Reporting Grant Paulsen
The three keys to a victory in today’s game in Seattle are brought to you by Lustine Dodge Jeep Chrysler in Woodbridge, Va.
Stop Marshawn Lynch
Having won back-to-back games by pounding the football, the Seahawks seem to have finally found an identity on offense. In Seattle’s last three games, Marshawn Lynch has run the ball 23, 32 and 27 times, his three biggest carry totals of the season. The fifth-year tailback has responded to his increased workload, rushing for 135, 109 and 88 yards in those games against the Cowboys, Ravens and Rams respectively. Stopping the Seahawks is pretty simple. If you stop the run, they won’t be able to move the ball.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson isn’t a dynamic player. He’s completed 60 percent of his passes while throwing seven touchdowns and hurling 11 interceptions this season. Jackson, a better athlete than passer, has just seven rushing attempts for 16 yards in Seattle’s last three games. He isn’t going to be at the Redskins, as evidenced by Seattle’s 25th-ranked passing attack, which averages just over 200 yards through the air per game.
The Redskins’ defensive-front has to plug the right gaps and tackle well. If Washington can do that, the Seahawks won’t amass long drives and the game will remain close.
Protect the Football
The Redskins are not talented enough to overcome turnovers. Prolific teams that can score lots of points and make a plethora of big plays can turn the ball over a few times and it won’t always come back to haunt them because they will score enough points to cancel out some negative drives. But Washington isn’t one of those teams. Moving the ball has been a challenge all season and points are at a premium for the Redskins every weekend.
Washington’s -10 turnover margin is tied for dead last in the NFL. You can’t win when you are losing the turnover battle every weekend, especially when you don’t have as much talent as most of the teams you’re playing. Take for example the NFL’s two best teams in the turnover department, the San Francisco 49ers (+16) and the Green Bay Packers (+15). They’re a combined 20-2 and generating 31 more takeaways than they’ve been turned over is a big reason why.
Score on a big play
The league’s best offenses are all capable of going on methodical 13-play scoring drives, but that’s not how the NFL’s most elite teams generally light up the scoreboard. Quick-strikes on big plays, not just on offense but on defense and special teams as well, are how teams blow games open and find ways to pull away with convincing victories.
The Redskins need somebody to make a big play. I’m not talking about a 27-yard completion on a screen that turns into a drive-continuing first down. I’m talking about a 65-yard run-and-catch, home run ball to a wide receiver running behind defenders. I’m talking about a fumble or an interception that one of Washington’s defenders takes back for a touchdown. I’m talking about a Brandon Banks touchdown on a return.
Washington has not had a special teams touchdown all season and hasn’t gotten a score from its defense since Ryan Kerrigan’s pick-six in week-one. The Redskins need somebody to deliver a monster play.