Career day: You can't say enough about the job linebacker Leroy Hill did in this contest. His 13 tackles — including 11 solo efforts — topped his previous career-best of 10 for a single game. He also registered a sack and a quarterback hit. Linebacker Julian Peterson matched his season-high tackles record with 10 on Saturday and was credited with a sack and four quarterback hits. And while defensive end Patrick Kerney get a sack, Redskins quarterback Todd Collins felt his presence up close and personal as Kerney posted four quarterback hits on the day.
Practically a no-show: A key element of the Redskins loss was the disappointing performance of running back Clinton Portis. He averaged 2.6 yards per carry while gaining 42 yards on 20 carries — after averaging 3.9 yards per carry during the regular season. And he didn't break a run longer than 13 yards to boot. It marked just the eleventh time in Portis' regular and postseason career that he failed to average at least 3.0 yards per run during a single game. But perhaps of biggest concern is that it was the fifth time this season that he was held below that threshold. Portis is scheduled to hit the Redskins' cap for $8.4 million in 2008, but he carries an even bigger cap hit of close to $9 million if the Redskins have any thoughts of releasing him. Even though that's not likely to happen this offseason, the six-year veteran better step up big during the 2008 campaign. He'll hit the team's cap for nearly $10 million dollars in 2009, but could be released with a cap hit of less than $6 million by then.
True to form: Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck completed 62.5 percent of his passes, his usual high-standard performance in the category as he finished the season at 62.6 percent. He finished the day 20-32 for 229 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. But Redskins quarterback Todd Collins wasn't as sharp. After posting a 69.2-percent completion rate during his spot duty during the season, he completed just 58 percent of his throws. Collins completed 29 of 50 attempts including two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Top receivers: Antwaan Randle El led Washington's receivers with 10 catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. But it was Seattle's D.J. Hackett who led all receivers for the day with a six-catch, 101-yard performance that also included a score. His 16.8 yards-per-catch average was significantly higher than his season average of 12.0 yards per reception.
Rookie LaRon Landry celebrates after one of his two interceptions against the Seahawks.
Otto Greule, Jr/Getty Images
Good timing: Rookie defensive back LaRon Landry didn't have an interception during the regular season, but came up big in the playoffs with two of them. He was also credited with two passes defensed and a special teams tackle.
Fast start, but then what? Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander averaged 4.7 yards per carry in the first half, rushing six times for 28 yards. But in the second half he ran nine more times for just 18 yards. His 46 yards at the end of the contest was less than his paltry season average of 55 yards per game. With a total 2007 cap hit of nearly $6.8 million, Seattle shelled out a lot of money for a player who has become a fairly ordinary back who had a 3.4 yards-per-carry average this year. He should consider giving back the $2 million roster bonus that he was paid earlier this year as a rebate. Alexander is due to be paid $4.47 million in 2008 and will hit the cap for nearly $6.8 million when you include his prorated bonus money that he's already pocketed. But don't expect Seattle to part ways with him — they would have to eat $6.9 million in cap money to do it. If they play out the 2008 portion of the deal, it drops to a more manageable $4.6 million cap hit. And with Alexander not due any more roster bonuses in his contract, Seattle's won't be forced to make any tough decisions by the start of the contract year.
Hand it over: The Redskins had the ball 17 times during the contest and failed to get a first down — or only moved the chains once — on 13 of those possessions. They converted just 22 percent of their third-downs during the game. Perhaps just as astonishing is the fact that Seattle had 35 points on the board at the end of the game and did it without putting together a single drive where they had to convert more than three first downs out of their 13 possessions. And they only managed to convert 18 percent of their third-down situations. Two of Seattle's fourth-quarter scores came on interception returns by Marcus Trufant (78 yards) and Jason Babineaux (57 yards). Trufant's interception was his seventh of the season and his second for a score. Babineaux had picked off just one other pass this year.
A noticeable advantage: Seattle punter Ryan Plackemeier punted seven times and put four of them inside the 20-yard line of the Redskins. His gross and net average was an impressive 41.6 yards as Antwaan Randle El called for five fair catches at the other end. Meanwhile, Seahawks punt returner Nate Burleson, who averaged 11.3 yards per return during the season, outdid himself with a 14.3-yard average on seven opportunities that included just one fair catch. Washington kickoff return specialist Rock Cartwright helped balance the ledger a bit with a 29.3 average on kickoffs, including a 55-yard return, against Burleson's lackluster 9.5-yard average on his two kickoff returns for Seattle.
They're special: Only two players made more than one special teams tackle during the contest. Seattle linebacker Kevin Bentley made a pair of stops as did Washington's Derrick Frost. But it's likely that the Redskins punter would have preferred not to have been the one who had to make those tackles.
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