Was there ever any doubt? Don't say no. If you're saying no, you're lying to me, but more importantly you're lying to yourself. Don't do that, it's not healthy. Most of the game was spent, at least where I was watching, in a state of deep anxiety even though the game's fulcrum was placed, in hindsight, at the end of the first quarter.
I will say this, though; after the Redskins marched down the field to score touchdowns on their first two drives, I was thinking about the time that Seattle jumped up on Green Bay 14-0 in the playoffs before Brett Favre Shovin'-Buddied his way to a 42-20 playoff win in the snow. In that one, Ryan Grant coughed up fumbles on the first two drives, giving the not-as-good Seahawks a couple of early touchdowns and all of the momentum that everyone always says is so important. The Packers then promptly scored the next six touchdowns, reasserting themselves as the better team and advancing comfortably.
Similar to that 2008 game, the Redskins leapt ahead with two quick scores, highlighting Mike/Kyle Shanahan's nigh-incomparable play-scripting ability. On most of his first quarter drives, Alfred Morris was five yards downfield before he was touched, as Seahawks defenders struggled to disengage from their blockers. Then Pierre Garcon broke off Brandon Browner on a comeback route, underscoring the collective fear that Browner would be rusty after his four-game suspension and giving Garcon's pregame jabs some weight. Exactly five minutes into the game, the 'Skins culminated their assault with a four yard touchdown toss from Robert Griffin III to Evan Royster.
After a three and out, in which the Seahawks' offensive line looked confused by Washington's edge rush, the Redskins immediately took their second drive right back down the field before exclamating it with RGIII's second four yard TD pass, this time to tight end Logan Paulson, to the titillation of the DC crowd. The first two plays of Seattle's next drive were uninspiring, but Zach Miller's singular effort on a weakly thrown third down Russell Wilson pass kept the drive alive. The first quarter ended summarily, with the Redskins having the ball for nearly 80% of the period and outgaining the Seahawks 141-9.
Seattle continued to move down the field, including a sensational sideline catch from Sidney Rice. The Seahawks' drive stalled inside the redzone after a hilarious misappropriation of resources. Starting with first and goal, Seattle went short run, near-interception, delay of game, timeout(?), throwaway, field goal. But still, the Emerald City had hope, even if that hope was in the shape of an 11-point defecit.
Griffin, who was visibly banged up on three separate plays during the second drive (hitting his throwing hand on a helmet, re-aggravating his knee on a leaping throw, and getting shoved to the turf
a full year three seconds after throwing his second TD pass by Bruce Irvin), looked very uncomfortable on drive three and the 'Skins quickly punted it back to the 'Hawks.
Embracing the read-option, Wilson and Marshawn Lynch (held to five yards in the first quarter) rumbled down the field and set up a touchdown pass to 2005 Big 10 Player of the Year as a quarterback, I mean Pro Bowl fullback, Michael Robinson. That score, combined with apprehension over RGIII's health, brought a troubling hush over the FedEx Field crowd and, after another amputated drive and a second Steven Hauschka field goal, the Redskins limped to the locker room with a one point lead.
A scoreless third quarter featured another dominant Seattle drive that was truncated by a Lynch fumble on the Redskins one yard line, breathing somewhat stagnant air back into the Redskins' sagging lead. At that point, my fear had subsided, but my nervousness still infected all my thoughts. Sure, it felt like Seattle had taken the game over, but the scoreboard still advertised the 'Skins as the leader. In the fourth quarter, nothing besides that score looked very good for Washington. The offense had stopped moving the ball as FedEx's raggedy grass further hampered Griffin's wobbly leg. An Earl Thomas interception that featured inhuman ground coverage caused the lump to rise further in the Skins' collective throat.
The Seahawks finally took the lead with a long Marshawn Lynch touchdown (that featured an insane 90-degree full-speed cut that left DeAngelo Hall grasping for air like he grasps for relevance) and a two-point conversion from Wilson to a diving Miller. A few minutes later, every Redskins fans' worst nightmare materialized when Griffin's injured knee crumbled beneath him, leading to a fumble deep in Washington territory and a close-up from FOX of an older 'Skins fan saying "shit".
The Redskins defense stiffened with their back to the wall, holding the visitors to a short field goal but that chipshot was still enough to extend the Seattle lead to two scores with only Kirk Cousins standing between the Seahawks and a matchup with the Falcons in Atlanta. So yeah, welcome to hell, Kirk Cousins.
The rest of the game went about how you'd imagine, given the circumstances, and Seattle iced the game in a very Pete Carroll fashion, converting a roll out pass to Miller on fourth and four, leading to a kneel down and a shoving match between Trent Williams and Richard Sherman, who continued his city-by-city mission to piss off the rest of America.
The final tally was 24-14, but the final three quarters were dominated so completely that the feeling of nervousness that I felt for most of the game seemed almost silly in retrospect. To the numbers!
*After the first quarter, Seattle outgained Washington 371-62 and held the ball for nearly 32 of the final 45 minutes.
*Russell Wilson accounted for 271 total yards (187 passing, 84 rushing), while Robert Griffin III totaled just 105 (84/21).
*Alfred Morris averaged five yards per carry (16 carries, 80 yards) while Marshawn Lynch averaged 6.9 (131 yards on 19 carries)
*The Seahawks defense held the Redskins offense to 203 total yards, limiting them to 4.5 yards per carry but only 3.4(!) yards per pass.
*The Seattle offense continued to run the ball with aplomb, making up for a below-average 6 yards per pass by averaging 6.1 yards per rush.
*The Seahawks, so good in the redzone of late, faltered to one touchdown on six trips inside the Redskins 20.
*Despite allowing two TDs in the first twelve minutes, Seattle still held Washington below their league-leading 15.3 PPG allowed.
*Some credit should go to the officials, who did a wonderful job of understanding that these two teams were playing for survival and, for the most part, let the two teams battle it out without getting involved. All told, there were only seven penalties called all game, a wonderful relief after last week's 24-foul outing with the Rams last week.
Brother Carroll's Traveling Salvation Show must now head to Atlanta in order to continue their nationwide tour. Waiting for them will be the NFC's #1 seed, the 13-3 Atlanta Falcons, who are likely to be more prepared than they were when they secured the same position with the same record two years ago before promptly getting blown out at home by the Packers.
I don't know what will happen next week, none of us do, so don't kid yourself. I do know, however, that today's Seahawks win extends our season-long party by a week, and I'm determined to enjoy the hell out of every day.