The Seahawks have met Washington in the playoffs twice and won both, 20-10 in 2006 and 35-14 in 2008, in what became Joe Gibbs’ last game as Redskins coach.
GAME: Seattle Seahawks (11-5, 2nd, NFC West) at Washington Redskins (10-6-0, 1st NFC East). TYPE: NFC wild card playoff. WEEK: 18. WHEN: Sunday, 1:30 p.m., FedEx Field, Washington, D.C. MEETING: 18th (Redskins lead 11-4 regular season; Seahawks lead 2-0 playoffs). STREAKS: Seahawks W 5; Redskins W 7. HEAD COACHES: Pete Carroll, Seattle; Mike Shanahan, Washington. LINE: Seahawks by 3. TV: FOX. RADIO: ESPN 710 AM, KIRO 97.3 FM.
Since the wild card system began in 1970, only 10 such teams have advanced to the Super Bowl. Of those, six won pro football’s biggest prize. And of those, only four — 1985 New England Patriots, 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2007 New York Giants, and 2010 Green Bay Packers — won three games on the road to make it to the Super Bowl.
That’s what the Seattle Seahawks, who haven’t won a road playoff game in 30 years (1983), will have to do to reachSuper Bowl XLVII Feb. 3 at the Superdome in New Orleans. First task: Beat the Redskins in a game that will feature just the second pairing of rookie quarterbacks in NFL playoff history.
Last year, Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton and Houston’s T.J. Yates jousted in a match-up not nearly as anticipated as Robert Griffin III vs. Russell Wilson, both of whom have electrified their respective cities. Behind Griffin, the Redskins (10-6) have won seven in a row. Led by Wilson, the Seahawks (11-5) have won five straight.
Griffin’s 102.4 passer rating is the highest in history by a rookie, Wilson’s 100.0 is the second highest. Wilson matched Peyton Manning’s rookie record by throwing 26 touchdown passes. Griffin tossed 20 and only five interceptions to Wilson’s 10. RG3 threw for 3,200 yards, Wilson just 82 fewer, 3,118.
“I really like Russell, he’s really got a lot of the intangibles you look for in a quarterback,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said this week. “He makes plays with his legs as well as his arm. I just like the way he handles himself and the way he plays.”
“He’s the real deal,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of RG3. “He’s a fantastic football player and they built the team around him. When he’s on, he’s as good as you get. He’s extremely fast. He’s got a stride that is longer than most, and he’s very deceptive. You see him turn the corner and you think he is going to make no yards, and he turns up and gets eight or ten or 15 yards. He runs out of tackles just with sure speed.
“He’s a major threat to go a long way with the ball. I don’t know anyone more dynamic than Cam Newton because he can run inside. Michael Vick was extraordinarily fast, and he might’ve looked quicker, but I don’t know anybody faster than Griffin.”
While Wilson is aided by Marshawn Lynch, the NFL’s No. 3 rusher (1,590 yards), Griffin has the league’s No. 2 rusher behind him. Alfred Morris, a sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic last April, ran for 1,613 yards, had seven 100-yard games (Lynch had 10) and finished it off with a 200-yard, 3-TD effort against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday.
“Here’s a guy that was on a football team that didn’t have a great record but you could see some runs — some four, five yard runs — that we knew were special at the time,” said Shanahan. “He had what we looked for in a running back in that zone read and we thought it would fit good within in our system. He’s been excellent since the day he walked in here.”
“I think one of the surprise players of the year would have to be Alfred Morris,” said Carroll. “To have the big year that he’s had, he’s legit. He’s very much like the running backs Mike has had all of those years in Denver (Terrell Davis, Clinton Portis). Guys didn’t know about him, and the guy rose to the occasion, and became a great player. He’s a guy that got 1,600 yards and had a phenomenal season. We’re up against a really talented football team.”
While both teams rely heavily on the run — Washington finished No. 1 in the NFL at 169.3 yards per game, Seattle No. 3 at 161.2 — the Seahawks have the statistical edge on defense. The Seahawks allowed an average of 321.6 yards to rank No. 4 while Washington yielded 390.8 to rank No. 28. While the Redskins ranked No. 5 against the run, they ranked 30th against the pass. The Seahawks ranked No. 6.
Since Week 5, Wilson has posted a 109.1 passer rating, second in the league to Aaron Rodgers’ 112.9. Over the same span, Griffin had a rating of 102.0.
The Seahawks and Redskins played four common opponents: St. Louis, Minnesota, Carolina and Dallas. Washington went 3-2 against the four, averaging 27.2 points while yielding an average of 25.4. Seattle went 4-1 against the four, averaging 21.2 points while yielding an average of 15.9.
“I think the obvious similarities are the young quarterbacks and the commitment to the running game,” said Carroll. “Mike Shanahan has won a lot of championships and a lot of playoff games. I’m trying to catch up.
This marks the seventh time in the last 10 seasons that Seattle has qualified for
the postseason. Seattle is 8-11 all-time in the playoffs — 7-2 at home, 1-8 on the road and 0-1 in the Super Bowl. The Seahawks have dropped eight straight postseason road games (nine if you count Super Bowl XL) since defeating the Miami Dolphins, 27-20, in the AFC divisional playoff Dec. 31, 1983.
SERIES: Dates to Sept. 19, 1976, when the expansion Seahawks fell to the Redskins 31-7 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., in which Mike Thomas scored two touchdowns for the Redskins. Don Testerman scored Seattle’s only TD on a one-yard run. The Seahawks have dropped six in a row to the Redskins in regular-season play, but Seattle has won the only two playoff meetings, 20-10 in a divisional playoff Jan. 14, 2006, and 35-14 Jan. 5, 2008.
LAST MEETING: Redskins 23, Seahawks 17, Nov. 27, 2011) — Rex
Grossman threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Armstrong as the Redskins rallied from a 17-14 deficit. A 25-yard Graham Gano field goal provided the Redskins with their final margin. Tarvaris Jackson threw two touchdown passes for Seattle, 20 yards to Marshawn Lynch and 15 yards to Golden Tate. Lynch ran for 111 yards on 24 carries.
Seahawks: 11-5, 2nd, NFC West; scored 412 points (25.8 per game), ranking 9th; allowed 245 points (15.3 per game), 1st; differential of +167 points ranks 3rd. Redskins: 10-6, 1st, NFC East; scored 436 points (27.2), ranked 4th; allowed 388 (24.2), 22nd; differential of +48 points ranks 12th.
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll (57-54 career, 24-23 Seattle) is in his third season. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven Pac-10 titles.
SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACKS: Russell Wilson at Arizona — 18 of 34 for 153 yards, 1 TD, one INT, 62.5 passer rating; vs. Dallas — 15 of 20, 151 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 112.7 rating; vs. Green Bay — 10 of 21 for 130 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 99.3 passer rating; at St. Louis — 17 of 25, 160 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 45.8 passer rating; at Carolina — 19 of 25, 221 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 82.2 passer rating; vs. New England, 16 of 27, 293 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 133.7 passer rating; at San Francisco, 9 of 23, 122 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 38.7 passer rating; at Detroit, 25 of 35 for 236 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 96.8 passer rating; vs. Minnesota, 16 of 24, 173 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 127.3 passer rating; vs. New York Jets, 12 of 19, 188 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 131.0 passer rating; at Miami, 21 of 27, 224 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 125.9 passer rating; at Chicago, 23 of 37, 293 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 104.9 passer rating; vs. Arizona, 7 of 13, 148 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 88.0 passer rating; at Buffalo (Toronto), 14 of 23, 205 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 104.4 passer rating; vs. San Francisco, 15 of 21, 177 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 115.3 passer rating; vs. St. Louis, 15 of 19, 250 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 136.3 passer rating. Matt Flynn — vs. Arizona, 5 of 9, 68 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 79.9 passer rating; at Buffalo (Toronto), no statistics; vs. San Francisco, no statistics.
SEAHAWKS STATS / NOTES
TEAM OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
|Total Yards||5610||17||Total Yards||6131||5|
|Yards / Game||350.6||17||Yards / Game||383.2||5|
|Rush Yards||2579||3||Rush Yards||2709||1|
|Rush / Game||161.2||3||Rush / Game||169.3||1|
|Pass Yards||3031||27||Pass Yards||3422||20|
|Pass / Game||189.4||27||Pass / Game||213.9||20|
|Points / Game||25.8||9||Points / Game||27.3||4|
TEAM DEFENSIVE RANKINGS
|Total Yards||4899||4||Total Yards||6043||28|
|Yards / Game||306.2||4||Yards / Game||377.7||28|
|Rush / Allw.||1649||10||Rush / Allw.||1532||5|
|Rush / Game||103.1||10||Rush / Game||95.8||5|
|Pass Allw.||3250||6||Pass Allw.||4511||30|
|Pass / Game||203.1||6||Pass / Game||281.9||30|
|Points Allw.||245||1||Points Allw.||388||22|
|Points / Game||15.3||1||Points / Game||24.3||22|
SEAHAWKS OFFENSIVE LEADERS
SEAHAWKS DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Wagner 140, Wright 96, Chancellor 91|
|Sacks||Clemons 11.5, Irvin 8.0, Mebane, 3.0|
|Quarterback Hits||Clemons 22, Irvin 19, Wagner 7|
|Interceptions||Sherman 8, Browner 3, Wagner 3|
|Passes Defensed||Sherman 24, Thomas 9, Browner 6|
|Forced Fumbles||Browner 3, Clemons 3|
|Fumbles Recovered||Eight tied with one each|
REDSKINS NOTES: Washington defeated New Orleans (40-32), Tampa Bay (24-22), Minnesota (38-26), Philadelphia (31-6, 27-20), Dallas (38-31, 28-18), New York Giants (17-16), Baltimore (31-28) and Cleveland (38-21), and lost to St. Louis (31-28), Cincinnati (38-31), Atlanta (24-17), New York Giants (27-23), Pittsburgh (27-12) and Carolina (21-13).
REDSKINS QUARTERBACKS: Robert Griffin III completed 258 of 393 passes (65.6 percent) for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions for a passer rating of 102.4, best in history by a rookie. He exceeded 300 passing yards in a game twice — at New Orleans (Sept. 9), at Tampa (Sept. 30) and twice threw four touchdowns in a game, most recently at Dallas Nov. 22. Griffin is coming off a 100-yard, 0 TD effort against Dallas Dec. 30.
REDSKINS HEAD COACH: Mike Shanahan is in his third year as head coach of the Redskins. After winning just 12 games combined in his first two seasons, the Redskins went 10-6 this year and won the NFC East. Prior to joining the Redskins, Shanahan served as head coach of the Denver Broncos from 1995-08. He won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998.
KEY DATES: Jan. 12-13 — Divisional playoffs; Jan. 19-20 — Conference championships; Jan. 27 — Pro Bowl (Honolulu); Feb. 3 — Super Bowl, New Orleans. Feb. 20-26 — NFL combine (Indianapolis); April 25-27 — NFL draft.
NFC West Standings
|S. Francisco||11-4-1||3-2-1||First-round bye|
|Seattle||11-5||3-3||Sunday at Washington|
|St. Louis||7-8-1||4-0-2||Season complete|
COMING UP: With a win, tSeahawks will advance to the divisional playoffs.
2012 Seahawks Preseason Schedule
|8/11/12||vs. Tennessee||7 p.m.||Q13||W||27-17||1-0|
|8/18/12||at Denver||6 p.m.||Q13||W||30-10||2-0|
|8/24/12||at Kansas City||5 p.m.||Q13||W||44-14||3-0|
|8/30/12||vs. Oakland||7 p.m.||Q13||W||21-3||4-0|
2012 Seahawks Regular-Season Schedule
|9/9/12||at Arizona||1:25 p.m.||FOX||L||20-16||0-1|
|9/16/12||vs. Dallas||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||27-7||1-1|
|9/24/12||vs. Green Bay||5:30 p.m.||ESPN||W||14-12||2-1|
|9/30/12||at St. Louis||10 a.m.||FOX||L||19-13||2-2|
|10/7/12||at Carolina||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||16-12||3-2|
|10/14/12||vs. N. England||1:05 p.m.||CBS||W||24-23||4-2|
|10/18/12||at S. Francisco||5:20 p.m.||NFLN||L||13-6||4-3|
|10/28/12||at Detroit||10 a.m.||FOX||L||28-24||4-4|
|11/4/12||vs. Minnesota||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||30-20||5-4|
|11/11/11||vs. NY Jets||1:05 p.m.||CBS||W||28-7||6-4|
|11/25/12||at Miami||10 a.m.||FOX||L||24-21||6-5|
|12/2/12||at Chicago||10 a.m.||FOX||W||23-17||7-5|
|12/9/12||vs. Arizona||1:15 p.m.||FOX||W||58-0||8-5|
|12/16/12||*at Buffalo||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||50-17||9-5|
|12/23/12||vs. San Francisco||5:20 p.m.||NBC||W||42-13||10-5|
|12/30/12||vs. St. Louis||1:15 p.m.||FOX||W||20-13||11-5|
* in Toronto
2012 Seahawks Capsules
Aug. 11 Seahawks 27, Titans 17 (at Seattle) — Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson ran for a touchdown and passed for one, leading the Seahawks over a Tennessee Titans team featuring two quarterbacks with strong local ties, ex-Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck and ex-Husky Jake Locker. Hasselbeck threw two interceptions while Locker completed 7 of 13 for 80 yards.
Aug. 18: Seahawks 30, Broncos 10 (at Denver) — Starting his second straight exhibition game, QB Matt Flynn failed to seize control of the quarterback job, finishing 6 of 13 for 31 yards with no TDs or INTs. But Wilson made a case for himself by completing 10 of 17 for 155 yards, two TDs and a passer rating of 28.5. The Seahawks finished with 228 yards rushing, led by Sutton’s 48 yards on three carries.
Aug. 24: Seahawks 44, Chiefs 14 (at Kansas City) — Wilson completed 10 of 17 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. With Wilson playing into the second half, Seattle scored 21 points, overcoming a 10-9 halftime deficit. Earl Thomas made the big defensive play, returning an interception 75 yards for a touchdown. Flynn did not play due to injury.
Aug. 30: Seahawks 21, Raiders 3 (at Seattle): Flynn, getting most of the snaps, completed 11 of 13 passes for 102 yards. Seahawks outgained the Raiders 334 yards to 101.
Sept. 8: Cardinals 20, Seahawks 16 (at Phoenix): Despite seven tries inside Arizona’s red zone in final minute, the Seahawks could not score the game-winning touchdown. The Seahawks overcame a tepid first half offensively thanks to an 83-yard kickoff return and a 52-yard punt return by Leon Washington.
Sept. 15: Seahawks 27, Cowboys 7 (at Seattle): The Seahawks took a 10-0 lead in less than five minutes when Michael Robinson forced Felix Jones to fumble the opening kickoff, leading to a short field goal, and Malcolm Smith blocked Chris Jones’ punt and Jeron Johnson returned it for a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards and the defense allowed the Cowboys only 34 yards and three first downs in the second half.
Sept. 24: Seahawks 14, Packers 12 (at Seattle): Russell Wilson and Golden Tate hooked up on a wildly controversial 24-yard touchdown pass as the clock ran out, giving the Seahawks a dramatic victory. As Wilson’s pass reached the end zone, Tate committed a pushing penalty that wasn’t called. Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings intercepted the ball and Tate tried to wrestle it away. One official ruled no touchdown, another signaled TD. After review, Tate was awarded the touchdown. The Seahawks had eight sacks in the first half, a record-tying four by Chris Clemons.
Sept. 30: Rams 19, Seahawks 13 (at St. Louis): Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein booted four field goals, including a club-record 58-yarder which he later topped with a 60-yarder, as the Rams handed Seattle its second NFC West loss. Zuerlein also was a perfect decoy on the biggest play of the day — a fake field goal that turned into a two-yard touchdown pass from punter Johnny Hekker to Danny Amendola. The score put the Rams (2-2) ahead 10-7 late in the first half. Marshawn Lynch ran for 118 yards and a touchdown, but Russell Wilson threw three interceptions.
Oct. 7: Seahawks 16, Panthers 12: (at Charlotte): The Seahawks used a series of big defensive plays, the best pass of Russell Wilson’s NFL career, and a planned safety in the final minute to edge Carolina. Cornerback Brandon Browner made two of the three biggest defensive stops. With Carolina at the Seattle 27-yard line in the third quarter, Browner stripped the ball from DeAngelo Williams, giving the Seahawks a chance to take the lead after they had fallen behind 10-6 on Wilson’s worst pass of the season. Less than three minutes into the second half, Wilson threw behind intended receiver Anthony McCoy, and Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn snatched the ball and raced 33 yards for a touchdown that put the Panthers ahead 10-6. But after Browner stripped Williams. Wilson, on a third-and-eight from the Carolina 13, rocketed a slant pass to Golden Tate for a touchdown.
Oct. 14: Seahawks 24, Patriots 23: Russell Wilson threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice with 1:18 to play to give the Seahawks a come-from-behind victory. The Seahawks trailed 23-10 in the second half, but Wilson fired touchdown passes to Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards before finding Rice with the game-winning throw.
Oct. 18: 49ers 13, Seahawks 6: Alex Smith threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Delanie Walker late in the third quarter and San Francisco held off the Seahawks in a battle for first place in the NFC West. Frank Gore ran for 131 yards. The 49ers made just enough plays to win a defense-first game. Marshawn Lynch ran for 103 yards for Seattle, but Russell Wilson couldn’t generate a passing game, going 9 of 23 for 122 yards and a passer rating of 38.7.
Oct. 28: Lions 28, Seahawks 24: Titus Young caught his second touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford on a one-yard slant with 20 seconds left, lifting Detroit. Young needed to make the second TD catch after Zach Miller had a spectacular, 16-yard snag on a toss from Russell Wilson with 5:27 left that put the Seahawks ahead. But Seattle (4-4) couldn’t stop the Lions (3-4) on their last possession.
Nov. 4: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20: Lynch ran for 124 yards and a touchdown, Wilson threw three first-half touchdown passes, and the Seahawks overcame 182 yards by Adrian Peterson to snap a two-game losing streak. Peterson tore through the Seahawks defense for one of the finest games of his career, yet was stuck being a spectator as Seattle slowly pulled away in the fourth quarter, mostly on the legs of Lynch, with a few key passes by Wilson.
Nov. 11: Seahawks 28, N.J. Jets 7: Wilson threw two touchdowns to Sidney Rice, and Lynch ran for 124 yards and a touchdown as the Seahawks overwhelmed the Jets at CenturyLink Field. Rice also threw the first pass of his NFL career, completing a 23-yard touchdown to Golden Tate.
Nov. 25: Dolphins 24, Seahawks 21: Dan Carpenter hit a 43-yard field goal at the final gun after Ryan Tannehill led a 65-yard, six-play drive, and the Dolphins rallied to beat the Seahawks at SunLife Stadium. Miami scored 17 points in the final 8:08 after the Seahawks took the lead on a 98-yard kickoff return by Leon Washington. The eighth KOR TD of Washington’s career tied the league record. Russell Wilson completed 21 of 27, including 16 in a row, for 224 yards, two TDs and a passer rating of 125.9.
Dec. 2: Seahawks 23, Bears 18 (OT): Wilson engineered scoring drives of 97 and 80 yards at the end of regulation and in overtime, finishing off with touchdown passes to Golden Tate and Sidney Rice, giving the Seahawks their third consecutive win at Soldier Field and just their second victory of the season on the road. After Wilson led the Seahawks on a 12-play, 97-yard drive that ended with a 14-yard TD pass to Tate, the Bears tied the score at 17-17 with 24 seconds to play on a Robbie Gould field goal. The Seahawks won the OT coin flip and Wilson directed an 80-yard, 12-play drive that ended with a 13-yard TD to Rice.
Dec. 9: Seahawks 58, Cardinals 0: Lynch ran for three touchdowns and the Seahawks intercepted four passes and recovered four fumbles en route to the fourth-largest shutout victory in NFL history. The Seahawks scored five ways against the Cardinals, including run, pass, interception return, fumbled punt return and field goal. Seattle’s previous largest shutout win was 45-0 over Kansas City in the Kingdome Nov. 4, 1984.
Dec. 16: Seahawks 50, Bills 17: Wilson set a franchise record by rushing for three touchdowns in leading the Seahawks to another historic win. The Seahawks became the first team since the 1950 Rams and Giants to score 50 or more points in consecutive games. Wilson scored on runs of 14, 25 and 13 yards, all in the first half. He also threw a touchdown pass to Zach Miller as the Seahawks rolled to a 31-7 lead and cruised at Rogers Center in Toronto.
Dec. 23: Seahawks 42, 49ers 13: Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes, two to Doug Baldwin, and Richard Sherman returned a blocked field goal 90 yards to a touchdown as the Seahawks overwhelmed the division-leading 49ers to clinch their first playoff spot since 2010. The Seahawks, who also received a rushing and receiving touchdown from Lynch, rolled to a 31-3 lead.
Dec. 30: Seahawks 20, Rams 13: Russell Wilson tied Peyton Manning’s record for most touchdown passes by a rookie with 26, and his 1-yard TD run with 1:39 left gave Seattle the win and an 8-0 home mark for just the third time in franchise history (also 2003 and 2005). The Seahawks won seven of eight and five in a row to close out the regular season and finished with the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL. St. Louis sacked Wilson six times, three by Chris Long, but Wilson threw a second-half TD pass to Michael Robinson and scored himself to spark the victory. Wilson finished the game with a 136.3 passr rating.