When Russell Wilson crumpled to the turf on just his third play in the NFL playoffs, FedEx Field crackled with energy that had been dormant 13 years, since the last time this place hosted a postseason game. The Washington Redskins’ defense seemed ready, and Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback, felt the brunt of it, sacked between defensive end Stephen Bowen and linebacker London Fletcher.
But any notion that the Redskins defense would simply dictate anything about this game — the pace, the sound, the feel — didn’t last until daylight had faded. Washington’s defense has nothing to be particularly ashamed about following the 24-14 loss that ended its season. Seattle simply ended up wearing down the Redskins with a version of offensive football that would have looked good in Washington, had the Redskins been running it.
“That’s a dynamic team,” said safety Reed Doughty, who had likely his finest game of the season.
Statistics would show that the Redskins applied enough pressure on Wilson, for they sacked him five times. They were plenty stout in the red zone, limiting Seattle to one touchdown and three field goals in five trips inside the Washington 20-yard line. They got a turnover that might have changed the game, when nose tackle Barry Cofield pounded the ball loose from running back Marshawn Lynch in the third quarter at Washington’s 2-yard line, just as the Seahawks seemed poised to take the lead.
“Any time you can limit somebody to a field goal in the red zone, let alone a turnover, is huge,” Doughty said. “We had another opportunity.”
As it turned out, the Redskins simply gave the Seahawks too many opportunities. Lynch pounded them for 132 yards on his 20 carries, including the 27-yard touchdown run that gave Seattle its first lead of the day, one it never relinquished. Wilson, the West Coast version of Washington’s Robert Griffin III, was efficient enough in the passing game: 15 of 26 for 187 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. But his running befuddled the Redskins just as much; he gained 67 yards on just eight carries.
“He’s a good, scrambling quarterback,” cornerback Josh Wilson said. “Made a lot of plays with his feet. It’s tough when the guy keeps the play alive. You have him back there, and he’s able to wiggle his way out.”
In their final performance of the season, the Redskins defense allowed 380 yards and 24 points, almost exactly their averages for the season (377.7 and 24.3).
“They did their part,” wide receiver Pierre Garcon said.
Substantively, stylistically, there was nothing wrong with it. It just wasn’t enough to win.
“Bitter taste in your mouth,” Bowen said. “Their defense played better than our defense. That was the difference.”
More on the Redskins:
Summary: Seahawks 24, Redskins 14
Boswell: Seeing the NFL at its best, worst
Takeaway: No reason to hang their heads
Photos: Griffin’s injury
Photos: Scenes from the stadium