Panthers and Seahawks midweek notes

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--RB DeShaun Foster is out for the season with a broken ankle. He took a handoff from Jake Delhomme and ran around the left side, but his right leg got twisted awkwardly as Hunter Hillenmeyer dragged him down from the side and the defensive lineman's bodyweight landed on Foster's leg. Foster immediately grabbed for his leg and he lay on the field. He was helped off the field by trainers and then taken to the locker room on a cart. "The leg got caught up underneath me," Foster said. "I heard it pop, so I knew right away (it was broken)."

--RB Nick Goings, who carried just 37 times this season, will start at running back for the Panthers.

--RB Jamal Robertson will be Carolina's backup running back and will see carries. Robertson has mostly been returning kicks for Carolina this season.

--WR Steve Smith caught 12 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday and also ran for 26 yards. The receptions and yards were both franchise records in a playoff game.

--DE Julius Peppers left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return. However, he said he will play next week against Seattle. Peppers injured himself while saving a touchdown.

--LB Dan Morgan re-injured his shoulder, but did return to the game.

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Running back Shaun Alexander put up huge numbers during the regular season, but there was a school of thought that said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was the team's MVP. Debating the matter makes less sense than acknowledging the importance of a playmaking quarterback come playoff time.

Hasselbeck makes the Seattle offense go and that will be the case again when the NFC Championship Game comes to Qwest Field next Sunday. The Redskins can attest to that after watching Hasselbeck beat them with a 29-yard touchdown pass and a 6-yard touchdown run, both after Seattle lost Alexander to a first-quarter concussion.

"We thought we could get it down to where it was one-dimensional --just Hasselbeck and the passing game," Redskins safety Ryan Clark said. "My hat goes off to No. 8 (Hasselbeck). I think he played a phenomenal game and single-handedly he worked to beat us."

Hasselbeck's passer rating has topped 100 in five consecutive games. He has 13 touchdown passes and two interceptions in his last 23 quarters. There wasn't a better quarterback in the NFC this season, giving Seattle an edge over its conference rivals.

The Seahawks expect Alexander to return for the championship game. Opponents are sure to focus on stopping Seattle's ground game because Alexander was the league MVP and an 1,880-yard rusher.

Hasselbeck has shown he can make teams pay for that approach. His former mentor, Trent Dilfer, attended the Seahawks-Redskins game as a television analyst and came away most impressed by the audible Hasselbeck called late in the game. Facing an all-out blitz on third-and-6, Hasselbeck changed the play from pass to run. The Redskins were stunned to see fullback Mack Strong gash them for 32 yards, a run that moved Seattle into position to kick the clinching field goal.

"Washington did not pressure nearly as much as they expected going in, but it was typical Matt," Dilfer said. "He was patient all day long. He waits for the biggest moment of the game and makes the biggest audible of his career."

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The Seahawks lost the turnover battle and lost their MVP running back, but they still doubled up the Redskins, 20-10, in their divisional-round playoff game at rain-soaked Qwest Field.

Running back Shaun Alexander fumbled away a promising Seattle possession to open the game, and he left for good after suffering a first-quarter concussion. Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington danced and taunted the crowd while doctors tended to Alexander on the field, but Washington never got closer than a touchdown after Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck scored on a 6-yard scramble in the third quarter.

Hasselbeck stepped up admirably after Alexander departed. He did not play flawlessly, but his playmaking over ground and air allowed the Seahawks to covert 7-of-14 chances on third down. The Redskins were only 5-of-19 on third down, a far cry from their 13-of-18 showing during an Oct. 2 victory over Seattle.

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--RB Shaun Alexander is expected to play in the NFC title game after suffering a concussion Saturday. The Redskins shut down Alexander early in the game and knocked him out after the league MVP gained only nine yards on six carries.

--QB Matt Hasselbeck carried the load for Seattle before and after RB Shaun Alexander left the game with a concussion. Hasselbeck's passer rating topped 100 for the fifth consecutive game. His success served as a reminder that Seattle sets up its ground game with the pass.

--WR Darrell Jackson has become a prime-time performer in the playoffs. After setting a franchise playoff record with 12 catches in a wild-card game a year ago, Jackson burned the Redskins' secondary with nine catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. Jackson made tough catches and held onto a deep pass despite absorbing a huge hit from Redskins FS Sean Taylor. Jackson also overcame a hard shot to the back that knocked him out of the game briefly.

--CB Andre Dyson left the game Saturday with an ankle injury, but he returned and nearly broke up a touchdown pass. Dyson hit the ball with his shoulder but Redskins WR Santana Moss caught the ball on the rebound. The play gave Washington its only touchdown of the game.

--LT Walter Jones left the game briefly with injured ribs. He returned and kept Redskins DE Philip Daniels from getting a sack.

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