Redskins.com's Brian Tinsman breaks down the key players and matchups to keep an eye on during Sunday's Redskins-Seahawks Wild Card showdown at FedExField.
“Redskins-Seahawks: 4 Keys To The Game” is presented by Papa John’s.
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GRIFFIN THE GREAT
The Redskins imposed their will on the Dallas Cowboys to close out the regular season, piling up 261-of-361 total yards on the ground. Rookie running back
This is all well and good, but the Redskins need more out of
In order for the Redskins to keep pace, they will need a healthy and comfortable Griffin III. The impact of his knee injury and brace has decreased in the last three weeks, but he needs to be a force in this game.
YOUTHFUL ENTHUSIASM/VETERAN MINDSET
Five years later, those same players are the veteran role players on a very young team. While the veterans have provided guidance to the youngsters on the team, the Redskins' success has been keyed by outstanding rookies and first-year players like Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris,
That starts on offense, where the 2012 squad yielded a franchise-low 14 turnovers this season. Griffin III broke the rookie record for lowest percentage of passes resulting in interception (1.3 percent), breaking Charlie Batch's 1.98 percent. On the other side, the Seahawks boast the No. 4 overall defense with the top-ranked scoring defense in football. Their 18 interceptions are good for eighth in the NFL this season.
If the Redskins hope to succeed, they need to continue to play this new-look Redskins' football.
The Redskins have fared well against rookie quarterbacks this season, going 3-0 against the Eagles and Browns with newbies under center. Much of that success was keyed by a strong pass rush that managed 11 sacks and forced 10 turnovers. Those two signal callers completed 74-for-129 (57 percent), as the back end of the defense played disciplined defense against lackluster receivers.
That changes this week, as Russell Wilson brings a dynamic element (489 rushing yards), and a 26:10 touchdown to interception ratio. Wilson is a dangerous playmaker with his arm and feet, and the Redskins will need to be aggressive and disciplined on defense in order to keep him in check. The best way to do that is to make him uncomfortable early. Not many rookie quarterbacks have won in the playoffs, and far fewer have won on the road in a hostile environment.
PUT 'SPECIAL' BACK IN SPECIAL TEAMS
The Redskins have had unexpected good success on special teams this season, finding new long-term solutions at place kicker and punt returner.
Kai Forbath's run of perfection on field goal conversions to open his career goes down as the longest in NFL history (17), and his miss last week does not detract from this accomplishment. It will detract, however, if he misses any short field goals in the playoffs. Like most wins during the Redskins' winning streak, this game is likely to be close, and a missed kick in the playoffs can permanently damage a kicker's psyche and reputation. Forbath will also be leaned on for strong kickoffs to help win the battle of field position against Seahawks returner Leon Washington.