Monday, December 31, 2012
Quick Take: Seahawks at Redskins
By Mike Sando
Five things to know about next Sunday's Seattle Seahawks-Washington Redskins wild-card playoff game at FedEx Field:
1. Rookie QB battle. Seattle's Russell Wilson and Washington's Robert Griffin III are leading candidates for offensive rookie of the year. Wilson is healthier than Griffin. He has been hotter late in the season. Both start fresh in the playoffs. Both benefit from running backs with more than 1,500 yards for the regular season. The big question is to what degree Griffin can challenge the Seahawks' defense after suffering a knee injury late in the season and taking hits from Dallas in Week 17.
2. On the road again. Seattle finished its regular season with an 8-0 record at home. The team was 3-5 on the road. Three of those defeats came against NFC West opponents in the first seven weeks of the season. The Seahawks have won their last two road games largely because zone-read plays have pushed their offense into another gear. Wilson leads the NFL in Total QBR on the road since Week 8. His 107.2 NFL passer rating on the road over that span ranks third behind Matt Ryan (113.9) and Aaron Rodgers (112.5).
3. Restored secondary. Seattle welcomes back starting cornerback Brandon Browner from a four-game suspension this week. No one knows how well Browner will acclimate. He's eligible to rejoin the team Monday. Browner had three interceptions and three forced fumbles before serving his suspension. He was a Pro Bowl choice last season. At the very least, Browner restores welcome depth to the secondary. He and cornerback Richard Sherman (eight picks) form a formidable tandem at their best.
4. What a rush. The Seahawks and Redskins both ranked among the NFL's top five in rushing yards this season. Redskins rookie Alfred Morris broke Clinton Portis' franchise single-season rushing record with 1,613 yards. He overtook Seattle's Marshawn Lynch (1,590) for second in rushing yards this season behind Adrian Peterson.
5. Big-play threats. Golden Tate and Sidney Rice have not been prolific wide receivers, but they have been big-play threats in critical situations. Rice caught the 46-yard game-winner against New England. Tate's disputed game-winner against Green Bay covered 24 yards. Tate set up the winning touchdown Sunday with a 44-yard reception in the final four minutes. The Seahawks finished the regular season with 11 receptions of at least 40 yards, tied for fifth-most in the NFL. That includes seven since Week 11, tied with Indianapolis for most in the NFL. The Redskins are close behind with five over that span.