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Redskins lead Seattle 14-13 at halftime

Redskins lead Seattle 14-13 at halftime

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Robert Griffin III threw two 4-yard touchdown passes in his first career playoff game to give the Washington Redskins a 14-13 lead over the Seattle Seahawks after the second quarter of their NFC wild-card game on Sunday.

Griffin capped the Redskins' only two drives of the first quarter against the NFL's top-rated scoring defense with short tosses to running back Evan Royster and tight end Logan Paulsen.

The Seahawks allowed 15.3 points per game this season and the 14-point deficit was their largest of the season.

Seattle rallied with 13 points in the second quarter, including rookie Russell Wilson's 4-yard TD pass to running back Michael Robinson.

Steven Hauschka's 32-yard field goal with 12:05 remaining put the Seahawks on the board and he added a 29-yarder as the half expired.

The right-footed Hauschska was playing with a left ankle injury and limped off the field to the locker room.

Griffin was 6 of 11 for 68 yards with an interception and he ran three times for 12 yards.

On the second drive, the rookie fell awkwardly while backpedaling on a pass and came up limping, but stayed in the game. He sprained his right knee in Week 14 and had a brace for the third straight game.

Wilson led three consecutive scoring drives, though Seattle settled for two field goals on its two other red zone trips. The Seahawks rookie finished 9 of 14 for 123 yards and also ran for 35 yards.

Marshawn Lynch rushed for 33 yards with his biggest result coming after scooping up a Wilson fumble and racing for 19 yards, leading to the Seahawks touchdown.

Rookie Alfred Morris, the league's second-leading rusher, had 60 yards - 34 of them on four carries during Washington's opening drive that resulted in the TD pass to Royster.

Paulsen's touchdown catch finished off an 11-play, 54-yard drive in 5:58.

Washington's offense slowed in the second quarter with two drives resulting in a punt and an interception by Seattle Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas.

Seattle was moving the ball in the first quarter, but a promising drive ended when the Redskins' Stephen Bowen and London Fletcher combined to sack Wilson on third-and-2. It was one of two sacks for the Redskins in the quarter.

The playoff meeting between the two teams was the third, but first outside Seattle. The Seahawks won 20-10 in January 2006, and 35-14 in January 2008.

Those were the last two postseason games played by the Redskins, who entered the playoffs on an NFC-best seven-game winning streak.

Seattle has won five straight, outscoring opponents 193-60, but finished the season with a 3-5 road record and has lost eight straight road playoff games. Their only road playoff win came in its first postseason road game, Dec. 31, 1983, at Miami. The streak is the second longest in the NFL behind Detroit.

Washington, NFC East champions and No. 4 seed in the conference, became the first team since the Jaguars in 1996 to reach the playoffs after starting 3-6. The Redskins went worst-to-first after finishing last in the division for four straight years.

This was the second playoff game in NFL history with two starting rookie quarterbacks.

Last year in the first rookie QB meeting, T.J. Yates led the Texans to a 31-10 victory over Andy Dalton and the Bengals.

Wilson tied Peyton Manning's 1998 NFL rookie record with 26 touchdown passes. Griffin set the league mark for yards rushing by a rookie quarterback (815) and had the best single-season rookie passer rating in NFL history (102.4), followed by Wilson (100).

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

The Caps put together their best performance of the series Thursday in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The win pulled Washington even with Columbus in the series 2-2.

Here's how the Caps got the big win.

Tom Wilson factors in the offense

Wilson’s hands are good for more than just punching. He proved that again on Thursday as he scored the first goal for the second consecutive game. Chandler Stephenson and John Carlson provided the pressure on Sergei Bobrovsky. With Bobrovsky scrambling in the crease, Evgeny Kuznetsov passed the puck back to Wilson who fired the one-timer past the Columbus netminder. In the first two games of the series, Wilson had no points and no shots. In the last two games, he has two goals and 13 shots on goal.

A great keep in by John Carlson

We saw how dangerous it is when penalty killers fail to clear the puck in Game 1 when the Caps failed to clear in the third period leading to the game-tying power play goal. In Game 4, the roles were reversed. Trying to kill off an Artemi Panarin penalty, Cam Atkinson tried to clear the puck with the backhand. Carlson skillfully corralled the puck out of the air at the blue line to keep it in the zone. The power play was able to reset and T.J. Oshie scored the rebound goal soon after.

Braden Holtby closes the door to finish the second period

After the Caps took the 2-0 lead, the Blue Jackets made a push late in the period to try to pull one back. In the last 10 minutes of the second period, Columbus had 13 shot attempts, five of which were not net. Several of those shots were high-quality opportunities, but Holtby came up with the big saves that the team was not getting earlier in the series. His play ensured the Caps took the 2-0 lead to the locker room.

Alex Ovechkin extends the lead to three

Washington entered the third period up 2-0. In each of the first three games, the Caps held a two-goal lead and allowed the Blue Jackets to battle back and tie the score. Even with a two-goal lead, it still felt at the start of the third that the next goal would decide the game. If Columbus pulled within one and got the crowd back on their side, we have seen what that momentum can do for them. This time, however, Ovechkin struck first. After a board battle behind the net, the puck trickled out to the faceoff circle. Ovechkin grabbed it and quickly snapped the puck past Bobrovsky before anyone could react. The goal gave Washington their first three-goal lead of the series and shut the Blue Jackets’ comeback down before it could begin.

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Tarik's 3 stars: Ovechkin said Caps would even the series, on Thursday, he helped them do it

Tarik's 3 stars: Ovechkin said Caps would even the series, on Thursday, he helped them do it

COLUMBUS — Alex Ovechkin confidently predicted earlier this week that the Caps were going to win twice at Nationwide Arena and take their first round series back to Washington knotted, two games apiece.

And, on Thursday night, that’s exactly what Ovechkin made sure his team did.

No. 8, who was playing in his franchise-record 101st playoff game, scored his third goal of the playoffs early in the final frame and the Caps beat the Blue Jackets 4-1 in Game 4.

Tarik’s Three Stars of Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 4

1. Tom Wilson, Capitals

After a slow (and penalty plagued) start to this series, Wilson has become a force. Yes, he took another minor.

But the good is far outweighing the bad these days. Big Willy recorded a goal, an assist and a team-high seven shots.  

2. Braden Holtby, Capitals

Holtby had his best game in, well, a long time. He stopped 23 shots, including all eight he saw in a contentious second period.

The goal he surrendered was a nearly unstoppable tip-in by Boone Jenner.

3. T.J. Oshie, Capitals

Osh just plays the game so dang hard.

So it should come as no surprise that he delivered in his team’s biggest game of the season to this point. Oshie, of course, scored the game-winning goal on the power play midway through the second period. It was No. 77’s second tally of the series.

Agree? Disagree?

Let us know what you think in the comments.