. On the same play that the Skins lost Griffin, they would lose the football, and the Seahawks got a field goal for a little bit of far from necessary insurance. Kirk Cousins came in and looked like a fourth round pick going 3 for 10, and getting 31 yards. Far from enough to rally his team, the Seahawks were able to defend their 10 point lead and move on to the next round.

Say what you will of Robert Griffin’s injury, but the better team won. Plain and simple. Yes it played a factor in this game, but it wasn’t the determining factor. Seattle outgained the Redskins in yards 371 to 68 for the final three quarters of the game, and the dominance was systemic. In every aspect of the game the Seahawks looked better. Be it throwing the ball, running the ball, defense or coaching. Pete Carroll summed this victory up perfectly in saying “it’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters” and with these Seahawks, I think it’s a broader statement that could apply to a long playoff run ahead.