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A Missed Opportunity

The Redskins stage a fierce but fleeting rally in the fourth quarter, but the Seahawks rebound quickly to put the game away and end a tragic and emotionally draining season for the Redskins, 35-14.

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By Michael Wilbon
Sunday, January 6, 2008

SEATTLE

It was all set up so perfectly. In 2 1/2 minutes, the Redskins had gone from shut out to looking like a team of playoff destiny. A touchdown to start the fourth quarter, an interception that led to another touchdown and a balloon kickoff in the wind recovered at the Seattle 14 set them up to continue their inspired run into the postseason.

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They were 14 yards from an eight-point lead, or at the very least a four-point lead. They had Seattle where the Seahawks had been too many times the past two seasons, scratching their heads and wondering what in the world had gone wrong.

It was all set up so perfectly. The Redskins suspected it, and the Seahawks weren't oblivious to what seemed to be happening either.

"A little bit bigger lead," Seattle's Patrick Kerney said, "would have had them believing all that much more."

It was all set up so perfectly. The Redskins, after doing nothing for an entire half of a playoff game, were on the verge of taking control. They were finally going no-huddle (which should have happened earlier) and on quick counts to keep Kerney off Todd Collins. They were gradually finding running lanes and soft spots in Seattle's defense.

The defense was pressuring Matt Hasselbeck into big mistakes and making Shaun Alexander look awfully ordinary.

It was reasonable to think three minutes into the fourth quarter Saturday that the Washington Redskins had at least one more inspired episode in them.

The Redskins felt it.

"In the cards," was the phrase Collins used to describe how they felt about both the four-game winning streak that put them in the playoffs and their chance of winning here, especially once they had the lead, the ball and great field position.

One more score after that recovered kickoff and the Redskins would have been on the way to Dallas to play a team that wanted no part of them. Even next week's story lines already were developing. Do you know where Tony Romo was all weekend?

Cancún.


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