Washington Football Team falls short in come from behind effort against Seattle

“Next game is the most important game we play all year.” Head coach Ron Rivera said at his presser following a gut wrenching 20-15 loss against Seattle. The Washington Football team came into this week looking to extend its winning streak to 5 games and continue to control their own destiny in the NFC East. Seattle was looking for a win to clinch a berth into the postseason. 

Coming off their win over San Francisco last week, Washington had an uphill battle taking on a tough Seattle team missing their starting quarterback and running back Antonio Gibson. Smith, dealing with a calf injury was decided to be kept on the bench this week to avoid any further injury. Dwayne Haskins was left now with yet another opportunity to redeem himself and be evaluated for his future here in Washington. 

The Washington offense showed up as usual very slow in their first few possessions. Haskins was struggling to move the ball down the field which led to multiple three and outs to start the game. Seattle took advantage of Washington’s offensive struggles and converted field goals on their first two drives. Washington finally was able to get a decent drive going thanks to some nice completions to Logan Thomas who had arguably the best game of any Washington player today. Unfortunately for Washington, Haskins forced a pass into double coverage toward the end zone which was tipped off Isiah Wright’s hand and intercepted by Shaquem Griffin.

Seattle took advantage of the turnover and scored on a ten-play 97-yard drive led by Russel Wilson. Jacob Hollister made a catch in tight coverage in the end zone extending Seattle’s lead to 13-0. Washington was able to squeeze in a field goal just before the half after big plays by once again Logan Thomas and J.D Mckissic. “Those guys stepping up has been amazing.” Rivera commented, “They’re part of what we’re trying to build here.” Washington headed into half down 13-3 with Seattle set to receive the second half kickoff.

The game plan seemed so simple: Get a quick stop and score and Washington is right back in the game. However, a crucial missed tackle by Ronald Darby was the fault for a Carlos Hyde 50-yard touchdown run. Washington, now down 20-3 early in the second half just received a gut punch. Washington’s defense was less impressive this week especially in the first half but this is due to missing linebacker Cole Holcomb who had been a reliable tacker for the defense this season. Down 20-3, the pressure was now really on Haskins to get something going.

Haskins continued his poor play making an awful read and throwing yet again a pass into double coverage for a Jarran Reed interception. Haskins, at this point, is really struggling. Something needed to change or this game was going to get away for good. 

Washington’s defense really stepped up in the second half stopping Seattle from doing much offensively. Washington converted the stop into six scoring their first touchdown in 24 possessions on a Peyton Barber one-yard score. Haskins appeared to be getting into a rhythm on this drive and was looking much more decisive. When asked what changed after Haskins second interception, “I got mad,” Haskins commented. Momentum was swinging into Washington’s favor. The only bad thing, Dustin Hopkins. Hopkins missed the extra point leaving the score 20-9 opposed to 10. Hopkins had been struggling parts of this year and arguably cost them multiple games. With 14 minutes left in the game there was still plenty of time for a come back. 

In Seattle’s next drive, Washington was provided with another spark when you guessed it, Montez Sweat deflected another pass by Wilson up in the air and into Daron Payne’s arms for the takeaway. The trend of using turnovers to put points on the board continued when Haskins once again had a very solid drive hitting receivers and capping it off with a nice short pass to Mckissic for the touchdown. Washington was now forced to go for two to make them within a field goal from tying. Barber was stopped short of the goaline on the carry and Washington now trailed by 5 with 7 minutes to go.

The Washington defense once again stood tall and forced a punt with 5 minutes to go. It was now time for Haskins to show DC what he’s got. Haskins, once again was moving the ball well and even using his legs to pick up crucial first downs. Washington was set up into Seattle territory after a penalty was called for a hit to the head as Terry Mclaurin received a pass. As Washington got to the redzone, Haskins took two crucial sacks forcing Washington to have the game on the line with a fourth and 24. Haskins pass to the endzone was incomplete and sealed the deal for Seattle. Washington almost pulled off another miraculous come back but had fallen just short today. Hopkins missed extra point proved to be very costly forcing Washington to have to score a touchdown on the final drive opposed to a field goal to tie the game.

Although Washington wasn’t able to come away with the win today, they still seem to be trending in a positive direction. “We have a legitimate chance to win football games,” Rivera stated. “We have to start preparing for our next opponent.” Washington also proved they were tough and never going to quit on the field. “We’re going to compete til the final play,” Haskins emphasized in his press conference. 

Washington, now 6-8, still will continue to control their own football destiny into the final two games as long as New York falls to Cleveland on Sunday night. Coach Rivera announced that if Alex Smith is healthy next week he will be the starter. If in the event he’s not, Haskins will have another shot. Rivera also is hopeful to get Antonio Gibson back next week as well.

Haskins future in Washington still remains uncertain as his trend of inconsistency continues leaving people confused as to what kind of quarterback he can be. Haskins, if given another shot will need to continue his momentum from the final quarter from this week.  Haskins finished the day 38-55 with 295 yards and a touchdown.

If the Giants lose to Cleveland, Washington will look for a crucial victory at home against a struggling Carolina team. In the event that Washington wins, A New York loss to Baltimore will clinch the NFC East for Washington. After a tough loss, Washington must regroup for their pivotal final two games of the season. The NFC East is Washington’s division to win or lose now.

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