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Redskins-Seahawks best and worst

(By Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Best and worst moments from Washington’s 27-17 “Monday Night Football” loss to the Seahawks at FedEx Field.

Best game-clincher: Russell Wilson was pursued by three defenders on a third-down play late in the fourth quarter. He had no real options, so he was just going to throw the ball away, and then the game would have gotten interesting. Except instead he lofted a quirky little lob to Marshawn Lynch, who then rumbled for 30 yards, effectively ending the game. Wilson’s name figures in this recap a lot because he made four or five plays when he just seemed to be one step ahead of everyone else on the field.

Worst record in prime time: Since Joe Gibbs retired the second time, the Redskins are 3-17 in prime-time games. That’s just execrable.

Worst stat: The Eagles, Cowboys and Giants have a combined four losses. The Redskins have four losses by themselves and are three games out of first place. It’s getting late early. Or rather, it’s still early, but mom is unfairly calling one team home while everyone else is still out having fun.

Best commitment to the running game: Washington’s running backs carried 15 times for 28 yards. I don’t expect many sports-radio callers this week to argue they should have run it more.

Worst headset: What was with Kirk Cousins’s headset? Why did it keep not working? Why does it seem like there are so many communication problems at Redskins home games? Why can’t they have a backup plan involving those giant four-image signs that are so popular in college football? Or hand signals? Or carrier pigeons? Or offensive players who run into the huddle with the play from the sidelines? Or a working headset?

Worst challenge success rate: Jay Gruden is now 0 for 5 in challenges as an NFL head coach. This time, he challenged a seeming infraction on which Russell Wilson seemingly went past the line of scrimmage, then went backward and threw the ball. But officials judged that part of Wilson’s body had not passed the line, and Gruden lost the challenge.

Worst special teams fiasco: This week, the fake-field-goal-for-a-first-down narrowly sneaks past the messily failed onside kick, the ineffective pooch kick and the punt downed at their own 1. Tune in next week, when the Redskins’ special teams unit torches the team bench and releases stink bombs inside the locker room.

Best halftime adjustments: Maybe there were no adjustments. Maybe the defense just played better in the second half. But after getting run over by the Seattle offense early, the second half featured pressure from Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo, open-field tackles by David Amerson and a bunch of third-down stops. The Seahawks managed just 10 points in the second half and didn’t get a first down in the third quarter.

Worst turnover: No, not that kind of turnover. Early in the game, the Redskins had constant turnover at right tackle, from Tyler Polumbus to Morgan Moses to Tom Compton. You don’t want to have to use three different right tackles in one half if at all possible. And before Polumbus returned, that led to things like this.

Best running quarterback: Russell Wilson pierced the Redskins’ defense twice on the game’s first drive with runs of 16 yards and 29 yards. The first play after that 29-yarder was a touchdown pass. It was not an auspicious beginning. Presumably, Washington’s defenders then went to the sidelines and said “don’t worry, he’ll never do that again,” because on the first play of Seattle’s next drive, Wilson ran for another 13 yards. A couple plays later, he ran for 22 more. He finished the night with 11 carries for 122 yards, the most ever by a quarterback on “Monday Night Football.”

This was after the first quarter.

Best defender: Ryan Kerrigan got a sack. He now has six. That’s tied for the most in the NFL. All those preseason “who will get more sacks, Kerrigan or Orakpo?” questions may have been answered.

Worst game-opening kickoff: Normal NFL teams kick the ball in the end zone, and that’s the end of it. The other team gets the ball at the 20. It’s kind of repetitive and normal and relaxing. The Redskins do other stuff, like weird pooch kickoffs that get returned to the 35 and make everyone stressed out before anything has even happened. It’s like having an E-ZPass in your car and then just voluntarily queuing up at the longest toll line and doing so while gouging your passengers in the eye. I don’t get it.

Worst onside kick: The surprise onside kick, while within a touchdown, early in the second half? I’m cool with the concept, especially if the alternative is a lame eye-gouging pooch kick that winds up at the 35 anyhow. But that onside kick? That was a bad onside kick. That was the John Beck pocket awareness of onside kicks. Even with the great field position, Seattle did nothing. But Washington never managed to break out of the cycle of poor field position after that onside kick.

Best long pass play: A Kirk Cousins 60-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson near the end of the first half ended Seattle’s shutout, quieted some of the ugly humor and allowed fans in the stadium to unabashedly cheer for the first time since the Nats polished off the Giants well before the football game even began. That was Jackson’s 19th touchdown of at least 50 yards, which is the most in the NFL since he joined the league.

(Real) best long pass play: Hahahaha. Sorry. That Jackson business was good, but it just wasn’t as good as the play Russell Wilson made moments earlier, when he bought time, ran left and somehow chucked the ball 36 yards on a dime to a human named Cooper Helfet. It was the kind of improvised “wowwwww” play that Robert Griffin III made in his first season and hasn’t often made since. And it led to yet another touchdown, this one on a Wilson carry.

Worst comparison: The Seahawks seem to be in a better place than the Redskins, all things considered. Might need a few more data points, but that’s how it seems right now.

Non-judgmental thing: As I noted when people were ripping Nats fans for leaving a six-hour marathon on Saturday night, I don’t judge people for leaving games early. So this isn’t a judgment. Just saying, a lot of people seemed to leave a game with a fairly compelling ending.

Best assistance: The Redskins’ defense gave up two touchdowns to Percy Harvin on one Seattle drive and a third later in the game. Fortunately for the defense, all three were called back because of penalties: one for holding, another for some sort of false start and a third on a dodgy personal foul. Each of those touchdowns would easily have made this item for worst-ness; instead, Seattle was forced to settle for a field goal after the first two fake touchdowns. (The Seahawks got a touchdown after the third fake touchdown.)

Worst omen: Fire alarms always function very well as bad omens.

Best hair-pulling: A cool thing about writing about sports is that you always get to find new categories for tired gimmicks like best and worst lists. Like, “best hair-pulling” is not something I’ve ever written much about in the past. There was a clear winner Monday night, though: Pierre Garcon and Richard Sherman got tangled (ahem) while Garcon wasn’t even running a curl route (rim shot) and then officials just brushed it off (boom).

Worst pregame broadcasting bit: Jon Gruden was saying something or other about his brother’s team digging out of a hole. But you don’t really dig out of a hole with a shovel. Plus, it was weird and creepy looking. If that guy and that shovel were in my backyard, I definitely would fling acorns at him (and it) and then run away.

Worst drop: The Redskins had the ball and possibly some momentum near the end of the first half. Kirk Cousins threw a pass across the middle that was slightly behind Andre Roberts, but it hit him in the hands, and he had room to run. The ball, though, was dropped. There probably aren’t many good drops, but that felt like a pretty bad one.

Worst trend: Why does Alfred Morris keep fumbling? He didn’t use to fumble like this, did he? He didn’t fumble in his first six NFL games. Then he fumbled four times in the final 10 games of 2012, fumbled five times in 2013 and has already fumbled twice in 2014, although the Redskins didn’t lose either.

Best new haircut: RGIII has a new haircut. I’m not sure if it was good or bad, but this format requires one of those, so let’s say best. Hey, that’s two items about hair! I’m probably projecting here.

Worst neutral-zone awareness: On Washington’s first drive, the Seahawks picked up a pair of neutral-zone infractions. There aren’t really many football calls that are consistently referred to as infractions, but that’s one of them. You don’t hear about “false start infraction” or “holding infraction,” but it’s always “neutral-zone infraction.” Why is that? Anyhow, two on a single drive was weird.

Worst other-infraction awareness: You know, the Seahawks actually did a lot of bad things in that game. Like committing 13 penalties to Washington’s three, many of them at brutal times, allowing the home team to hang around in a game that seemed destined for Blowout-ville.

Worst health: In his NFL career, tight end Jordan Reed has now played in portions of 10 games and missed the other 11. His Week 1 hamstring injury kept him out of his fourth straight game Monday night. This is not a good trend.

Worst pregame selfie: Actually, hard to say for sure without seeing the finished product. Maybe it turned out great.

Worst tweets by a National on a day of cross-city love:

Worst missed opportunity: The Seahawks didn’t look particularly great Monday. They committed one penalty after another. They had four three-and-outs. They failed to corral DeSean Jackson on deep routes. And they still won by 10, on the road, against a desperate team. They’re just a lot better than the Redskins.