Win matters, not style

The win wasn't stylish and few would leave impressed with what they saw from the Redskins. Not that it matters. Washington got a win and, in November, that's all that matters. Even if one of those who left unimpressed after the 14-3 win at Seattle was Washington coach Steve Spurrier.

He appeared deflated and almost dejected because the Redskins' passing offense stumbled.

But we remember too many games where the Redskins played such a game and lost. Yes, they must play better to beat better teams. But they were also playing minus their best offensive player in running back Stephen Davis, capable of spitting out 150 yards against Seattle's porous run defense.

Yet Kenny Watson played a solid game, rushing for 110 yards in his first start at running back. And rookie Ladell Betts even chipped in 37 yards on five carries.

And the defense played about the same game as the offense. They struggled at times, but when they were needed most, they came through. So, too, did the Redskins. Spurrier must remember that style only counts in college with the BCS. In the NFL, they only ask if you won. Not how.

Offensive player of the game: Running back Kenny Watson. It wasn't just his long runs that were impressive--though we loved his 23-yard run in which he broke a couple tackles, maintained his balance and moved forward. Such runs aren't flukes. But we liked his short yardage stuff even more. Watson had three carries on third and one and another on second and one. He converted each run. Watson, incidentally, will join us for a chat at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday night.

Special nod to: The offensive line. They weren't spectacular, but they were effective on the ground, opening holes for Watson and Ladell Betts. OK, it came against the worst run defense, but they did what they were supposed to.

Defensive player of the game: Bruce Smith. He looked every bit his age earlier this season, barely causing a ripple. But the Redskins have rotated him more with Ladairis Jackson, keeping Smith fresh. Smith beat a Pro Bowl tackle in Walter Jones for two sacks and neither was a cheap one. He had a sack on a fourth and goal and another that caused a fumble. Seattle attacked Smith on the ground with some success, but Smith's big plays overrode any bad ones.

Special nod to: Tackle Daryl Gardener. Seems like his name comes up every week, but he deserves any mention he gets. He and Smith are starting to feel comfortable next to one another and it shows. Their timing on stunts is better and Smith is taking advantage of double teams by Gardener. What we like is how Gardener beats double teams. At times Sunday he didn't make the tackle, but his penetration caused the ballcarrier to run wider than he'd like. And that led to plays for teammates.

Did you notice: When Bryan Johnson would line up in the slot, then be used as a pulling blocker the other way? Johnson did this at least twice and responded with big blocks each time . . . Linebacker Lemar Marshall got in the game, playing one snap at right end and another in coverage . . . rookie Rashad Bauman played a few snaps in dime coverage. Bauman, though, made his mark on special teams with three outstanding plays: a hit in kick coverage, a punt downed at the 1 and a tackle on a punt return.

About time: Punt returner Jacquez Green finally just ran forward on a runback. He says he's going for a touchdown every time, but his sideline-to-sideline runs haven't produced much of anything. His best returns this season have come when he ran straight ahead, as he did Sunday for a 15-yard gain.

Big hit: Redskins safety Sam Shade played just one snap from scrimmage, but he made it a good one, blitzing and causing a fumble on a sack. Shade deserves praise for the play--and for the way he's handled losing his starting job.

Best comment: As left tackle Chris Samuels headed to the locker room, waving to some Redskins fans in the crowd, a disgruntled Seahawks fan shouted at him: ''You didn't do anything!'' To which Samuels said, ''We got the victory!''


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