Its not accurate to boil this game down to one player. Rex Grossman had his token interceptions, but other than those two passes, he was killing it today. Grossman is not a good quarterback, but when he's having an "on" day, he's scary good, and today was one of those rare occasions. He extended plays by moving in the pocket. He executed screens and short passes to perfection. He was very accurate on his throws, completing a whopping 74% of his passes for a highly impressive 9.0 yards per attempt. Roy Helu also had a terrific game, totaling 162 yards from scrimmage and a highlight reel touchdown that sparked Washington's impressive comeback.
But I'm guessing people won't remember that. They'll remember Browner for his drive extending hold (which later resulted in a touchdown instead of a punt), his blown coverage/PI that resulted in a game winning hail mary touchdown on 3rd and 19, and last but not least, a boneheaded 15 yard penalty in the game's final minute when Seattle could absolutely not afford it. Its so much self-destruction that I wouldn't blame you if you had forgotten that Browner also had a terrific interception earlier on.
So, Seattle lost. In the end, Washington beat Seattle soundly on the stat page in just about every category. They deserved to win, even if it almost felt like they didn't. Washington is not even close to being as bad a team as people think nationally (just like the Seahawks). They are far and away better than teams like the Cardinals or Rams. They have the best pass rush in the NFL, a very good new running back, and a quarterback who may not be good, but can still be dangerous.
Mike Shanahan drew up the perfect passing attack before the game, finding soft spots in our coverage on almost every snap right from the get-go. By the 3rd drive, Pete Carroll made coverage adjustments which in part helped keep the Redskins scoreless for two full quarters. But in the fourth quarter, Shanahan made a new set of counter adjustments and Grossman became unstoppable once again. The game might have been a brutal snoozer, but its not often you see a chess match like that.
- I don't know if teams give out game balls after a loss, but if they did, it should probably go to Marshawn Lynch. Washington entered this game with a slightly above average rushing defense (14th in DVOA) and a top 10 defense overall. Seattle once again had outstanding run blocking, but unlike the previous two weeks, Lynch brought his A-game and wasted no time hitting the holes and maximizing yardage. Sure, his longest run of the day was only 12 yards, but he had multiple runs near 10 yards this time. The result: a much more impressive 4.65 yards per carry. If this is the Marshawn Lynch that shows up every week, Seattle is set at running back. I never thought I'd say this, but fantasy football teams might want to give Marshawn a look on their waiver wires for the rest of this season.
- No one is talking about it, but Golden Tate has quietly made huge strides this season. He runs much prettier routes and his hands seem to have improved. In just a couple months, he's gone from, frankly, a terrible player who many wanted to cut during the preseason to a quality #4 who is still trending upward.
- Red Bryant has now blocked an incredible four kicks on the season. I could be wrong, but if I recall correctly, Jim Mora was present in the broadcast booth for all four of them.
- Speaking of which, I have no fondness for Jim Mora, but he's turned into a surprisingly good commentary man. He was right on top of everything today, including the play in the endzone where he noticed the hat on the chalk.
- I'm guessing the laundry guy for visiting NFL teams can't be too happy about the blue endzones coming back. Those things stain white road jerseys like crazy.
- Seattle was once again killed by penalties, but so was Washington.
- Its hard to judge Jackson's performance. He suffered at least 5 drops by my count in only 30 pass attempts. On the other hand, he also had about 4-5 terrible throws. But then again, he was playing with a very sore throwing arm which is certain to have an impact there. My initial feeling is that Jackson played like usual today, but the drops and the rusty arm caused a lot of noise which made the performance look much worse than it really should have. Regardless, its very hard to watch today's game and somehow still imagine the Seahawks leaving the 2012 draft without a talented quarterback somehow. I can stomach another year of T-Jack just fine, but only if its clear that a sane long-term plan is in place.
- If Hawthorne's injury is even semi-serious, might we see the return of Lofa Tatupu? He's still out there, and Seattle does not have any depth at linebacker.
- Regarding the secondary, it didn't feel like they had a down performance today, Browner exempted. Further DVR study could prove otherwise, but watching the game, it just felt like Shanahan had an outstanding game plan, and both Grossman and Helu played terrific games. Another huge factor was that despite pre-game reports, Trent Williams was able to play and his presence had a massive impact on Chris Clemons and Seattle's ability to finish the job on its pass rush. Had Sean Locklear started instead, I doubt Washington wins this game.
- I've said before that I'm no longer rooting for draft position, and I've made several arguments, including an essay recently at Seahawks Draft Blog, that winning could actually have some hidden benefits come draft day. Losing today, which probably cut our slim playoff chances in half, doesn't change that. However, its worth noting that if Seattle had to lose to a single team in our final six games, Washington would have been the best team to lose to. Unlike the other five teams, Washington is desperate for a quarterback, and is looking for a somewhat similar mold of quarterback as we are. This could very well be a loss that we'll look back on in 5 months and say "thank God we lost to the Redskins." Losing gave us a game up in the draft standings against a prime competitor (meaning we are now "tied" with the Redskins). Idiots note: Please do not construe this comment as me rooting for draft position. I would have much rather won and be on a 3 game winning streak heading into a nationally televised game against the Eagles. The draft position is nothing more than a silver lining to a dark cloud. Its just something to make us feel a little less crappy about a suffering a painful fourth quarter comeback.