- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 6, 2008

SEATTLE For three quarters, it would have been hard to imagine a postseason football game more boring and uneventful than the Washington Redskins-Seattle Seahawks contest yesterday at Qwest Field.

Taut, it was not.

Sleep-inducing, it was.

But then lightning struck interceptions, long passes, a pooch kickoff, a missed field goal and, finally and unfortunately for the Redskins, two interceptions returned for touchdowns that lifted the Seahawks to a 35-14 win in an NFC wild card game.

From the Monday Morning Quarterback’s perspective, it was just the last in a long line of missed opportunities for the Redskins this season.

Q: Up 14-13 with 12 minutes remaining, the Redskins recovered a pooch kickoff at the Seattle 14. How close were you to looking up airline tickets to Dallas?

A: The MMQB holds to the theory of not booking anything until the deal is done, but had the Redskins been able to score a third touchdown in less than four minutes, things would have looked good for a Redskins-Cowboys brawl next Sunday in Big D.

But expanding on the missed chances theme, Chris Cooley narrowly missed catching a pass inside the 5-yard line on first down, a Clinton Portis run play was poorly executed for a 2-yard gain and then Patrick Kerney pressured Todd Collins into an incompletion. Shaun Suisham missed a 30-yard field goal, and a few minutes later, Seattle took the lead for good.

Q: On Marcus Trufant’s 78-yard interception return to seal the game, Santana Moss appeared to give up on the play. What do you think, and what did he say?

A: Moss said he lost sight of the ball but also added he didn’t expect it to be thrown his way since Trufant didn’t bite on Moss’ outside fake. An interesting answer. The MMQB believes Moss when he said he lost the ball. But he shouldn’t assume the ball isn’t coming his way — that, in essence, is stopping on the play. Unless Santana’s second job is as a mind-reader and he knows a quarterback definitely isn’t going his way, he shouldn’t stop.

Q: Things appeared to be pretty one-sided in Seattle’s favor for three quarters. Did we underestimate the Seahawks’ talent or overestimate the Redskins’ four-game winning streak and subsequent momentum?

Answer: Both. The MMQB thought Seattle would pose problems with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and the pass-rushing tandem of Patrick Kerney and Darryl Tapp. But the ability of Seattle receivers D.J. Hackett and Nate Burleson to get separation from Shawn Springs and Fred Smoot was surprising.

And yes, too much stock was put into the Redskins’ December surge. From the beginning of the week, the MMQB privately questioned the Redskins’ decision not to head west until Friday. And there are many things to question about the loss, chiefly the lack of help given to Stephon Heyer against Kerney and, defensively, not forcing Hasselbeck into quicker decisions.

Q: Clinton Portis finished with a bad game 20 carries for 52 yards. Why so many struggles in the run game?

A: Seattle was really athletic, and it made little sense for the Redskins to try and hit the edge with Portis because the Seahawks’ linebackers and ends pursued so quickly. The Redskins had success running up the middle, and they should have stuck with that.

Q: How do you assess Todd Collins’ game 29-for-50 for 266 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions?

A: He was decent like a lot of the other players. He was sacked three times and under constant duress. He finishes the season 3-1 as the starter, and now the debate about his status will begin. The MMQB thinks the Redskins should bring him back but not make 2008 another month of quarterback competition. Jason Campbell is the future, and he should definitely be the present.

Q: The MMQB has seen the final five NFC playoff teams in person. Who ends up representing the conference in Phoenix?

A: The MMQB picks Green Bay to beat Dallas in the NFC title game. The Packers will be rested and should be able to move the ball through the air against Seattle. Dallas is struggling, and the Redskins would have given them fits. But they will survive the Giants or Bucs.

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