Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck
In what has been an up and down season for Seattle’s offense, the fans on hand at Qwest Field for the first round of the NFL playoffs got both a Jekyll-and-Hyde performance, but the home team survived to play another week as they beat the emotionally drained Washington Redskins 35-14.
Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck was chief among the offenders of the up and down play, throwing two interceptions in the fourth quarter before guiding the Seahawks to the go-ahead score, a 20-yard strike to WR D.J. Hackett and then came back to hit TE Marcus Pollard on the two-point conversion.
Hasselbeck finished the day 20 of 32 for 229 yards, but after starting off hot, he cooled off considerably unable to find a rhythm with his receivers and that resulted in several Seahawks drives stalling before they even got started.
Washington QB Todd Collins, getting his first playoff start at the age of 36, was battered and bruised most of the day but still managed to hit on 29 of 50 passes for 236 yards with two touchdowns. But he also had two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns, one a 78-yarder by CB Marcus Trufant with 5:56 left in the fourth quarter to put the game effectively out of reach and then DB Jordan Babineaux returned another pick 57 yards for a score to end the scoring.
Seattle’s defensive front seven were the story of the game early on as they got significant pressure on Collins, chief among them was DE Patrick Kerney who hit the Redskins signal-caller several times and looked to have caused a fumble deep in Washington territory before the referees ruled it a forward pass.
LB Leroy Hill, passed over for the Pro Bowl, had an outstanding game for the Seahawks, posting 13 tackles (11 solo) and one sack and was pretty much a thorn in the side of the Redskins offense all day.
Julian Peterson also had a big day as well, posting 10 tackles and a sack and at least two more hurries from Collins while Lofa Tatupu chipped in 12 tackles.
Seattle built an early 7-0 lead when they marched the ball 45 yards on six plays as FB Leonard Weaver took a handoff out of the shotgun set and rumbled 17 yards for the score after getting big blocks from C Chris Spencer and wide receivers Bobby Engram and Ben Obomanu.
They added two field goals from a resurgent Josh Brown, one from 50 and one from 33, to go up 13-0 and appeared to be headed to an easy victory, but the Redskins playing with the memory of Sean Taylor in the back of their minds, battled back in the fourth quarter scoring on a 7-yard touchdown pass to WR Antwaan Randle El on the first play of the final stanza and then coming right back for 30-yard touchdown pass from Collins to Santana Moss three plays after S Laron Landry picked off Hasselbeck’s pass to Engram at the Seattle 42.
On the ensuing kickoff following their second touchdown, the wind caught the ball and dropped it five yards in front of WR Nate Burleson and CB Josh Wilson and Washington got a fortuitous bounce as Anthony Mix scooped up the ball giving the Redskins the ball on Seattle’s 14.
However, Seattle’s defense held tough and forced the Redskins to attempt a field goal, but Shaun Suisham’s 30-yarder hooked wide left and the Seahawks regained the momentum.
With today’s win, Seattle now heads to Green Bay for a matchup with Brett Favre and the dangerous Packers at Lambeau Field.