- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 6, 2008

SEATTLE — The way the Seattle coaches saw it, Todd Collins was starting to look a little too comfortable at the helm of the Redskins’ offense during their four-game winning streak.

So their primary goal was making sure Collins was uncomfortable from the start yesterday at Qwest Field.

The Seahawks, led by end Patrick Kerney and the linebacking corps, hassled and hurried the quarterback all game in a 35-14 win to end the Redskins’ season.

“I think it was very effective,” Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said of the Seattle pass rush. “It was extremely hard early in the game. It was very costly to us. We got off late in short yardage and some things like that, which makes it extremely tough on you.”

Collins was hit 13 times, sacked three times and threw two fourth-quarter interceptions, which were returned for touchdowns by Marcus Trufant and Jordan Babineaux.

Collins also battled the fabled Seattle crowd, which might have been louder than ever thanks to Washington fullback Mike Sellers’ midweek charge that the team must be piping in extra noise.

The Redskins had just one false start penalty, but the roar did contribute to a delay of game penalty and two wasted timeouts.

“I think [Collins] cracked a little bit,” said Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill, who had a game-high 11 tackles. “But a lot of that is thanks to our offense, too, putting some pressure on him.”

There was one obvious mismatch as both teams looked at the matchups, with Redskins rookie right tackle Stephon Heyer facing a battle against Seahawks left end Kerney, who was second in the NFL with 14½ sacks during the regular season.

Early in the game, Kerney was all over Collins, including driving him into the turf on a statement-making, first-quarter play. On the first play of the second quarter, Kerney hit Collins as the quarterback was set to throw, knocking the ball loose, though it was ruled an incomplete pass.

The Redskins made it into Seattle territory just once in the first half, when they took possession after a punt — and that drive even went backward and finished in Washington territory.

“We knew we had our work cut out for us against that protection,” Kerney said. “We game-planned some things that ended up working out in a lot of situations. It was important for us to get pressure on [Collins] and keep it on him, hope we could make him make some mistakes.”

In the second half, Kerney, who came to Seattle from Atlanta for a six-year, $39.5 million contract last summer, began seeing more double- and even triple-teams.

At the same time, two interceptions by LaRon Landry and a blown kickoff return kept the Seattle defense on the field long enough to wear them out. During one stretch in the third and fourth quarters, the Redskins ran 23 offensive plays to six by the Seahawks.

Collins found a bit of a groove and put Washington on top 14-13, but the Seattle defense rallied and countered with 14 points of its own in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve had success as a team when defensively we get after the quarterback,” defensive tackle Rocky Bernard said. “When we get to the quarterback we win, so that was huge for us to get to [Collins] today.

“He was playing great, but I think we gave him a little rattle and got him out of the pocket. We knew we had to disrupt him to win.”

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