Best and worst moments from the Redskins’ 17-14 win over the Seahawks on Sunday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
Best redemption: Trailing 14-10 with 1:34 to play, the Redskins mounted a four-play touchdown drive that might’ve saved their season. On second down, Kirk Cousins hooked up with Brian Quick for a 31-yard completion. On the next play, Josh Doctson made an incredible diving catch at the Seattle 1. It was the type of clutch grab that Washington expected out of Doctson when it drafted him in the first round last season, and one he couldn’t make in the fourth quarter of a gut-wrenching loss to the Chiefs on “Monday Night Football” last month. Doctson’s heroics set up a Rob Kelley touchdown on the next play, giving the Redskins an improbable lead with 59 seconds remaining.
Best drama: Did . . . did . . . did the Redskins leave the Seahawks too much time? Almost! Seattle drove to the Washington 38-yard line and had time for a Hail Mary after Russell Wilson was ruled down by contact on a play that was initially ruled an incomplete pass with four seconds remaining. Wilson’s desperation heave bounced off a pair of hands in the back of the end zone before falling harmlessly incomplete. The Redskins would escape with one of their most unlikely wins in some time.
Best return: Playing in his first game since tearing his ACL in Week 3 last season, Redskins veteran safety DeAngelo Hall helped break up Wilson’s final pass to seal Washington’s win.
Worst penalty: With the Redskins’ defense running on fumes and Washington clinging to a 10-8 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Jay Gruden’s offense finally rediscovered its ability to gain positive yards. The Redskins picked up a pair of rare first downs on a long reception by Doctson and a third-down completion to Ryan Grant. Vernon Davis’s 10-yard catch and run on second and 12 appeared to have put Washington in position to burn even more clock and move the chains yet again, but Tyler Catalina was flagged for a block in the back on the play. It was a ticky-tack call, but also a completely unnecessary block by Catalina, as Davis was already beyond him when he shoved Michael Bennett out of bounds. Two plays later, Washington was forced to punt.
Best fourth-quarter quarterbacks: Wilson was dreadful for much of the game, a credit to Washington’s defense, but he was masterful with the game on the line. Wilson capped Seattle’s 71-yard, go-ahead touchdown drive with a 30-yard pass to Doug Baldwin at the 1:34 mark, and finished 24 for 45 for 297 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions. Cousins’s final numbers (21 for 30, 247 yards) probably didn’t win many fantasy matchups this week, but he didn’t the turn the ball over despite facing constant pressure and he made two perfect throws when the Redskins needed it most.
Worst inevitability: The Seahawks’ offense, which scored 41 points in a home win last week and looked completely out of sorts for three quarters on Sunday, finally got into the end zone with 11:53 remaining in the game. Wilson’s 10-yard pass to Luke Willson capped a six-play, 66-yard drive that pulled Seattle to within 10-8. Flutists will appreciate the Seahawks’ touchdown celebration.
Best two-point conversion that wasn’t: The Seahawks went for two points and the tie, but D.J. Swearinger intercepted Wilson’s pass at the goal line. Swearinger returned the ball past midfield and lateraled the ball to Josh Norman, who lateraled the ball back to Swearinger in one of the wildest failed two-point conversions of the season. Swearinger was finally tackled 15 yards shy of what would’ve resulted in two points — and a 12-8 lead — for Washington.
Worst help: After their first drive of the second half resulted in a field goal, the Redskins went three-and-out and lost 20 yards on their next three possessions. The third of those drives ended with a sack of Cousins at the Washington 4-yard line that was initially ruled a fumble and recovery in the end zone for a Seattle touchdown. Replay showed Cousins still had control of the ball when his knee was down, though, and the call was reversed. The defense kept Washington in the game with its most impressive performance of the season.
Best open field tackle: The Seahawks began their ensuing drive at their own 32-yard line after a 15-yard penalty on Tedric Thompson for throwing an illegal blindside block on the punt. Three plays later, Josh Norman fought off a stiff-arm attempt on third and one to bring Thomas Rawls down for no gain and force a Seattle punt.
Best poise under pressure: The second half couldn’t have started much better for Washington, which took a 10-2 lead on a 28-yard field goal by Nick Rose after forcing a three-and-out on Seattle’s first possession. (Yes, a touchdown would’ve been better, but offense was at a serious premium in this game.) The key play of the drive was Cousins’s 23-yard dart to Grant, a pass that was all the more impressive because it came with defensive tackle Jarran Reed in Cousins’s face. Reed was flagged 15 yards for his helmet-to-helmet hit.
Worst poise under pressure: They didn’t have a sack to show for it in the first half, but the Redskins hounded Wilson from the start. With Seattle at midfield and driving more than halfway through the third quarter, Wilson was flushed out of the pocket by linebacker Zach Brown and floated an ill-advised pass back across the field. The ball was intended for Baldwin, but intercepted by Will Compton at the Washington 46. Compton almost had his second interception of the game on back-to-back plays on Seattle’s next drive.
Best breaks: The Seahawks had a chance to add to their lead after a first-quarter safety, driving 43 yards on six plays, but Blair Walsh’s 44-yard field goal attempt missed wide to the left. With 9:37 remaining before halftime, Walsh, who entered the game with one missed field goal all season, hooked another attempt from 39 yards wide left. Washington still only trailed 2-0 in a game that felt more like 20-0.
Worst offense: The Redskins managed 21 yards on their first five possessions, which ended like so: punt, fumble, safety, punt, punt. Less than five minutes into the second quarter, all they needed was an interception and a turnover on downs for Bad Drive Bingo.
Best drive: Washington finally got going on its sixth possession, which came after Walsh’s second missed field goal. Kirk Cousins was 5 for 6 on the drive, including a key third-down completion to Terrelle Pryor Sr. (yes, you read that right) and a 10-yard pass to Doctson. Kelley capped the 13-play, 71-yard march with a one-yard touchdown run to give the Redskins a 7-2 lead after Pryor drew a pass interference penalty on Richard Sherman in the end zone.
Best ageless wonder: Davis had four catches for 59 yards in the first half, including three on Washington’s first touchdown drive. The 33-year-old Davis moved past Kellen Winslow for the ninth-most receiving yards by a tight end in NFL history.
Best business decision: Late in the third quarter, Cousins bobbled a high snap from Chase Roullier and, with a horde of Seattle defenders bearing down on him, handed the ball off to Kelley like the hottest of hot potatoes. Kelley’s body and stat line took a beating on the nine-yard loss, which lowered his rushing total to 12 carries for one yard. Cousins, who didn’t even turn around after collecting the snap, might’ve had time to throw the ball away, but that’s easy for me to say.
Worst running game: Given the state of their offensive line, it’s no surprise that the Redskins struggled to run the ball. Washington finished with 51 yards on 23 carries.
Best stat-padding play: The Redskins had a chance to add to their improbable 7-2 lead with two timeouts and 1:23 remaining in the first half, but Cousins threw the ball away on first down and was sacked for a 12-yard loss on the next play. Facing third and 22 and content to burn clock, Washington dialed up a draw to Chris Thompson, who juked half of the Seahawks defense out of their shoes and executed two spin moves on just about the greatest 11-yard run that doesn’t result in a first down you’ll ever see.
Worst kicker: Walsh’s first half to forget wasn’t over. The Seahawks moved into position to attempt a 49-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter. Like Walsh’s first two attempts, this one missed to the left.
Worst discipline: Seattle entered the game averaging an NFL-worst 9.4 penalties per game. The Seahawks were flagged nine times in the first half on Sunday and finished with 16 penalties for 138 yards in the game.
Best discipline: For all the talk about how difficult the noise created by Seattle’s 12th Man makes things on opposing offenses, the Seahawks, not Washington’s makeshift offensive line, committed three of the four false starts in the game. In four games this season at CenturyLink Field, Seattle has been called for six false starts and its opponents have been flagged for three.
Best interception: Kendall Fuller ended Seattle’s fourth possession by driving on a slant route intended for Baldwin and picking off Wilson. Fuller’s 24-yard return was negated after officials ruled he was down by contact upon replay review, but his team-leading third interception of the season was still a thing of beauty.
Best film study: Judging by how he broke on the ball, it was almost as if Fuller knew what was coming on his interception. For his sake, let’s hope he was studying film on Saturday night instead of watching his Hokies get waxed by Miami.
Worst turnover: Washington’s second possession ended with a fumble by rookie running back Samaje Perine that was recovered by Seattle’s Nazair Jones at the Redskins’ 42-yard line. Perine’s second lost fumble of the season was the Redskins’ NFL-worst 10th, and while it didn’t immediately lead to Seattle points, it allowed punter Jon Ryan to pin Washington deep in its own territory following a three-and-0ut.
Worst safety: On the first play of the Redskins’ next drive, Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner came untouched around the left side of Washington’s inexperienced offensive line and sacked Cousins in the end zone for a safety.
Worst pass: Cousins and the Redskins caught another break when Sherman dropped a sure interception on the first play of the second quarter.
Worst injuries: For the second consecutive week, the Redskins took the field for their first possession with Morgan Moses as their only regular starter along the offensive line. Trent Williams, Spencer Long and Shawn Lauvao were all inactive, as expected, and while right guard Brandon Scherff dressed after missing last week’s game, Catalina started in his place. On the bright side, the Seahawks’ defense is only tied for 16th in sacks this season.
Worst offensive start: The Redskins moved the chains on their opening drive on wide receiver Quick’s second reception of the year, but Cousins overthrew Davis on third down one play after a pair of Seahawks defenders tipped and ultimately dropped what should’ve been an interception. Tress Way’s ensuing punt, which was partially blocked by Neiko Thorpe, ended Washington’s six-game streak of scoring on its opening drive. That was the Redskins’ longest such streak since the merger.
Best defensive start: Aided by a Seattle holding penalty that wiped out a nine-yard run by Wilson, the Redskins forced a punt on the Seahawks’ first possession. Washington hasn’t allowed points on its opponent’s opening drive since Week 1.
Worst decision: With Jamison Crowder inactive, the 33-year-old Hall, who was active for the first time this year, returned punts for the first time since December 2012. Despite hints from Gruden that Hall would err on the side of caution and signal for a fair catch if there was anyone in the vicinity, Hall fielded the first punt and took a huge shot from Thorpe.
Best halftime entertainment: Piglet races! Hogs 3.0?
Best road trip: Seattle has been a house of horrors for the Redskins in the postseason, but Washington has yet to lose to the Seahawks at the stadium currently known as CenturyLink Field during the regular season. Washington’s four wins at Seattle since the stadium opened in 2002 are as many as the Redskins have at any road venue except Philadelphia (7) and Dallas (5).