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Redskins at Seahawks: Quarter-by-quarter breakdown, game’s key play
There's no doubt the Redskins showed signs of life in last week's loss to the Cowboys, but in the opening quarter Sunday they looked like a completely different team than they have throughout their six-game skid. The Shanahans' offense finally found its perfect foil in a Seahawks defense that couldn't do a thing with Washington's play-action game, thus allowing Rex Grossman to operate with Tom Brady-like efficiency. The Redskins dominated the opening quarter, holding the ball for 12:23 and outgaining Seattle 172-23 as they racked up 10 first downs. They possessed the ball for nearly half the quarter on the game's opening drive, with Grossman hitting his targets as Roy Helu showed off his dual-threat abilities. The Bad Redskins showed their face briefly in the form of Fred Davis' unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but it was Davis who had a 31-yard catch that put the Redskins at the 2 and a TD catch two plays later.
For all the positive vibes accumulated in the first quarter, it was just that — a quarter of the work to be done. Momentum fizzled quickly for the visitors in the second as Grossman committed the inevitable key turnover. Brandon Browner's interception early in the quarter gave the Seahawks their first offensive hope of the day, and they cashed in immediately with Tarvaris Jackson dumping off to Marshawn Lynch for what became a 20-yard touchdown. The Redskins seemed to hold their poise after that turn of events, promptly driving the ball to the Seattle 4-yard line. But after an apparent TD reception by Jabar Gaffney was ruled incomplete because the receiver had run out of bounds, Washington ended up settling for a Graham Gano field goal attempt. And naturally, it was blocked. The rest of the half was highlight free for both teams, but the Redskins' chance to pull away early was long gone.
A low-quality game deteriorated coming out of halftime, with both teams failing to take advantage of the few opportunities they generated. The first series of the half summed things up nicely, with the Seahawks starting in prime field position at their 48 following Leon Washington's 51-yard kickoff return. But they made limited headway after that before kicker Steven Hauschka missed a 51-yard field goal wide right. That in turn put the Redskins in good shape with a drive starting at their 41, but Grossman opened the possession by making the mind-boggling decision to throw into triple coverage and was intercepted at the Seattle 15. Seattle eventually found a way to put some points on the board, thanks in large part to a horrible pass interference call against Josh Wilson that cost the Redskins 44 yards. The gain was enough to set Hauschka up for a 36-yard field goal, and he made it this time to give Seattle its first lead of the afternoon.
The Redskins bookended their strong start to the game with an even more impressive finish — one not many could have seen coming given their ineptitude for the nearly two-month span since their last win. After falling behind 17-7 thanks to a Golden Tate touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter, the Redskins finally found a way to respond. Four straight completions set up Helu for the signature play of his budding career, a defender-hurdling 28-yard scoring run that gave the Redskins some rare late-game momentum. After the defense punctuated a three-and-out with a sack of Jackson, Grossman hit Anthony Armstrong for the 50-yard touchdown that reclaimed the lead. Just before the two-minute warning, another sack of Jackson — this one on fourth down — gave the Redskins a chance to extend their lead with a field goal shortly before DeAngelo Hall's interception sealed a long-awaited win.
The situation was not ideal for Rex Grossman, who had just taken an intentional grounding penalty to give the Redskins a third-and-19 at midfield, trailing 17-14 midway through the fourth quarter. But Kyle Shanahan went for it all, having Grossman heave the ball downfield for Anthony Armstrong, who was one-on-one with Brandon Browner down the left sideline. Browner was all over Armstrong and flagged for pass intereference, but it didn't matter. The receiver hauled the ball in for a TD that proved to be the winning play.
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About the Author
Marc Lancaster has covered Major League Baseball for the Tampa Tribune and the Cincinnati Post and served as an editor at FanHouse.com and SportsIllustrated.com. A University of Georgia graduate, he began his career as a sportswriter at the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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