The Redskins fell to 1-4 with a 27-17 loss to Seattle on Monday Night Football (Oct. 6, 2014). Here were the 10 most important items from the game:
1. The night time is not the right time
The Redskins now have lost seven straight primetime games and now are 3-17 in primetime games since the start of the 2008 season, including 3-12 at FedEx Field.
The Seahawks improved to 11-1 in primetime games under head coach Pete Carroll.
2. The Redskins’ defense struggled for a third straight game, getting scorched by quarterback Russell Wilson
Wilson had 11 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown and went 18-of-24 for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
The 122 rushing yards were the most by a quarterback in the history of Monday Night Football. 85 of the rushing yards came off scrambles. Wilson had three read-option runs for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Wilson had five carries for 80 yards in just the first quarter, during which the Seahawks totaled 108 rushing yards.
• The game’s opening drive, which resulted in a first-and-10 15-yard shotgun touchdown pass to receiver Jermaine Kearse, included a third-and-five 16-yard shotgun scramble and a second-and-10 29-yard I-formation play-action-boot scramble on which linebacker Ryan Kerrigan bit badly on the fake.
• The Seahawks’ second first-quarter drive, which resulted in a punt, included a first-and-10 13-yard shotgun read-option run on which linebacker Brian Orakpo bit badly and a second-and-20 22-yard under-center play-action scramble on which corner E.J. Biggers had a missed tackle.
Wilson had a second-quarter first-and-goal nine-yard shotgun read-option run for a touchdown on which rookie linebacker Trent Murphy got fooled badly. The play before that was a first-and-10 36-yard shotgun completion on which Wilson ran right and then left before finding tight end Cooper Helfet, who beat linebacker Perry Riley Jr.
Wilson had a fourth-quarter second-and-goal nine-yard shotgun touchdown pass to running back Marshawn Lynch on a play on which Riley had a missed tackle. Riley earlier in the drive had a third-and-three five-yard holding penalty. Also from Wilson on the drive were:
• A second-and-20 19-yard shotgun play-action completion to tight end Luke Wilson off Wilson doing an amazing job of running around to extend the play and a missed tackle by rookie corner Bashaud Breeland.
• A third-and-one offset-I-formation play-action-boot zero-yard completion to Lynch off safety Brandon Meriweather failing to sack Wilson
• A first-and-10 12-yard I-formation play-action-boot scramble on which Orakpo bit badly on the fake
The Seahawks’ game-clinching fourth-quarter drive that resulted in Steven Hauschka’s 43-yard field goal included a third-and-four 30-yard shotgun play-action completion to Lynch off Wilson eluding pressure from Kerrigan and then getting blasted by nose tackle Chris Baker.
The Redskins did total three sacks and five quarterback hits, and the defense was better in a third quarter that included three Seahawks punts. But the Redskins had zero takeaways and now have just four takeaways over five games this season.
Riley suffered a sprained left MCL.
3. The Redskins got walloped in the field-position battle
The Redskins’ average starting field position was their own 17-yard line. The Seahawks’ average starting field position was their own 35-yard line.
The Redskins had a stretch of three consecutive second-half drives in which the starting field position was the team’s 1-, 8- and 9-yard lines.
4. Quarterback Kirk Cousins rebounded nicely from his five-turnover performance in the Week 4 blowout loss to the Giants
Cousins went 21-of-36 for 283 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers.
Cousins connected on three big pass plays with receiver DeSean Jackson, who finished with five receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets:
• Late second-quarter second-and-six 60-yard shotgun touchdown completion. Cousins was running forward and to his right while making a terrific throw, hitting Jackson in stride. Jackson made a nice catch with his arms extended.
• The first offensive play of the second half was a first-and-10 57-yard I-formation play-action completion. The drive, though, resulted in Kai Forbath’s third-quarter 27-yard field goal.
• Third-quarter first-and-10 22-yard I-formation play-action completion. The drive, though, resulted in a punt.
Cousins’ performance was even more impressive considering that the Redskins were guilty of four drops in the first half.
• The Redskins’ first first-quarter drive, which resulted in a punt, included a first-and-10 drop by tight end Logan Paulsen on the Redskins’ first offensive play (though the ball may have been deflected) of the game and a second-and-five drop by Jackson on a play on which safety Earl Thomas may have impeded Jackson’s vision of the ball.
• The Redskins’ second first-quarter drive, which resulted in a three-and-out, included a second-and-10 pass on which the ball went off Jackson’s hands and was nearly picked off by Thomas, who dropped the ball. Also on the play was rookie right tackle Morgan Moses (in the game for a briefly-banged-up Tyler Polumbus) whiffing on defensive end Cliff Avril, who blasted Cousins.
• The Redskins’ final drive of the second quarter included a second-and-10 drop by receiver Andre Roberts. The ball was behind him but essentially went through his hands. It should also be noted that receiver Pierre Garcon was open on this play and perhaps should have been the target.
The negatives for Cousins included him continuing to at times throw short too early and just an overall lack of production from the offense: 17 points, 3-for-12 on third downs, just 307 total net yards and a loss in the time-of-possession battle by 9:52. But the next item bears a sizable chunk of the responsibility.
5. The Redskins’ running game was essentially a non-factor
The Redskins totaled 17 carries for just 32 yards. The decisions by running back Alfred Morris and the blocking of Paulsen and fellow tight end Niles Paul were mostly to blame.
Morris had just 13 carries for 29 yards. 20 of those yards came on three straight carries on the second-quarter four-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in Jackson’s second-and-six 60-yard touchdown reception.
Morris had a first-quarter fumble on a second-and-six I-formation handoff run for minus-two yards. The ball was recovered by fullback Darrel Young. Morris’ knee appeared to be down before the fumble, but the Redskins opted not to challenge the play. The drive resulted in a punt. Morris has two official fumbles over five games this season but also had two near-fumbles in the Week 1 loss at Houston (one was officially a fumble on quarterback Robert Griffin III; the other was ruled to have happened after Morris was tackled).
Morris also whiffed horribly in pass pro on a third-quarter second-and-15 sack by linebacker Bobby Wagner for an eight-yard loss. The drive resulted in a punt.
6. Redskins special teams had another bad game
Head coach Jay Gruden had his Redskins attempt a surprise onside kick after Forbath’s third-quarter 27-yard field goal, but the Seahawks recovered the ball. The ensuing Seahawks drive did result in a three-and-out, but the punt off that drive was downed at the Redskins’ 1-yard line.
The Seahawks’ fourth-quarter drive that consumed 7:33 off the clock and resulted in Lynch’s second-and-goal nine-yard touchdown reception included a fourth-and-one five-yard run by punter/holder Jon Ryan on a fake field goal.
Seahawks receiver Bryan Walters had a 21-yard punt return in the first quarter and a 20-yard punt return in the third quarter.
Tress Way averaged just 40.6 net yards on eight punts.
Biggers committed a 10-yard holding penalty on the second quarter’s first play, which was a 46-yard punt that resulted in a touchback. The Redskins got the ball at their own 10-yard line, and the ensuing drive resulted in a three-and-out.
7. The Redskins did dominate the Seahawks in one category
The Redskins, who entered this game with 39 accepted penalties over four games, had just three accepted penalties.
The Seahawks had 13 accepted penalties, including three that negated touchdowns by receiver Percy Harvin.
• The second-quarter drive that resulted in Hauschka’s 40-yard field goal included touchdown-negating penalties on back-to-back snaps: guard James Carpenter’s second-and-seven 10-yard holding penalty nullified Harvin’s a 16-yard touchdown run and Harvin’s second-and-17 five-yard false-start penalty nullified his 26-yard touchdown reception.
• The fourth-quarter drive that resulted in Lynch’s nine-yard touchdown reception included a first-and-10 15-yard unnecessary-roughness penalty by Carpenter, negating a 41-yard touchdown reception by Harvin.
8. Gruden fell to 0-for-5 on challenges this season
The fourth-quarter drive that resulted in Lynch’s nine-yard touchdown reception included a second-and-20 19-yard shotgun play-action reception by tight end Luke Wilson off Russell Wilson doing an amazing job of running around to extend the play. Gruden challenged that Wilson had in fact crossed the line of scrimmage before going back behind it and making the throw, but replays showed that Wilson’s entire body did not cross the line of scrimmage (his left shoulder stayed behind).
A play the Redskins should have challeneged was Morris’ first-quarter fumble on a second-and-six I-formation handoff run for minus-two yards. Morris’ knee appeared to be down before the fumble. Young recovered the ball, but the drive resulted in a punt.
9. Redskins players reportedly weren’t exactly crushed by this latest loss
Multiple reporters, including our own John Keim of ESPN.com, noted a surprisingly loud and-or upbeat mood in the Redskins’ locker room after the game. Wrote Keim: “The Redskins’ locker room was a lively place, even in defeat. There was loud chatter emanating from the shower area. There were players joking. Whether this is good or bad usually will be determined by how they respond throughout the week and in the following game. But, yes, they felt good that they weren’t embarrassed for a second straight prime-time game. ‘We’re 1-4 and disappointed, but it was the defending Super Bowl champions and we went toe-to-toe with those guys,’ linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “That’s something to hang our heads high on.”
Safety Ryan Clark sounded off to reporters on Wednesday (Oct. 8), poking fun at the fact that they didn’t play in the NFL and also saying, “Guys were excited that they fought.”
Judging whether the Redskins’ locker room was too loud or happy after a loss is pointless for a number of reasons. But the comments from Orakpo and Clark suggesting that just competing with the Seahawks was a positive come across as loser talk. The goal is to win. As Pat Riley famously said, “There is winning, and there is misery.” That’s obviously an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
10. Miscellaneous notes:
Neither team committed a turnover.
Garcon had just two receptions on three targets. 21 of his 26 receptions this season have come in two games: the Week 1 loss at Houston and the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia.
Inactives for the Redskins were:
• Griffin for a third straight game due to the dislocated left ankle he suffered in the Week 2 blowout of Jacksonville
• tight end Jordan Reed for a fourth straight game due to the hamstring injury he suffered in the Week 1 loss at Houston
• corner Tracy Porter, who re-injured his hamstring in the Week 4 blowout loss to the Giants off missing the first three games of the season
• receiver Santana Moss for a fifth straight game
• corner Richard Crawford, who was re-signed by the Redskins on Sept. 29 off being released from the practice squad on Sept. 9. Crawford was waived on Wednesday (Oct. 8).
• safety Trenton Robinson
• rookie guard Spencer Long
The Redskins also played this game without:
• corner DeAngelo Hall, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 22 due to a torn left Achilles injury suffered in the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia
• nose tackle Barry Cofield, who was placed on the reserve/injured list (designated to return) on Sept. 9 due to a high-ankle sprain suffered in the Week 1 loss at Houston
• safety Duke Ihenacho, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 22 due to a fractured heal bone suffered in the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia
• defensive end Stephen Bowen, who was placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list on Aug. 30 due to microfracture surgery on his right knee last Dec. 3
• receiver Leonard Hankerson, who was placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list on Aug. 30 due to season-ending surgery to repair ACL and LCL tears in his left knee last Nov. 21
• nose tackle Chris Neild, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Aug. 30 due to a torn right ACL suffered in the preseason-ending win at Tampa Bay on Aug. 28