By Mark Gray
AFRO Staff Writer
NFL players truly believe that you play better when you look good. Players routinely spend thousands of dollars in fines for breaking league wardrobe protocols to feel special and in their minds play better. It was the reason the Washington Football Team wore their white on white ensemble after beating Pittsburgh when they went to Arizona to win their fourth straight game- because the players felt it was a “clean” look.
So with their burgundy on burgundy uniforms, the Washington Football Team went the OutKast route when the Seattle Seahawks visited FedEx Field- they were “so fresh and so clean,” but their game wasn’t.
Washington trailed by 17 points heading into the fourth quarter and had it not been for another Dustin Hopkins missed extra point, they may have forced overtime and stolen a game from defeat. However, another furious fourth quarter rally fell short as the football team saw its four-game win streak snapped with a 20-15 loss.
Despite having to travel across the country and kickoff at what would’ve been a 10 a.m. home start, Seattle played like a veteran team with a chance to clinch a playoff spot, which they did by leaving FedEx Field with a win. They forced Washington into two interceptions on deflected passes that led to Seahawks scores. Hopkins missed an extra point after Washington scored their first touchdown in the game’s final stanza.
With the exception of tight end Logan Thomas, Washington’s offense was basically inept until the fourth quarter. Dwayne Haskins had the chance to stake his claim as the future of the franchise quarterback. He buckled, but didn’t break. Haskins returned as the starter after getting benched following a 1-3 start to the season and looked like an inexperienced QB in the first half. Haskins finished 38/55 for 295 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against the NFL’s worst passing defense.
“There were some plays I’d want back, for sure,” Haskins said. “It was definitely a hard fought game.”
Those two picks were drive killing mistakes neither Kyle Allen nor Alex Smith made during the win streak. However, those interceptions that led to 14 Seahawks points were the result of tipped passes that should’ve been caught by Washington receivers. Tight end Thomas had 13 receptions for 101 yards and Terry McClaurin caught seven passes for 70 yards though neither scored.
“I feel like he tried to do the best that he could after turnovers,” receiver McLaurin said. “We have to make some of those bang-bang plays to help the quarterback.”
Seattle capitalized on Haskins’ mistakes and the suddenly vaunted Washington defense was shredded by an offense that is not one of the league’s best in the first half. Russell Wilson, a Super Bowl champion and NFL Most Valuable Player award candidate played with poise and the swag of a leader.
Wilson threw for only 121 yards and a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Hollister, while rushing for 52 on six carries. However, his 38-yard run from the shadows of his endzone deep into Washington territory, flipped the field and led to their second touchdown and a 13-3 halftime lead. Carlos Hyde, who played at Ohio State with Haskins, McLaurin and Chase Young, had a 50-yard touchdown run-their longest run of the year- which proved to be the difference in the game.
The Football Team outgained Seattle 353 – 302, but the defense – without two starting linebackers – gave up 181 yards rushing.
Washington can clinch the NFC East Sunday with a win over the Carolina Panthers in Landover and a loss by the New York Giants in Baltimore. Nonetheless, if Washington (6-8) can win their last two games they could still meet the Seahawks in Landover for a rematch in the NFC Playoffs on wildcard weekend in three weeks as champions of the East division.