Mark this one down as an instant classic.
That’s no kneejerk reaction to the Seahawks’ abrupt about-face against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, when they were getting blown off the field at FedExField in the first quarter of their Wild Card matchup only to dominant the next three quarters.
It’s the significance of the accomplishment that transcends even the 24-14 victory that has the Seahawks preparing this week for Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta.
These Seahawks, in their third season under coach Pete Carroll and with a roster stocked with players making their postseason debuts, have gone where the Mike Holmgren Seahawks could not during the most successful five-season run in franchise history. These Seahawks, with a rookie quarterback and an aggressive, physical defense, have gone where no Seahawks team had since 1983 in their first season under Chuck Knox.
And with these Seahawks it wasn’t just winning a playoff game on the road for the first time since Dec. 31, 1983, it was their reaction to the accomplishment. As
Admirable, and also understandable. Wilson wasn’t even born when Curt Warner, Steve Largent and Dave Krieg led the fourth-quarter rally in that 27-20 victory of the Don Shula-coached, Dan Marino-quarterbacked Miami Dolphins at the Orange Bowl all those years ago.
And Wilson is one of 34 players on the 53-man roster who just got a large-bite taste of just how it feels to play in the NFL postseason.
For a better perspective, we sought out the longest-tenured member of the Seahawks. Cornerback
“This is big for us, man, this ranks pretty high,” Trufant said in the locker room after the game. “To come out on the road and be down 14 points and to still come out with the victory in the playoffs is big.
“I think this is going to be real big for all the young guys, just to have that confidence and just to know that if we keep fighting and if we play as a team then we’re hard to deal with.”
Just as it’s hard to overstate the significance of what just happened on Sunday night.
With that said, here’s a look at three things that worked against the Redskins and three things that need work this week as the Seahawks prepare for another cross-country trip, this time to face the top-seeded Falcons:
The pass defense – The entire unit obviously played well in holding the Redskins to no points and 74 yards after their two touchdown drives in the first quarter. But the physical, ball-hawking nature of the defensive backs nurtured the turnaround.
“We have great DBs in Seattle and we take pride in taking care of our business,” Thomas said. “And we did that tonight.”
The running game – What more can be said about
Only three other backs in franchise history have had 100-yard games in the postseason – Warner, in the ’83 upset of the Dolphins in Miami (113 yards); Dan Doornink, in the upset of the Raiders the next season (126); and Shaun Alexander, who did it in the 2005 NFC Championship game against the Carolina Panthers (132) and also the next season in the playoff loss to the Bears in Chicago (108).
Lynch’s other 100-yard effort came against the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints after the 2010 season, when his 131-yard night was capped by an electrifying 67-yard TD run.
But against the Redskins, it wasn’t just Lynch, his 132 yards and his 27-yard TD run in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game-winner. The Seahawks hung 224 yards on the ground and averaged 6.1 yards per carry on a Redskins defense that allowed averages of 95.8 and 4.2 during the regular season.
Wilson added 67 yards, rookie
Rice’s was good for 27 yards on the drive to the first of three field goals by
WHAT NEEDS WORK
Starting as well as they finish – Or at least starting better. The Seahawks can’t count on getting down 14-0 and then pitching a shutout every time they step on the field in the playoffs. Especially against a Falcons team that scored 91 points in the first quarter and 131 in the second while going 13-3 during the regular season.
“I was worried about the tempo of the game catching us a little bit,” Carroll said. “That we spent so much time on their option stuff that we might not be up to speed. Certainly, it looked like it. We just weren’t there with the tempo at the start of the game.”
Holding onto the ball – What could have been a game-altering play when Lynch lost a fumble at the Redskins’ 2-yard line wasn’t because he atoned for the mistake with his game-winner. But again, it’s tough to count on things like that happening.
Wilson also fumbled an exchange with Lynch, only to have Lynch scoop it up and run for 20 yards. But again, it’s tough to count on things like that happening.
Red zone offense – On their first five trips inside the Redskins’ 20-yard line, the Seahawks scored one TD, kicked three field goals and lost that fumble. With better efficiency, this one could have been another lopsided victory.
“We had a lot of great opportunities to capitalize in the red zone, and we didn’t do that quite as much as we’ve been doing of late,” Wilson said. “But that’s all right. In the playoffs, you’ve just got to make plays and continue to fight, continue to have that edge.”