Jamie Moyer, yes, that Jamie Moyer, raises the 12th Person flag and leads the cheers as Seattle kicks off. We can't lose.
A three-and-out opens things. Our defense is our strong suit this year, and it shows early. Better hope we can keep Portis to short gains all afternoon.
1. Pass to Burleson, first down.
2. Pass to Engram, first down.
3. Timeout, because Hasselbeck, the TiVo quarterback, is overthinking things, as is his custom. Not always a bad thing.
Oh, Hasselbeck. Get that to Obomanu, and we're in business. Instead, Plackemeier has to come in to pin Washington deep. At least the offense appears to have life, which hasn't always been the case this season. We've had a spluttering fuse early, most games.
I can't remember a time this season where the Seahawks forced a team to punt out of the endzone.
Note: an end-around is not a reverse.
Portis stuffed like a Christmas turkey. DEEEE-FENSE. DEEEE-FENSE.
Alexander fumbled? Nope, he was down, thank goodness. How the refs got that one wrong, I'll leave to the T/R/P.
At least they got the replay right. First and 10, Hawks, red zone. And it's a draw play... to... Weaver? Didn't expect that, did you, Washington? 6 on the board. Wow.
Hawks 7, District of Columbia 0.
If Washington's smart, they'll run a lot more playaction passes, the Achilles ankle of the Seattle secondary. If you can freeze Lofa Tatupu for even a split second, the middle opens up. With Other Moss and Randle El, the Washington receiver corps is a scary group.
Kerney busts through and breaks up what looked to be some Portis trickery gone awry. The pass to Moss is broken up, and Washington is punting again. DEEE-FENSE.
Two trends collide: great punt that won't probably pin them deep, after a declined penalty because we'll never get a fourth-and-inches. C'mon, defense. Prove me wrong. Update: They don't, allowing Portis to sneak up to the 12 yard line after a costly offsides penalty.
First Quarter Wrapup
Seattle's offense and defense are both a mixed bag--spurts of greatness, with enough mediocrity to make things interesting. But Washington's looking worse, especially on offense. Too much football left, but I stand by my prediction. We'll take this one by 3.
Was his arm going forward? Kerney nearly ripped it off, but Collins somehow got the ball to scoot forward. Hawks recover, but here comes the challenge flag. I think this one's going back to D.C. Update: Yep. Incomplete pass, tuck rule and all that. Once again, Portis is stuffed like a trophy buck.
Collins looks a little rattled, and the defense holds. Burleson is finding a way to ooch yards out of these returns when it appears all is lost. Fun fact learned in-game: Burleson leads the league in punt return yardage.
I love Hasselbeck's lob pass to Burleson--we've seen that a lot this season. If it weren't for a couple bad drops, we'd be way ahead already. Here comes Josh Brown for the automatic 50-yarder. Oh yeah.
Whose country is this, anyway? Better ask a truck company.
Collins goes to Caldwell, instead of Moss or Randle El, and he drops it. DEEE-FENSE.
Interference. On Hackett. Yeah... Springs had perfect position. Hasselbeck is a tough guy, still in there with a banged-up hand.
Another drop. Ack.
1. How much of the game's strategy hinges on the Hawks' inability to get a fourth-and-short?
2. At the end of the day, how much will the refs matter in this contest?
3. Can Hasselbeck stay healthy long enough to lead his team to victory?
4. Is this ourrrrr countreeeee?
Yeah, I own the old Chevy Malibu--the rental / grandma car--and it's pretty ignorable. But it holds up well in the snow.
Another sack--this defense, which has saved game after game this season, is looking like one of the best in the league right now.
Nice glimpse of a bloodied, intense Patrick Kerney.
Liveblogging rips a hole in the space-time quilt.
Portis stuffed like a Beanie Baby, and Deon Grant makes a heckuva play. DEEE-FENSE.
A home-field spot, which'll be reviewed. This one... coming back, I fear. Update ...although the epistemic barrier is high...
Thank you, epistemology! Seattle escapes, and can close out for the half, if they're careful. Also, thanks to Washington's decision to receive, we'll get the ball back.
Umm... why are we passing?
We're in control of the game, but we haven't put the knife under the ribs and twisted it, yet, so Washington's still in it. No surprise, really--they're a tough squad.
Stars of the half:
Julian Peterson and Patrick Kerney, who kept the O-line off balance for a good part of the half.
Ryan Plackemeier, whose punts kept us mostly out of major trouble.
Leonard Weaver, who surprised the hell out of DC's D.
John "Cougar" Mellencamp
Strangest play of the game so far: Holmgren calls timeout with :01 left in the half, and Joe Gibbs--who's made some gaffes earlier in the season, because of some rule changes--wisely runs the football, instead of punting and allowing a potential field-goal try. Clinton Portis gets a pretty good run out of it--for a split second, I'm thinking, Oh no, he's getting into the secondary--but he was tackled to end the half.
If that play goes for a touchdown, do you think Holmgren would retire on the spot?
Whoa... that cars-morphing-into-flying-amoebae thing was pretty wild. I will no longer believe anything I see on television.
Here comes the second half. Another burning question: Has there ever been a nationally-televised Seattle playoff contest that hasn't featured the flying fish?
Alexander narrowly missed breaking that one. Here comes a pass... for no gain. Weird call. Where's the slanty-west-coastness?
Bobby Engram looks like Marcus Trufant on that one. Another deep fair catch: Plackemeier is my hero.
Oooh, some motion in the Washington backfield. Tricks no one.
Grr... Randle El is still the one to stop.
Clinton Portis does his best 2007 Shaun Alexander impersonation. Whoa... Todd Collins is about the worst running QB you'll ever see. A slide for two yards!
Frost has two of the best plays of the game so far: pushing Burleson out in the first half, and now a nice tackle to save a big gain. DEEE-FENSE.
Here's our west-coast-lovin' back. Burleson, Engram for short gains. Let's chew some clock and score, people.
Remember what I said above about those lob passes? Springs is looking pretty terrible in the DC secondary.
A glancing blow instead of a knockout punch. We should run a draw play on 3rd-and-7 and a blitz package, but oh well.
Seattle 13, Foggy Bottom 0.
Randle El and Cooley are saving Collins' bacon right now. Meanwhile, Clinton Portis is having a forgettable day, 17 rushes for 38 yards. No first down on 3rd and 1, either. Ouch.
That's a killer PI penalty, but completely justified. Gibbs' gutsy play call is rewarded. (Hmm... playaction? Who'da thunkit?)
Third Quarter Wrapup
Once again, our inability to put the game away means that Washington has plenty of life left. We're actually 4:00 behind in the time-of-possession battle, unable to sustain a long drive. I'm cautiously optimistic, but can't put the Rolaids away just yet.
No surprise that Randle El is the first to take it home for Washington. Our defense risks getting tired more than anything--we're starting to miss tackles, and having trouble getting to the quarterback.
Seattle 13, Nation's Capital 7.
Sometimes this season, I've thought to myself, "We don't play with any real fire, offense-wise, until we're down." Hope that's true.
The announcer notes what I noticed earlier: Seattle's not getting to Collins, and it's killing us.
I just threw my cell phone at the wall, to see if it would stick.
[Desperately trying to reassemble cell phone as Suisham misses a chip shot.]
How in the heck did Hasselbeck huck it to Hackett?
Also, draw plays make me happy.
Marcus Trufant might have just saved the game. With that friendly bounce, the Seahawks are in prime comeback position. As long as Hasselbeck doesn't toss another pick...
Think Springs is going to have nightmares about this game? What a catch by Burleson.
That was a helluva pump fake. Wow. Hackett takes it to the house, and we're ahead. Pollard redeems himself, and now...
It's up to the defense, as always. DEEE-FENSE. ROOOL-AIDS.
Well......... shades of the Eagles game, earlier this year. I still trust we'll win it.
Thank you, Todd Collins, and DEEE-FENSE, and Marcus Trufant, and no penalty. THANK YOU. Oh, and to Santana Moss, too, who showed us why he's Other Moss by giving up on the play.
And the kick is good.
Seattle 28, Potomac Tribe 14.
Craig Terrill, this time, makes Collins pay. Another screen, and Portis goes down, weirdly. This does not bode well for Washington.
Closing speed! Kelly Jennings bats it down. The secondary, for the most part, is playing tough in the second half. Trufant, especially, saved this game. Nice that he's in on the last gasp for Washington, as Collins throws it too high, too far out. Player of the game.
The new Knight Rider is a... a... Mustang? Yes, that's what I'm reduced to caring about, as this game is done, done, done.
And Babineaux's interception for a touchdown is just so much gravy. Trufant with the nice block, too.
Nothing much to add--'tis all above. Trufant, game ball. Plackemeier, special mention. DEEE-FENSE finally puts the antacids away for good. Thanks to Emmett and the TRP for hanging out. Bring on the Packers.
Seattle 35, Washington 14