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WP:Lost TD in Second Quarter Is Biggest Seattle Blunder


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Lost TD in Second Quarter Is Biggest Seattle Blunder

By Tarik El-Bashir

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, November 10, 2003; Page D14

The Seattle Seahawks came to FedEx Field thinking they had the Washington Redskins exactly where they wanted them: reeling from four straight losses, struggling in nearly every facet of the game, facing questions about the coach's schemes and his future with the club.

As it turned out, the Seahawks were the ones who fell apart during yesterday's 27-20 loss to the Redskins.

"This is a very disappointing loss," said Seattle Coach Mike Holmgren, whose team slipped to 6-3 but remained atop the NFC West. "We made too many mistakes, and they capitalized on those mistakes. We dropped some balls that we needed to get. We didn't convert a third and short. After we intercept the ball, we get it punched out."

Seattle's litany of miscues began just seconds into the game, when Maurice Morris fumbled the opening kickoff. The Redskins recovered, took over on the Seahawks 18-yard line and grabbed a 3-0 lead moments later on a 20-yard field goal.

"The mistakes we made put us in a predicament of trying to come back at the end of the game," wide receiver Koren Robinson said. "Some of those mistakes we shouldn't have made. We should have been up. If we want to get to the next level we have to cut out the mistakes."

Morris's first-quarter fumble merely set the table for the Big One, the second-quarter Seattle fumble on Washington's goal line that allowed the Redskins to stay close enough to win it at the end.

Seattle was leading 14-3 when Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey was hurried into making a poor pass that was intercepted at the Washington 28 by Damien Robinson, who headed for the end zone.

Robinson, however, was caught from behind by wide receiver Laveranues Coles, who dislodged the ball near the 2, and Redskins guard Randy Thomas recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback.

Six plays later, Seahawks cornerback Shawn Springs picked off Ramsey again. But that interception was wiped out by a defensive pass interference call on Springs, a Silver Spring native. Washington eventually score a touchdown to pull to 14-10.

"That was a huge play in the game," Holmgren said. "We had a chance to make it 21-3, and instead it's 14-10. It completely changed the complexion of the game."

Seattle linebacker Anthony Simmons said: "We made our share of mistakes. It's kind of late to be making those kinds of mistakes. That fumble was a big moment. It would have been a different game if we scored."

The mistakes didn't stop there. With less than eight minutes with remaining in the game and the score tied at 20, Seattle faced a third down and one yard to go near midfield. But quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and running back Shaun Alexander (94 yards and a touchdown) collided on a routine handoff and Alexander was stopped by Jessie Armstead for a two-yard loss. Seattle punted and Washington scored on a trick play to take a 27-20 lead.

The Seahawks didn't get the ball back until less than two minutes remained, and when they did they had already used up their timeouts, forcing Hasselbeck to rush.

"Shaun and I ran into each other," Hasselbeck said of the busted handoff. "I don't know if we've done it 100 times, but we've done it enough where that should not have happened. I thought we had enough opportunities early to put the game away but we didn't capitalize. . . . I don't know what happened to our timeouts. All I know is I didn't have any.

"We're in shock right now because it should have gone the other way."

Springs was not making any excuses afterward.

"You have to find a way to win," the Springbrook High graduate said. "We let a couple of turnovers slide, and it came back to hurt us. I don't care how, you just have to find a way. And we didn't do that."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

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