Matt Hasselbeck was 12-of-24 for a measly 104 yards, and while he did throw a pair of touchdowns, a pair of interceptions came with it. Hasselbeck would finish the day with a passer rating of 54.7. Hasselbeck was off-target early, overthrowing Deion Branch on a 3rd down pass on the first drive and overthrowing a wide open Bobby Engram on what would've been a touchdown in the 1st quarter. Hasselbeck also lost J.C. Pearson's "chess match", as the Redskins knew that by putting a pair of linebackers in the "A" gap, they could force Hasselbeck to audible or burn a timeout. For as bad as Hasselbeck was, he didn't have much help on Sunday. Koren Robinson and Deion Branch both dropped passes, and for much of the day, Seattle receivers failed to get open.
Running Back: B+
Maurice Morris was the team's offensive star, running for 103 yards on 14 carries and yes, leading the team with 3 receptions, including a 4-yard touchdown late in the 1st half. Julius Jones played sporadically, gaining 21 yards on a pair of carries. T.J. Duckett converted a key 3rd-and-1 on the Seahawks final scoring drive. Fullback Leonard Weaver returned to the lineup and caught a pair of passes.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: D
Bobby Engram, Deion Branch and John Carlson made nice plays on the Seahawks' final scoring drive. Unfortunately, this group failed to produce many plays on Sunday. Koren Robinson had an especially poor day. Robinson had an opportunity to make a big play early, but didn't fight for the ball and Shawn Springs was able to break it up. Robinson also dropped a pass on a play where the defensive back slipped and fell. It was a play where Robinson could've had a long gain, and it was costly, as Hasselbeck would be intercepted on the very next play. Robinson's drops may have lead to some in-game punishment, as he was replaced by Courtney Taylor for much of the 3rd and 4th quarter. Robinson didn't appear to return to the field until the final drive, on which Robinson appeared to go in a direction Hasselbeck wasn't expecting him to go in.
Branch and Engram made nice plays in the 4th quarter, but they were shut out in the 1st half and would combine for just 3 catches and 45 yards. Carlson had 2 catches for 14 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown, and Taylor had 1 catch for 6 yards.
Offensive Line: B-
If you run for 139 yards against the Washington Redskins defense, you're doing something right. The offensive line did a good job of creating lanes for Morris and Jones, and did an adequate job of protecting Hasselbeck, who was sacked twice. The first sack was a result of an untouched blitzer, while the second one appeared to involve a breakdown up front. If you DVR'd this game, do yourself a favor and check out the block Walter Jones put on Andre Carter just after the two-minute warning. It's a screen pass to Leonard Weaver, and what Jones does to a very good defensive end is just another example of why he'll be enshrined in Canton someday.
Defensive Line: C
The Seahawks defensive line got good pressure on Jason Campbell early, but that would dissipate as the game worn. Julian Peterson was a busy guy, leading the team with 10 tackles, including a sack, and knocked down a pass, as well. I'm including him with the defensive line, because he spent most of the day and did much of his damage with one hand down. Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard had 9 tackles and Darryl Tapp had a sack and forced fumble. Backup defensive end Baraka Atkins recovered a Ladell Betts fumble late in the 4th quarter. However, the Redskins did run the ball for 187 yards, and in the second half, the defensive line was worn down and getting blown off the line of scrimmage.
We're really only talking about Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill here, as Peterson spent much of the afternoon as a defensive end. Tatupu had nine tackles and Hill added two. One negative play stood out on Sunday: With the Redskins facing a 3rd-and-15, and the Seahawks rushing three, Campbell was able to dump the ball off to Portis. With no Seahawks defender in sight, Portis was able to get the 16 yards needed to get the 1st down. Opponents completing the underneath routes and gaining yards on dumpoffs, has been a frequent occurrence this season.
Seattle's secondary wasn't great, but they weren't terrible, either. Two of the Redskins three biggest plays in the passing game came on screens (1 to Santana Moss, 1 to Chris Cooley) that were well-executed by the Redskins. Seahawks cornerback Kelly Jennings had three passes defended, but was flagged for a rather ticky-tack pass interference penalty on a 3rd down play that extended the Redskins first touchdown drive. Cornerback Josh Wilson was beaten on the touchdown pass to Antwaan Randle El and took a punch from Moss, which probably should've involved an ejection. Marcus Trufant played well, as the Redskins avoided throwing in his direction for much of the day. Seahawks safety Brian Russell had his obligatory whiff on a tackle, but made a very nice stop on Portis on a 3rd-and-1 play, and he did force the fumble that gave the Seahawks a chance at the end.
Special Teams: B-
Olindo Mare was 1-of-2 on field goal attempts, with the miss coming from 53 yards. Mare also had good depth on his kickoffs, putting two in the end zone and all four inside the Redskins' 5-yard line. Kick returner Josh Wilson once again came through with some electrifying returns, starting the 2nd half with a 55-yard return and breaking another 30-yard return later in the 3rd quarter. Punt returner Justin Forsett returned one punt for 10 yards, but let another ball hit the ground, nearly hitting a Seahawk that would've led to a costly fumble. Engram would replace Forsett on the only other Redskins punt of the day, which he fair caught. Seattle's kick coverage unit allowed Rock Cartwright to return three kicks for an average of 28 yards. Punter Jon Ryan had a net average of 43.3 yards, which was aided by a 59-yard punt that was downed at the 4-yard line by Jordan Babineaux. Courtney Taylor replaced Jordan Kent as the gunner, and made a nice tackle of Santana Moss on a punt return.
It's safe to say that nothing has gone right for Mike Holmgren this season. Overall, his play-calling today was good and Seattle was able to run the ball effectively. The execution in the passing game hindered the operation. One minor bone of contention I'd have is the team not getting John Carlson more involved in the offense. A tight end screen, something the Seahawks have run effectively this season and didn't run when Jim Zorn was in Seattle, may have made the Redskins re-think their blitzes. Defensively, Seattle made a miscue when they blitzed Hill and Tatupu, leaving the middle of the field wide open on Randle El's touchdown. Seattle erred in challenging whether or not Santana Moss stepped out of bounds, and I'm sure the special assistant in charge of replays heard about it.
Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for Seahawks.Net, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com) and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.