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Seahawks hold off Washington late for 20-15 win to clinch playoffs

Week 15 was the return of true Seahawks football.

Seattle established the run. It won the turnover battle. And despite clearly being the better team in the first three quarters, it needed a late defensive stop to escape with the win.

Seahawks 20, Washington 15: Quick hits | Instant Reaction | Box score

The Seahawks got just that, getting back-to-back sacks to force the Washington Football Team into throwing a Hail Mary on fourth-and-24 that fell incomplete, preserving a 20-15 victory that clinches a postseason berth for the 10-4 Hawks.

Washington scored 12 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and had a chance to take the lead on its final possession, but L.J. Collier and Carlos Dunlap each sacked WFT quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. on second and third down, pushing Washington all the way back to the Seattle 37 facing fourth down with 1:08 to go.

Haskins broke free of a potential third sack in a row, but his desperate throw to the end zone wasn’t caught – not that it would have mattered much as Washington was flagged for holding on the play.

Seattle had a banner day on defense with two interceptions, though three of its four sacks came on the final drive of the game. Washington actually outgained Seattle 353-302 in total offense, but most of its yardage came in the late comeback attempt.

A big difference in the final score was a missed PAT by Washington on its first touchdown of the game, which came early in the fourth quarter. That kept Seattle ahead 20-9, meaning if Washington scored a touchdown on its next drive, it would need a two-point conversion to put the score in reach of a field goal. Washington did score that touchdown, but its rushing attempt on the two-point conversion try was stopped, keeping Seattle up by five, meaning Washington needed another touchdown to win.

That was enough of an advantage for the Seahawks’ defense, as it was able to get constant pressure on Haskins as he was forced to look for long passes on Washington’s last possession.

The Seahawks’ offense was much more about the run than it has been this season. Chris Carson led with 63 yards on 15 carries, and Carlos Hyde had 55 yards on two attempts, including a 50-yard touchdown.

Russell Wilson was held to a season-low 121 passing yards on 18 for 27 passing. He had a touchdown and an interception. He was effective in the run game, however, picking up 52 yards on six carries.

The offense was bottled up by Washington’s defense for most of the second half, as Hyde’s TD run with 13:12 to go in the third quarter was Seattle’s last score.

Kicker Jason Myers hit a pair of field goals in the first half, making him a perfect 20 for 20 this season and giving him 31 straight dating back to last season, a new Seahawks record.

The Seahawks will take on the Los Angeles Rams, who they entered Sunday tied with for the NFC West lead, in a contest that will determine the division next week.

Here’s a quarter-by-quarter look at Seattle’s victory.

First quarter

Seahawks 3, Washington 0

Almost everything got off to a good start for the Seahawks.

Almost.

With Washington backup Dwayne Haskins Jr. in at quarterback due to Alex Smith being injured, Seattle’s defense forced WFT into a punt on each of its first three possessions. As a result, Washington managed just 34 total yards in the opening frame.

The running game got going for Seattle right out of the gate, too, with Chris Carson twice picking up 10 yards on a carry and Russell Wilson adding a scramble for 11 yards to convert a third down.

The special teams also held up their end of the bargain with Jason Myers connecting on a 43-yarder to improve to 19 for 19 on field goals this season and Michael Dickson booming a 55-yard punt that bounced out of bounds at Washington’s 4-yard line.

Seattle scored just three points despite all of that, however, as Wilson’s four completed passes on five attempts accounted for just 15 yards.

SEA – Jason Myers 43 FG, 8:50

Second quarter

Seahawks 13, Washington 3

Leave it to the Seahawks’ offense to score its first touchdown of the day on its drive that started the farthest away from the end zone.

After a Shaquill Griffin interception gave Seattle the ball at the Washington 3-yard line, Wilson led the Hawks on a 97-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard TD pass to Jacob Hollister, pushing their lead to 13-0 inside the final two minutes of the first half.

Along the way on that series, Wilson had maybe his best rush of the year, picking up 38 yards on a tuck-and-run that took Seattle from its own 32 to the WFT 30. The following play was another big gain, too. DK Metcalf made an incredible one-handed catch, and while he came down with it out of bounds, a defensive pass interference call put the Seahawks at the 13.

Hollister’s TD was the second score of the second quarter for the Seahawks, and the first was a play that set a record. Myers hit his 31st field goal attempt in a row (dating back to last season), breaking the record of 30 straight set by Olindo Mare and giving him a perfect 20 for 20 in 2020.

Record or not, that field goal was a case of Seattle settling after a play that was initially called a long touchdown pass from Wilson to rookie Freddie Swain was overturned when a replay review showed Swain didn’t get both of his feet inbounds when he made the reception in the front corner of the end zone.

The Seahawks’ defense made sure that scoring continued to be elusive for Washington. Haskins connected with tight end Logan Thomas four times on the Football Team’s first drive of the quarter to get inside Seattle’s 30-yard line, but a pass hit off Isaiah Wright’s fingers and fell into Griffin’s hands for the Seahawks cornerback’s third interception of the season.

Washington was able to get on the board just before the end of the half with a 48-yard Dustin Hopkins field goal.

Injuries struck for Seattle before halftime. Mike Iupati was replaced on the offensive line by Jordan Simmons as he was ruled questionable to return with a neck injury, and rookie running back DeeJay Dallas was carted off the field with his lower leg in an air cast after covering a kick. Metcalf also appeared to possibly hyper-extend his knee trying to haul in a pass in the end zone but was able to return when the next series began.

SEA – Myers 40 FG, 10:52
SEA – Jacob Hollister 10 pass from Russell Wilson (Myers kick), 1:45
WFT – Dustin Hopkins 48 FG, :06

Third quarter

Seahawks 20, Washington 3

Chris Carson set up ’em up. Carlos Hyde knocked ’em down.

The Seahawks opened the third quarter with their second touchdown of the day, and this time it was all about Seattle’s running backs. Carson had back-to-back rushes of 13 and 9 yards, respectively, and with a second down at midfield, the Hawks let him have a break and gave Carlos Hyde an opportunity.

Good call.

Hyde broke free for a 50-yard scamper to paydirt, pushing Seattle’s lead to 20-3.

The offense didn’t have much else to say in the quarter, but the defense and punter Michael Dickson worked together to make sure WFT didn’t threaten the Seahawks’ advantage too much. D.J. Reed had the big play, picking off Haskins for Seattle’s second interception of the day.

That being said, Washington was as close to a touchdown as it had been all day as the third quarter ended, facing second-and-7 at the Seattle 13.

SEA – Carlos Hyde 50 run (Myers kick), 13:12

Fourth quarter

Seahawks 20, Washington 9

A third-and-goal run by Peyton Barber from the 1-yard line resulted in Washington’s first touchdown of the day early in the quarter, but the good news for Seattle was that the point-after try was missed by Hopkins. That kept the Seahawks’ lead at 11 points, meaning Washington would need a touchdown, two-point conversion and field goal just to tie the score.

A door was opened for WFT, though.

A Wilson pass attempt was deflected near the line of scrimmage at the Washington 39 and picked off by defensive tackle Daron Payne, and a new WFT drive started at its own 36 with just over 11 minutes to go.

Though Washington had certainly left points on the boards throughout the game, the offense had clearly gained momentum in the second half, and it got within five points with a 6-yard touchdown pass to former Seahawks running back J.D. McKissic (a two-point conversion run attempt failed).

Seattle’s tired defense was able to come up with the stop when it needed it the most, though. Back-to-back sacks by L.J. Collier and Carlos Dunlap putting Washington in an almost unwinnable spot on fourth down with just over a minute to go, and Haskins’ Hail Mary attempt both was incomplete and would have been nullified if caught due to a holding call on the play.

WFT – Peyton Barber 1 run (kick failed), 14:14
WFT – J.D. McKissic 6 pass from Dwayne Haskins Jr. (run failed), 7:16

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