What happened: The teams traded early three-and-outs; the longest gain on the first eight plays was a 6-yard scramble by a healthy-looking Matt Hasselbeck. Then the Seattle defense continued a recent trend, sacking Jason Campbell to start and end the next drive. Seattle took advantage of the field position to drive for a 45-yard field goal by Olindo Mare, giving the Seahawks a 3-0 lead. The Redskins responded with a solid drive that stalled in field goal range when Shaun Suisham’s 43-yard attempt hit the crossbar.
Analysis: The Redskins outplayed the Seahawks, but the missed field goal and continued problems in pass protection kept Seattle in the lead. Clinton Portis looked healthy after another week of question marks, but Seattle’s Maurice Morris had the highlight run, a 44-yard jaunt up the gut that ended when LaRon Landry tracked him down at the Washington 16.
What happened: Washington extended a drive with an awkward Campbell scramble and a heavy dose of Portis that lasted nine plays but traveled just 31 yards and ended in a punt. Seattle’s next drive was ugly: two incomplete passes, two 5-yard penalties and a 10-yard Morris run that couldn’t make up the difference. Malcolm Kelly made an appearance on the next drive, catching a short pass and under-running a deep ball. The Redskins made the most progress with Portis and a pass interference penalty on the Seahawks, the latter of which reset the drive on the Seattle 14. Ladell Betts relieved Portis and scored on a 1-yard plunge. Seattle answered with a barrage of handoffs to Morris and Julius Jones that ended on a short scoring pass to Morris.
Analysis: Both teams had success running the ball in the first half. The Seahawks came in averaging 108.3 rushing yards, and despite the presence of a healthy Hasselbeck, they nearly topped that in the first half with 97 yards. Each quarterback, meanwhile, completed about 50 percent of his passes. Washington dominated time of possession, but Seattle made more of its chances on the way to the halftime lead.
What happened: Josh Wilson opened the half with a 55-yard kickoff return for the Seahawks, but a rare Redskins sack stalled Seattle’s drive at the 35. Mare’s 53-yard attempt, his longest of the season, sailed wide right. Portis returned after an injury scare near the end of the first half and immediately took a handoff. His presence opened things up for Campbell, who completed three straight passes to get the Redskins in scoring range. The drive stalled six plays later, and Suisham nailed a 26-yarder to tie the score. Hasselbeck threw a pass to no one that Landry intercepted on the fifth play of the next drive. Washington took advantage of the field position, taking the lead on an 8-yard pass to Antwaan Randle El.
Analysis: This quarter would have looked a lot more lopsided without Wilson’s efforts. The former Terps star had three returns for a combined 99 yards in the quarter. After an inept start to the half, Hasselbeck had the Seahawks marching at the end of the period. He completed two passes and scrambled for a 5-yard gain to move into Washington territory. Portis showed no ill effects from his first-half injury.
What happened: Seattle continued driving, and after a 21-yard pass to Bobby Engram, Hasselbeck hit rookie tight end John Carlson for a 10-yard touchdown that tied the score. Washington responded with a long drive of its own, going 64 yards in 10 plays - including a 24-yard gain to Moss on which the Seahawks lost a challenge - and Suisham connected on a 22-yard field goal. Washington sacked Hasselbeck and hit him hard another time on Seattle’s short drive, though the Seahawks pinned the Redskins deep on the punt. Washington marched 74 yards in 11 plays only to have its drive snuffed when Betts fumbled. Not to be undone, Hasselbeck promptly threw his second interception of the day, enabling Campbell to kneel twice and end the game.
Analysis: A game like this shows the difference a pass rush can make. Washington kept after Hasselbeck, hitting him and forcing him to make mistakes, which the Redskins capitalized on. Campbell and Co. showed ample poise on the drive near the end of the game that chewed up nearly six minutes of clock before Betts’ fumble. The better team certainly won, though the Redskins again didn’t make it easy on themselves.
By Elaine Donnelly
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