Redskins

NFL Capsule: Seahawks at Redskins

NFL Capsule: Seahawks at Redskins

SEATTLE (11-5) At WASHINGTON (10-6)

Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE - Seahawks by 1 1/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Seattle 11-5; Washington 11-5

SERIES RECORD - Redskins lead 11-6

AP PRO32 RANKING - Seahawks No. 5; Redskins No. 7

LAST MEETING - Redskins beat Seahawks 23-17, Nov. 27 2011

LAST WEEK - Seahawks beat Rams 20-13; Redskins beat Cowboys 28-18

SEAHAWKS OFFENSE - OVERALL (17), RUSH (3), PASS (27)

SEAHAWKS DEFENSE - OVERALL (4), RUSH (10), PASS (6)

REDSKINS OFFENSE - OVERALL (5), RUSH (1), PASS (20)

REDSKINS DEFENSE - OVERALL (28), RUSH (5), PASS (30)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Teams meeting for third time in playoffs, with Seattle winning at home 20-10 in January 2006, and 35-14 in January 2008. Those were last two postseason games played by Washington. ... Redskins are NFC East champions and No. 4 seed, while Seahawks are seeded No. 5 as wild card from NFC West. ... Seattle has won five straight, outscoring opponents 193-60. Washington has NFC-best seven-game winning streak, outscoring teams 210-140, and is first team since Jaguars in 1996 to reach playoffs after starting 3-6. ... Seahawks are in playoffs for seventh time in 10 seasons, while Washington is in postseason for just fourth time in 20 years. ... Seahawks have lost eight straight road playoff games. Their only road playoff win came in first postseason road game, Dec. 31, 1983 at Miami. Streak is second longest in NFL behind Detroit. ... This will be second playoff game in NFL history with two starting rookie QBs, Seattle's Russell Wilson vs. Washington's Robert Griffin III. Last year, T.J. Yates led Texans to 31-10 victory over Andy Dalton and Bengals. ... Griffin (102.4) and Wilson (100) had best single-season rookie passer ratings in NFL history. Wilson's rating was also the best overall in Seahawks history, bettering Matt Hasselbeck's 98.2 in 2005 when Seattle reached Super Bowl. ... Wilson threw 26 TD passes, tying Peyton Manning's NFL rookie record set in 1998. He was first rookie QB in league history to win all eight home games. Griffin set league mark for yards rushing by rookie QB (815) and is only player in NFL history to rush for 750-plus yards and have passer rating of 100 or better. ... Game also features two of league's top three rushers: Washington rookie Alfred Morris finished second with franchise-record 1,613 yards. Seattle's Marshawn Lynch ranked third with career-high 1,590 yards. ... Lynch's total was third in team history behind Shaun Alexander in 2005 (1,880) and 2004 (1,696). Morris' total was third most by rookie in NFL history, behind Eric Dickerson's 1,808 in 1983 and George Rogers' 1,674 in 1981. ... Seahawks ran NFL-high 55 percent of time. Redskins were second at 52.2 percent. ... Seattle was one of two teams without red zone giveaway this season. ... Seahawks were No. 1 in league in scoring defense, allowing 15.3 points per game. They allowed NFL-low 23 touchdown drives, none shorter than 40 yards. ... Opposing QBs had NFL-low 67.7 passer rating vs. Seattle defense inside 30-yard line. ... Seattle defense was worst in NFL on third-and-long (10-plus yards), allowing teams to convert 33.8 percent. ... Seahawks had top pass defense in NFL when blitzing, holding QBs to passer rating of 59.5. But Redskins have best pass offense in NFL when being blitzed, with a 141.5 passer rating. ... Seattle has just 60 games of combined playoff experience, fewest of 12 teams in postseason. Cincinnati, Minnesota and Washington are next on list, all with 68. ... Seahawks CB Brandon Browner returns from four-game suspension for using banned substance. With CB Richard Sherman winning appeal of similar four-game suspension, the Seahawks will have both starting CBs available for postseason. ... Seattle WR Sidney Rice had zero catches in season finale and was targeted just once. It was first time this season he was shut out and second time since joining Seahawks before 2011 season he went without catch; other was last season against Washington. ... DE Chris Clemons led Seattle with 11 1-2 sacks, his third consecutive season with 11 or more, and DE Bruce Irvin led NFL rookies with eight sacks. ... Seahawks had five players selected to Pro Bowl: Lynch, T Russell Okung, S Earl Thomas, C Max Unger and KR Leon Washington. ... Redskins went worst-to-first after finishing last in division for four straight years. ... Redskins are first playoff team since 1943 New York Giants to be led in both yards passing (Griffin) and rushing (Morris) by rookies. ... Morris capped regular season with career-high 200 yards and three TDs vs. Cowboys. ... Washington led NFL with 88 runs of 10-plus yards. ... Redskins set franchise record with NFL-low 14 giveaways. ... Washington averaged league highs of 6.17 yards per play and 6.54 yards on first down. ... Opponents passed NFL-high 64.8 percent of time vs. Redskins defense, and it was league's worst on third downs overall, allowing teams to convert 44.2 percent. ... Washington's Pro Bowl selections were Griffin, special teams player Lorenzo Alexander and T Trent Williams.

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Three ways the Redskins helped Dwayne Haskins truly shine for the first time

Three ways the Redskins helped Dwayne Haskins truly shine for the first time

Dwayne Haskins played really well Sunday against the Eagles, and it wasn't just on certain drives or in specific situations. Haskins put together a complete and encouraging performance in Week 15, and for that, he deserves a lot of credit.

But the Redskins' coaching staff, and most notably Kevin O'Connell, should be praised as well for setting Haskins up to shine versus Philly.

Here are three things O'Connell and the offense did at FedEx Field that contributed to the rookie's best effort as a pro.

They were more aggressive on early downs

The following two things are true: 1) Bill Callahan loves Adrian Peterson, and 2) Adrian Peterson has a legitimate shot at rushing for more than 1,000 yards this season. Because of those two facts, it felt like Sunday was setting up to be the Peterson Show, especially on first down.

It wasn't, though, and that greatly benefitted Haskins.

No. 7 found Terry McLaurin for a nine-yarder to start the contest, a throw that allowed the QB to settle into a nice rhythm from the start. The 75-yard touchdown pass from Haskins to McLaurin was also a first down toss, one that featured play-action:

A first down pass in the second quarter, meanwhile, led to a defensive pass interference that advanced the ball 14 yards. On that possession, Haskins would eventually find Steven Sims for a score. 

Throughout the matchup, the Burgundy and Gold seemed more comfortable with trusting Haskins to attack the Eagles, and that's something he very much enjoyed.

"I hope to continue to do it," he told reporters postgame.

They targeted Steven Sims a bunch

Want another example of O'Connell's influence over the gameplan? Look no further than how much Sims was involved.

Overall, Sims was targeted 11 times, and while he only hauled in five of those passes, he's a guy worth looking to often. O'Connell has talked for weeks now about how much he wants to use Sims, and while it may sound odd to say that an undrafted receiver from Kansas deserves lots of chances on a unit that includes McLaurin and Peterson, it's true.

He's really difficult for defensive backs to stay in front of and he's shown a penchant for making some tremendous grabs, including his toe-tapper for his first career receiving TD on Sunday.  

"I'm seeing everything and I'm playing faster," Sims said in the locker room. 

O'Connell and Haskins are seeing him, too, and his larger role is giving Haskins another weapon to rely on.

They introduced a creative option play

In addition to the uptick in aggressiveness, the Redskins also were more creative against the Eagles than they had been lately. The best example of that is the option they introduced and executed perfectly on two separate snaps.

On the first option, Haskins fake-tossed it to Peterson before lateraling it to him a second later. The fake from Haskins was a nifty way to buy more time for the play to develop and it set Peterson up to pick up a first down:

They went back to it again in the third quarter, but this time, Haskins kept the ball and cut upfield for a 23-yard gain:

Watch any NFL game on any weekend, and you'll see offenses trying new concepts and surprising defenses with those concepts. In Week 15, the Redskins were finally one of those offenses, and the group as a whole was the most effective its been under Haskins. And for that, both the player and the staff should be recognized.

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Mark Lerner reflects on Bryce Harper’s departure in free agency

Mark Lerner reflects on Bryce Harper’s departure in free agency

For seven seasons, the Nationals and Bryce Harper enjoyed a happy marriage that included four NL East division titles, an MVP award and the respect from the rest of the league as legitimate playoff contenders year in and year out.

But principal owner Mark Lerner knew their relationship might not last forever. In an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Washington’s Donald Dell, Lerner talked about how the team balanced making a business decision with the personal side of hoping to extend Harper when he hit free agency last offseason.

“We all like Bryce but at the end of the day, there’s the economic factor, there’s other factors that come into it: clubhouse, interaction with teammates, everything you could imagine in a decision about a free agent,” Lerner said.

Harper signed a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, which at the time was the record for the most expensive contract in MLB history. The Nationals reportedly made him an offer for 10 years and $300 million that included $100 million in deferrals at the end of the 2018 season.

“He [was] a free agent for a reason, he earned that right,” Lerner said. “It’s his decision and his family’s decision where they play. And he chose to move on. He obviously got an incredible offer.

“Everybody seems to forget it’s not just a bidding war to get the players, the player has to want to play here and sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn’t.”

By the time Harper signed with Philadelphia in early March, the Nationals had already reported to Spring Training with starter Patrick Corbin signed to a six-year, $140 million deal as well as a slew of new faces on the roster that had joined the club through free agency. Lerner said Washington never heard back from Harper and didn’t want to wait for him to make a decision.

“We were moving down a different path at that point anyhow,” Lerner said. “Because, as you may recall, Bryce had not given us a response through his agent Scott Boras and we had decisions we had to make so we didn’t get caught waiting too long for him to find out we can’t get other players to replace him.

“And our choice at that point in time was either wait for him or we had the opportunity to sign Patrick Corbin. And we chose to sign Patrick Corbin and get another great starter, which has worked out great, and it was really more us at that point to say, ‘We have to move on.’”

The Nationals went on to win the World Series in 2019 while Harper posted an .882 OPS with 35 home runs in 157 games for the 81-81 Phillies. But as division rivals, Harper and the Nationals will see each other plenty over the next 12 years he’s locked into Philadelphia.

Only time will tell which side ends up wondering what could’ve been.

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