Give the Redskins credit. They came out and brought the fight to the Seahawks. They acted as if something was on the line even though the Seahawks were the ones who had a flickering light of hope to reach for. The Redskins offense came out with a clever game plan that the Seahawks should expect to see much more of the rest of the year.
Their offense was built around running their receivers deep and allowing the underneath to clear out, before dumping short passes to tight ends and running backs on delays. It put a lot of pressure on the Seahawks linebackers and safeties who did not step up to the challenge. The plays took a long time to develop, so protection was critical. Seattle’s inferior pass rush made this plan a good bet, and Washington executed it to perfection in piling up over 300 yards passing after not exceeding 280 since Week 2 versus the Cardinals at home. The run defense was not much better, yielding an alarming 4.7 yards per carry and over 100 yards to Roy Helu. This was a Redskins offense that was averaging around 85 yards rushing per game. Helu had not rushed for more than 41 yards since the same Week 2 game.
Say what you will about the Seahawks offense (we’ll get there), but seventeen points should have been plenty to beat the Redskins. The lack of talent on Washington’s offense should have allowed for proper adjustments on defense. Seattle got out-coached in this game. That has not happened often, especially on defense, but it certainly happened on Sunday.
Seattle coaches deserve harsh criticism for this loss. There is no excuse for wasting a timeout in order to get blockers on the field for a field goal. Nobody can prove it caused Steven Hauschka to miss that kick, but there is a reason opposing coaches use timeouts to make opposing kickers wait a few more minutes. That timeout played a factor how the game ended. Offensive play calling was questionable throughout. The Seahawks first possession started with a five-yard carry and a ten-yard carry for Marshawn Lynch. Seahawks coaches then dialed up three straight pass plays before a punt. Seattle followed the same plan in their first possession after half by running Lynch three times for 17 yards on the first plays before throwing three straight passes and punting. The second possession of the 2nd half, Lynch starts with a four-yard gain before two straight passes lead to a punt. That’s three possessions where Lynch is averaging 6.0 yards per carry and the Seahawks went away from him for some reason.
Balance is important in an offense, but when your offense is gaining over 5.0 yards per play, you stick with it until the opponent stops you. A 3/1 or 4/1 mix of run/pass is what the team should be after when the running game is that effective. You could see Seattle blowing the Redskins off the ball for almost the entire game, even with eight and nine men in the box. The Redskins started the game with nine guys in the box, and the Seahawks were still mashing them for big chunks of yards. When Sidney Rice exits, Mike Williams plays horribly and Zach Miller drops another pass, that is all the more reason to stick with something that is working. Bad day for the staff.
The post-game topic on Twitter seemed to be Tarvaris Jackson and how he clearly isn’t healthy enough to play. Really? Did anyone see the ridiculous drops early in the game? I counted at least three first downs and a touchdown lost on great throws by Jackson and bad plays by receivers. Williams was one of my favorite players to watch last season, but does not deserve to be on the field right now. Every other receiver on this roster has done more to earn snaps this season than Williams. His drops were bad, but his worst play was giving up on a ball Jackson threw toward the sideline that was almost picked off because the defender decided to play through the whistle. Williams may want to consider how his game would improve with elite effort. He’s not even bringing JV effort at this point.
There is reason to be concerned about Sidney Rice’s concussions. This is the second concussion he’s had this year without any contact from a defender. He just is hitting the ground on diving attempts. That’s not good.
This year’s “Mike Williams” story has been Brandon Browner who has got plenty of love on this blog. Browner hurt this team yesterday. His holding penalty on the first drive allowed the Redskins to keep a drive alive and eventually led to a touchdown. His receiver was nowhere near the play, and Seattle was about to have the defensive stand to start the game they needed. Unacceptable. His penalty on the kick that cost 15 yards was also way off the ball and did not effect the play. Those are stupid penalties. Fighting with a receiver down-field that leads to the occasional illegal contact or hold can be forgiven since he brings so much else to the table, but these sort of silly off-ball penalties cannot happen. His worst play was allowing the 50-yard touchdown that won the game. Anthony Armstrong had 47 yards receiving the rest of the year before that catch. Browner turned his head to see the ball coming, but then inexplicably turned back to the receiver and started slapping him instead of just backpedaling and either picking the ball off or knocking it down. He had a great interception and made some great plays on the ball. Even with that, this qualified as Browner’s most disappointing performance to date. He needs to be better.
The bottom line on Sunday was that the Redskins played like this game meant more to them, and the Seahawks were out-coached. They now face a much more difficult match-up with the Eagles who boast players that are fast and shifty. That is a tough task for this defense. Coaches will need to be great to come up with a game plan that puts the players in positions to succeed. Fans should be angry after that loss. It’s the first one that really goes without legitimate explanation or excuse. As they say, the measure of a man is not how many times he is knocked down, but how many times he gets up. This team must pick itself up and earn back some goodwill after an unacceptable outing this week.