Seahawks-Redskins News & Notes

If the Seattle Seahawks were facing any team besides Washington in their first-round playoff game, they would likely be significant favorites because of the home-field advantage they have built at Qwest Field.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

They were 7-1 at home this season, and they outscored opponents there by an average of 16.7 points in those victories. They have won four straight playoff games at Qwest, including a 20-10 victory over Washington in 2005.

But the Seahawks' advantage has been offset by a Washington team that has won four straight games after rallying around the death of teammate Sean Taylor five weeks ago.

"They have that on their side," Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu said. "They are a tough team to begin with, now they are playing even harder because they are playing for Sean."
The Seahawks, however, say they are equally motivated.

"I'm sure they are playing for a lot of reasons, Sean being one of them," free safety Brian Russell said. "Our whole regular season was to get to the playoffs so we have just as much motivation. We are going to play our best football. If you think you are going to get an easy team in the playoffs, you are crazy. We are playing a team that is really good and is on a roll, so it will take our A game to get it done."

Qwest is notorious for its crowd noise, causing teams to false start more than any other team in the league since 2004. The Redskins had difficulty with that in their visit two years ago, and they anticipate it being a factor on Saturday.

Safety Deon Grant said that the Seahawks have to worry about themselves; they can't allow the Sean Taylor subplot to affect the way they prepare for the game.

"You don't fight against it," Grant said. "You just play football. You play football against the Washington Redskins. You don't play against all that (other stuff). When you try to play against all those emotions and all that, it doesn't work.

"This is called football, where you go out and play a football game. You study them like you study Carolina and you study Atlanta and you study Pittsburgh and any other teams you are playing. You don't look at what they are riding on because that is not your business. You don't know what they are going through. So you look at them as Gibbs coaching a good offense and a good defense and a good special teams and you have to make sure you bring your A-plus game and that is how you defeat a team like that."

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Matt Hasselbeck, who injured his right wrist on Sunday, went through a full practice on Tuesday and will play on Saturday.
--RB Shaun Alexander, who banged up his ribs on Sunday, is expected to play on Saturday.
--WR D.J. Hackett, who played for the first time in three weeks last Sunday because of a high ankle sprain, will play on Saturday.
--WR Deion Branch, who missed Saturday's game with a calf strain, is expected to play on Saturday, only the second time this season that both Hackett and Branch will have played together.
--DT Rocky Bernard, who missed the past two games with a groin injury, is expected to play on Saturday.
--LB Niko Koutouvides, who missed Sunday's game with a knee injury, is questionable for Saturday's game. He is the special teams captain and the leading special teams tackler.
--DE Baraka Atkins, a rookie, was placed on injured reserve after injuring his ankle in Sunday's loss.
--WR Logan Payne was signed from the practice squad to take the roster spot of Atkins.
--DT Kelly Talavou was signed to the practice squad. He was a free agent.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Two years ago, Washington traveled to Seattle for a playoff game, riding a five-game winning streak. If rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers hadn't dropped an interception for a sure touchdown, the underdog
Redskins would have led 10-0 midway through the second quarter with Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander, the NFL's MVP, done for the day with a concussion.

So while the Redskins lost that day, 20-10, the 23 players left from that team retain the confidence from having been close to having the eventual NFC champs -- whom they had beaten 20-17 at home in October -- on the ropes.

"It would've been a different game," said defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, one of 10 remaining starters.

And the Redskins believe there will be a different result this time, although their rise from the ashes to the playoffs is similar. Washington won its final five games to grab a playoff berth in 2005 and then won a wild card game at Tampa Bay despite 120 yards of offense, a record low for a postseason victor.

"We feel like we're going with a better team and a team that can win," said running back Clinton Portis, who was stymied in that game two years ago because the Seahawks didn't have to worry about the Redskins passing game that had shrunk with ailing quarterback Mark Brunell struggling and two of his top three wideouts hurt.

Now, 10-year benchwarmer Todd Collins has been on fire with a 106.4 passer rating since relieving the injured Jason Campbell four games ago. Collins' unanticipated brilliance has opened things up for Portis and put less pressure on the defense. Washington has averaged 344 yards during the consecutive victories over 2006 NFC champion Chicago, the wild card New York Giants, Minnesota and NFC East champion Dallas, outscoring them 105-53.

"We're playing better as a team," Griffin said. "The offense is doing a great job of moving the ball and scoring points. We're doing a good job of getting off the field. In all four of these wins, it's been offense, defense and special teams. We've come together."

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Todd Collins finished his 3.5 games as the starter with a terrific 106.4 rating with five touchdowns and no interceptions.
--RB Clinton Portis had his fifth 1,200-yard season in his five full seasons and set career-highs of 47 passes and 389 yards.
--TE Chris Cooley's 66 catches moved him past Rod Gardner into 11th place on Washington's all-time list with 231.
--WR Antwaan Randle El set career-highs with 51 catches and 728 yards.
--WR Santana Moss' 808 receiving yards made him the 11th Redskin to total 3,000 with Washington.
--S LaRon Landry was the first Redskin to start all 16 games on defense since CB Champ Bailey in 1999.
--DE Chris Wilson had two sacks against Dallas, equaling his total of the first 15 games.
--CB Shawn Springs had four interceptions in the final four games after having just two in the previous 2 1/2 years.
--K Shaun Suisham's 29 field goals were the most by a Redskin since Chip Lohmiller kicked 30 in 1992.
--KR Rock Cartwright's 25.8-yard average was Washington's second-best since Mike Nelms led the NFC with a 29.7-yard average in 1981.


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