Three keys to Seahawks victory 1 Protect the passer. That won't be easy. Washington has 31 sacks this season, tied for the most in the league...
Three keys to Seahawks victory
1 Protect the passer. That won’t be easy. Washington has 31 sacks this season, tied for the most in the league. Ryan Kerrigan is tied for third among all rookies with five sacks while Brian Orakpo, in his second year in the NFL, has 5.5. Expect Washington defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to bring pressure against the Seahawks, who are still adjusting to the loss of tackle James Carpenter and guard John Moffitt on the right side of the line.
2 At least look downfield. Receiver Sidney Rice was targeted only three times last week, and his 55-yard pass to Mike Williams was Seattle’s longest completion of the game. That was one of only two Seattle passing plays that gained more than 16 yards, and while Seattle’s persistence on the ground has paid off, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson will need to be able to look downfield to keep Washington from packing the box.
3 Cut down on the penalties, this is a recording. Seattle went from 2003 through 2010 without ever being penalized 13 times in a single game. That has happened twice in two weeks now. The Seahawks haven’t had penalties cost them a victory. Not yet. But Seattle has to get its indiscretions in check before it does.
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Three keys to a Washington victory
1 Protect the ball. If you’re looking for the reason Washington is in the midst of a six-game losing streak — its longest since 1998 — look no further than turnover margin: Washington is minus-9 the past six games. Washington has committed 23 turnovers this season, which is more than all but two teams in the league. Quarterback Rex Grossman is responsible for 14 of those turnovers. He has to protect the ball if Washington is to win its first game since Oct. 2.
2 Pack a lunch. It’s going to be a long afternoon against the Seahawks, who make up for a lack of explosiveness in their running game with sheer persistence. Seattle ran 42 times against Baltimore two weeks ago and 39 times in St. Louis last week. Marshawn Lynch’s hard-nosed style becomes more effective as the game wears on, and if Washington’s going to win, its defense can’t wear down.
3 Don’t get impatient. The Seahawks have not allowed a rushing touchdown in their previous six games, so Washington can’t expect to get anything easy. But it also can’t abandon the run game as quickly as Seattle’s past two opponents have. Baltimore gave Ray Rice only five carries against Seattle, and St. Louis repeatedly ran an empty backfield against the Seahawks. Washington coach Mike Shanahan isn’t going to give up on the ground that easily. At least he shouldn’t, because Seattle simply doesn’t have the firepower on offense to run away from anyone.
Seahawks DE Chris Clemons vs. Washington LT Trent Williams. Clemons had three sacks in St. Louis last week, the most by any Seahawk in four years. That breathed life into a pass rush that had pretty much flatlined as Seattle had a total of two sacks in its previous three games. Washington has allowed 30 sacks this season, tied for sixth-most in the NFL, so Clemons might have a chance to add to his Pro Bowl bid. Williams was the first left tackle chosen in the 2010 draft, selected two spots ahead of Russell Okung, who went to Seattle with the sixth choice. He was bothered by a sore knee in practice this week.
Seattle is 4-10 against Washington in the regular season, its lowest winning percentage against any single NFL opponent. The Seahawks have not beaten Washington in the regular season since Sept. 20, 1998 as Washington has won the past five regular-season meetings. However, Seattle has beaten Washington twice in the playoffs in the previous six seasons.