Shanahan’s team has been well acquainted with adversity this season. The Redskins have lost seven players to the season-ending injured reserve list, have seen their offense struggle and endured the longest losing streak in the coach’s career. But Sunday the team finally demonstrated the ability to overcome such obstacles, scoring 16 fourth-quarter points and befuddling the Seahawks’ offense in the final minutes to capture the victory.
“Any time you fight back like we did, you feel good about your football team,” said a grinning Shanahan, whose team last won at St. Louis on Oct. 2. “It’s nice to get a win. It’s nice to do it that way.”
The Redskins appeared headed for their seventh straight loss when Seattle took a 10-point lead on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Tarvaris Jackson to Golden Tate. But Washington, which to that point hadn’t managed to rekindle the offensive spark it showed on its first possession, finally made some critical plays.
Rookie running back Roy Helu rushed for a 28-yard touchdown with 9 minutes 51 seconds left, hurdling Seahawks defensive back Roy Lewis for the highlight of a career day that featured 23 carries for 108 yards and his first career score.
“Right where their DB was, where I hurdled him at, was the first-down marker, and I just wanted to make sure I got it,” said Helu, who started for only the second time this season. “I didn’t care if the safety came over and killed me in the air. I knew I’d get the first down with forward progress. I came down and ended up breaking the tackle.”
On the next Washington possession, quarterback Rex Grossman, facing third and 19, threw a 50-yard touchdown strike to Anthony Armstrong for the clincher with 6:18 to play. Grossman had his best outing of the season, completing 26 of 35 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns, numbers that overshadowed a pair of interceptions that set back the Redskins.
, who had a field goal and extra point blocked on the day, nailed a 25-yard field goal for the deciding score, and cornerback DeAngelo Hall recorded an interception with 37 seconds left to play, slamming the door on Seattle.
For the game, Washington gained 416 yards and 22 first downs, dominating time of possession by holding the ball for 33:20 to 26:40. The Seahawks – paced by 131 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown by Marshawn Lynch – recorded 250 yards of offense and 15 first downs.
The game started with great promise for the Redskins, who improved to 4-7 and dropped Seattle to the same record. After mustering only 16 first-quarter points all season and failing to score a touchdown on a game-opening drive this year, Washington finally reversed its fortunes.