SEATTLE — For a few fleeting moments — when a potential interception turned into a Santana Moss touchdown and especially when journeyman Jimmy Farris forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff — the same thought went through the minds of many Washington Redskins, even though they trailed Seattle by a touchdown:
Despite the continued troubles of the offense and the defense’s difficulty to get off the field, the Redskins were going to find a way to steal their NFC Divisional playoff game.
“We’re one of the best teams in the league with a short field,” H-back Chris Cooley said. “Everybody thought we would capitalize and go in for the score. But we didn’t.”
And because the Redskins didn’t — the drive after Farris’ forced fumble, which started at the Seahawks’ 40, ended with a missed field goal — their season ended yesterday with a 20-10 loss to Seattle at rainy Qwest Field.
The Redskins’ best season since 1999 ended with an 11-7 record. Seattle (14-3) won its first postseason game since 1984 and moved one step closer to its first Super Bowl appearance. The Seahawks will play host to the winner of today’s Carolina-Chicago game next Sunday in the NFC Championship game.
Following Moss’ 20-yard touchdown, Farris forced Josh Scobey to fumble the kickoff and John Hall recovered. But Hall missed a 36-yard field goal wide left.
“I thought we were right back in it after we got the kickoff back,” defensive end Phillip Daniels said. “But we had a lot of chances in this game that we let slip.”
Among the opportunities: Not shutting down the Seattle offense after league MVP Shaun Alexander left with a concussion late in the first quarter, scoring only three points on three takeaways and allowing seven third-down conversions.
“We were just overmatched,” cornerback Shawn Springs said. “We ran into a team that was just better than us.”
The Seahawks showed their talent by responding to Alexander’s absence. Maurice Morris rushed 18 times for 49 yards, receiver Darrell Jackson had nine catches for 143 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck passed for 216 yards and rushed for a 6-yard score.
Seattle appeared in control when Josh Brown kicked a 33-yard field goal with 14:16 left, giving the Seahawks a 17-3 lead.
But the Redskins responded with their best drive of the game. Mark Brunell connected with Chris Cooley on a 52-yard pass play. Three plays later, Brunell rolled left and threw back to the middle of the end zone. The pass went off cornerback Andre Dyson’s shoulder and right into Moss’ belly.
“It was one of those plays where I think a little angel was out there with me,” Moss said.
When Hall came up with Scobey’s fumble, momentum clearly was on the Redskins’ side.
On the fifth snap of the drive, from the 24, Jon Jansen’s false start pushed the Redskins back 5 yards, but Brunell threw 10 yards to Ladell Betts. Two plays later, Brunell missed an open Moss. The Redskins’ chances essentially ended on Hall’s missed field goal.