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Rapid Reaction: Seahawks Hang On In D.C., Clinch Playoff Spot

Notes, takeaways, and reactions from Seattle's 20-15 win over the Washington Football Team.


The Seahawks are playoff bound for the ninth time in 11 seasons under the leadership of Pete Carroll and John Schneider thanks to Sunday's 20-15 victory at Washington.

The win, which improved the Seahawks' record to 10-4, saw Seattle continue a trend of great defensive play—for three quarters at least—while the offense did more than enough against a very dangerous Washington defense.

Here are five rapid reactions to Sunday's win, which sends the Seahawks back to the postseason for the eighth time in the past nine seasons:

1. The offense didn't put up crazy numbers, but had a great game plan.

Looking at the final score or the stat sheet might not give you the impression that the Seahawks had a particularly good day on offense, but in a lot of ways this was a great performance on that side of the ball.

Knowing that Washington has one of the league's best pass rushes, the Seahawks, who were without starting right tackle Brandon Shell, relied on a short-passing game that didn't produce a lot of big plays, but did keep Russell Wilson upright. Washington, which starts four first-round picks on its defensive line, including Chase Young, the No. 2 pick in this year's draft, did not record a sack on Wilson and recorded only three quarterback hits.

And while Seattle's offense stalled out in the second half, the Seahawks did score on four of their first five possessions to build a big lead, no small accomplishment against one of the league's top defenses.

The Seahawks also kept that pass rush at bay with a balanced attack featuring a steady dose of Chris Carson, a huge play from Carlos Dunlap, and even a long run by Wilson.

About the only major negative for Seattle's offense came in the fourth quarter when Montez Sweat made a great play to deflect a Wilson pass, which was then intercepted by Daron Payne. Obviously the Seahawks want to avoid every turnover, but this particular one was more a case of two defensive players making a great play than a bad play by Wilson and offense.

2. The running game came through in a big way.

As mentioned above, the Seahawks were able to keep the Washington pass rush from being a big factor in part because of how they ran the ball, particularly in the first three quarters as they built a big lead they'd end up needing every bit of.

Chris Carson led the way, as usual, rushing for 63 yards on 15 carries, while Carlos Hyde had the biggest play of the game, a 50-yard touchdown run, and Wilson had 52 yards, including a 38-yard run that helped set up a second-quarter touchdown. The Seahawks finished the game with 181 rushing yards, their second most this season, doing almost all of that damage in the first three quarters.

3. The defense continues to get the job done, though it got really interesting late.

The Seahawks allowed 30.4 points per game in the first half of the season, then cut that number down to 16.2 over the past five games heading into Sunday's game.

And while Washington was able to do some damage late in the game, Sunday's victory was overall yet another very strong performance for Seattle's defense, which allowed only a single field goal through three quarters as the Seahawks built a 17-point lead.

By the time Washington did find the end zone early in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks had gone eight quarters without allowing a touchdown, dating back to the third quarter of their Week 13 loss to the New York Giants.

And while Washington did put together two good drives to make the game close, the defense came up with one more stop when it needed it most, thanks in large part to back-to-back sacks by L.J. Collier and Carlos Dunlap II.

Even with Washington scoring twice late, the Seahawks held their opponent under 20 points for the fourth straight week, and the defense also produced two turnovers—interceptions by Shaquill Griffin and D.J. Reed—and four sacks.

4. D.J. Reed is making his case.

D.J. Reed has been starting at right cornerback of late because both Tre Flowers and Quinton Dunbar are injured, but the way Reed is playing, the Seahawks might have a tough decision to make when Flowers and Dunbar return.

In addition to his interception, Reed had six tackles and was credited with three passes defended, including a pass breakup in the end zone, and he had tight coverage just about every time Dwayne Haskins threw his way.

Regardless of what happens when everyone is back, Reed has proven to be an absolute steal of a pickup for the Seahawks, who claimed him when San Francisco waived him as injured this summer. Since getting back midway through the season, Reed has started at right and left cornerback, played nickel corner, returned kickoffs and is currently handling punt return duty.

5. Jason Myers & Michael Dickson are playing at a Pro-Bowl level.

Seattle's special teams play has been a strength all season, and that was again the case on Sunday. Leading the way, as always, were kicker Jason Myers and punter Michael Dickson, who are both having outstanding seasons.

Myers made a pair of field goals, one from 43 yards and another from 40 yards, giving him 31 straight made field goals dating back to last season, and breaking Olindo Mare's franchise record for consecutive field goals made (30).

Dickson, meanwhile, had pinned Washington deep every time he punted, with Washington's four possessions after punts starting at the 4, 10, 4, and 14-yard line. And Dickson wasn't pinning Washington deep with short punts either, averaging 50.8 yards on his four punts.

The best photos from Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Football Team at FedExField. Fueled by Nesquik.

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