Betts fumbled with 1:28 remaining at the Seattle 22-yard line. The Seahawks had no timeouts but enough time to drive down the field for a game-tying field goal or game-winning touchdown. Springs ended Seattle’s chances on the next play.
“Ladell tried to explain it away [to me] and talk to Mr. Official, but it wasn’t going to be explained away,” Zorn said. “It was definitely a fumble.”
Betts had replaced Clinton Portis on the previous play.
“It was crazy - I remember running in there, and the only thing on my mind was to hold on to the ball,” Betts said. “My momentum was stopped, and I felt everybody pulling on it, and when it came out, I thought the play was stopped. I was like, ‘Come on ref, I was stopped.’
“The only thing I could hope for is they don’t score. That would have been a really long plane ride home for everybody and especially for me.”
As Sunday’s game wore on, the Redskins’ defensive line wore down. Right end Andre Carter and right tackle Kedric Golston limped off, and left tackle Cornelius Griffin missed time with shoulder and head injuries. The only healthy defensive line starter was left end Jason Taylor, who had missed much of the season with a calf injury.
But the group hung in there. Lorenzo Alexander, pressed into extra duty at tackle, sacked Matt Hasselbeck in the third quarter. Little-used Chris Wilson saw crucial action at left end after Carter went down, with Taylor switching to the left side.
“It shows the depth we have - in particular [end] Demetric Evans, who can go inside and play some tackle,” Taylor said.
Secondary steps up, too
Washington’s secondary intercepted just eight passes in its first 10 games, but the senior member of the group and the second youngest both made big interceptions in the second half.
The game was tied 10-10 in the third quarter when second-year safety LaRon Landry dived to pick off Hasselbeck’s pass for Koren Robinson at the Seattle 48. The interception set up Jason Campbell’s go-ahead touchdown pass to Antwaan Randle El three plays later. All three of Landry’s career interceptions have come against Hasselbeck.
Springs’ interception was even more important. The play after Betts’ fumble, Springs beat Robinson to Hasselbeck’s pass and made a diving interception at the Seattle 44.
“That comes from studying film and knowing Matt,” said Springs, Hasselbeck’s teammate from 2001 to 2003. “It feels good. I’ve been out so long, everybody on the radio is like, ‘This guy stinks. He doesn’t want to play.’ That really wasn’t the case. I tore my calf really bad.”