November 5th, 2017:
In a game that was more of a defensive battle than anything for the first 58 minutes, the fourth quarter saw the Redskins give up their lead before taking it back for good with 59 seconds left.
Entering the final frame with a 10-2 lead, the Seahawks scored early in the fourth quarter off a Russell Wilson to Luke Wilson 10-yard touchdown. Seattle would attempt to tie the game, but a failed two-point conversion secured Washington’s lead. For the time being.
With less than two minutes left in the game, Wilson led a five-play, 71-yard drive that was capped with a 30-yard touchdown placed into the hands of Doug Baldwin.
Just 35 seconds of game action later, the Redskins took back the lead with a one-yard touchdown run by Rob Kelley.
Wilson and the Seahawks heaved one more attempt into the end zone on the final play of the game, but the defense held strong to secure a 17-14 victory.
“To come here and get a win in this place is a great tribute to them,” said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. “They showed a lot of mental toughness today. Things didn’t go our way early but the defense and special teams kept us in the game. It was just a total team victory. The pass rush, the coverage, the defense was outstanding. Offensively we sputtered, we couldn’t run the ball, we couldn’t protect and couldn’t do a lot of things. When it counted and they took the lead, Kirk had two outstanding passes and the guys made plays. I’m just very proud of all those guys.”
On the game-winning drive, Cousins delivered when the Redskins needed him most. Despite one of the league’s best defenses looking him directly in the eyes and one of the most boisterous fan bases making it hard to hear, the Pro Bowl quarterback completed back-to-back 30-plus yard passes to Brian Quick and Josh Doctson before Kelley’s score.
“Brian did a phenomenal job creating separation versus man coverage, running the route the way we had wanted it to,” Cousins said. “The protection was a little loose, so I really didn’t get a chance to see it. I just threw it to a spot and got hit, and then you’re just kind of waiting for a reaction, trying to look through guys’ legs on the ground to see what happened. Man coverage—you can just trust it and put it out there, and Brian did a phenomenal job of coming down with the ball.”
Doctson’s reception – which nearly resulted in his fourth touchdown of the season – was of the highlight reel variety, but it was a catch that will only help the second-year wide receiver mentally as he continues to grow.
To give him those opportunities and see him make those plays is just going to add to the confidence level of not only Josh but to Kirk throwing it to him,” Gruden said. “It’s a win-win situation and obviously it won us a big game today.
While Montae Nicholson was active during Sunday’s game, the rookie wasn’t healthy enough to play. So the Redskins called on a familiar face to take over: DeAngelo Hall.
Postgame: Redskins Beat Seahawks!
Activated off the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Friday evening, Hall returned to not only help man the defensive backfield, but return punts as well. With 13 full years of NFL experience under his belt, Hall has pretty much seen it all on the field. But he admitted that getting back into game flow isn’t the easiest thing to do.
“I really didn’t understand how important it was to physically get the reps as opposed to just seeing it in the classroom and knowing it,” said Hall, who suffered a torn ACL last year. “I was able to pick it up. Like I told D.J. Swearinger, he’s a hell of a football player, man. Probably one of the best I’ve ever been around, played with, including Pro Bowls I’ve played with guys. Without him, there’s no way I’m able to go out there and play, so hats off to him for real.”
In total, Hall finished the game with five tackles along with two passes defensed. He also returned two punts in place of Jamison Crowder, who was inactive after not making the trip to Seattle.
On the final play of the game, Hall helped seal the game by making sure Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham didn’t come down with a game-winning touchdown in the back of the end zone.
“There is probably nobody I would rather have back there at the end of a game on a Hail Mary than D-Hall,” Gruden said. “He has got great ball skills. He has a knack of being around the ball…It’s great to have his leadership back there. I failed to mention him. He has been in the meetings, through OTAs, through training camp, through the regular season. He has been supporting the guys, coaching the guys and seeing him out there performing is I’m sure [is] special for him and special for us to.
With four-of-five regular starting offensive linemen either inactive or not healthy enough to play, Washington had difficulty getting traction on the ground during a wet and snowy afternoon at CenturyLink Field.
Washington’s three running backs combined for just 47 rushing yards on 20 carries. But both of the Redskins’ touchdowns came on one-yard runs by Kelley, who gained just 18 yards on 14 carries.
Despite the struggles, Gruden didn’t lose confidence in Kelley to punch it in for a touchdown.
“I just remembered when Coach Gruden believed in us, in the O-line. I remember Kirk telling me we’ve got to get it in there and it was the last chance we can get it in and everybody believed in what Kirk said and we did it,” Kelley said. “I think that was the highlight of the game was that moment in the huddle, everybody was like, ‘We’re going to do it or not?’”
Kelley was questionable entering Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, but the second-year Tulane product gutted out the pain to have his first multi-touchdown game of the season.
“Early in the game it started messing with me a little bit,” Kelley said. “When you have your teammates on your back, everyone hurts so what are you going to do? Keep playing or keep whining? All throughout training camp and the preseason, the Redskins had a three-man battle to determine the team’s two starting inside linebackers. Zach Brown and Mason Foster would ultimately earn the starting spots for the regular season, leaving Will Compton – a 2016 defensive captain – to take on a reserve role.
He didn’t complain and he didn’t pout. A former college free agent signing for the Redskins, Compton had been in this spot before. Wait your time and then make the most of it when an opportunity presents itself.
While Compton’s opportunity came after Foster was placed on Injured Reserve, the fourth-year Nebraska product was one of the most productive players on the field Sunday, recording eight tackles with three passes defensed and his first interception of the season.
Compton’s interception was perhaps his easiest play of the afternoon, as the ball was thrown right to him. “Yeah, I mean I figured he might go backside to the running back, because he tries that every now and then on the film. But, when he turned around, I figured he was going to [one of his receivers], but when he threw it straight to me,” Compton said with a smile. “I was just like ‘Oh, money.’”
Compton recorded two of his three passes defensed shortly after his pick on back-to-back plays. As the game went on, Compton’s play got stronger.
“Toward the end, I started to feel some of those old things, but again I was telling you the other day how potentially things work out the way they work out, blessings in disguise, I was able to work on getting some injuries better and things like that,” Compton said. “But, I felt good today running around, I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow, but I felt good today with the cold weather and everything like that and the way that our trainers prepared for this week.
Playing at an MVP level once again this season, leading the Seahawks in passing and rushing, the Redskins knew Wilson would be trouble. Early in the game, the Redskins were able to bottle up Seattle’s passing game, as Wilson completed just 9-of-20 passes for 98 yards in the first half.
But Wilson wouldn’t give up, extending plays for much of the second half to give himself extra time to either make deep throws or to even run. In total, Wilson finished the game with 297 passing yards along with a game-high 77 rushing yards on 12 carries. Washington was able to flush Wilson out of the pocket over and over again, but took him down for just two sacks.
“I’m happy, but it’s kind of like we could’ve done better out there,” admitted defensive lineman Ziggy Hood. “They got way too many points on us. Russell had way too many rushing yards on us and that’s not what a good defense will do and allow too many rushing yards. We’re going to look at the tape and evaluate it and see where the mistakes are, because the only reason why the cornerbacks were distressed back there was because we didn’t do our job up front on the defensive line. We did some good things, we had moments and flashes, but we didn’t do it consistently all game long.”
“It’s frustrating, but that’s why he’s Russell Wilson, he makes those things happen,” added Compton. “We knew going into it he’d be a problem, spreading it out, getting out of the pocket. We’ll watch some film, get stuff corrected for when we face a threat like that in the future. But he’s a hell of a player, man, they got a good team and most of it runs through him.”
Reported by GRACE MASEKO, Photos By: DAVIES CHIRWA