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Lynch, Seahawks surge past Redskins in NFC Wild Card
Landover, MD (Sports Network) - Marshawn Lynch rushed for 132 yards and the go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter as the Seattle Seahawks overcame a fast start by the Washington Redskins with a 24-14 victory in Sunday's NFC Wild Card playoff.
Washington was hosting its first playoff game since 1999 and jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, but the Seahawks scored the final 24 points of the contest to advance to next Sunday's divisional playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Russell Wilson outplayed fellow Rookie of the Year candidate Robert Griffin III by completing 15-of-26 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown while adding 67 yards on eight carries for the Seahawks, who snapped an eight-game road playoff losing streak.
The last time Seattle won a playoff game on the road was a 27-20 decision over the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 31, 1983.
Griffin was held to just 84 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception on 10-for-19 efficiency by the NFL's second-ranked defense before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury he suffered in the first quarter.
The hobbled quarterback also managed just 21 yards on five carries.
"I think I did put myself at more risk by being out there, but every time you step on the football field in between those lines you're putting your life, your career, every single ligament in your body in jeopardy," Griffin said. "That's just the approach I had to take towards it."
Alfred Morris followed his 200-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Dallas Cowboys, which clinched the Redskins' first NFC East crown in 13 years, with 80 yards on 16 carries.
Washington has now been knocked out of the playoffs by the Seahawks in their last three postseason appearances, having lost to the team in the 2005 divisional round and the 2007 Wild Card round.
The Seahawks took over on offense at their own 21 with 10:53 left in the game trailing, 14-13, and Lynch muscled his way downfield for an 18-yard gain on the second play of the drive.
Faced with a 3rd-and-10, Wilson surveyed his options in the pocket before dumping a short pass off to Zach Miller, who took the ball 22 yards for a first down.
After a 5-yard gain by Lynch two plays later, the running back took a handoff to the right at the Washington 27-yard line and used a downfield block by Wilson near the 5-yard line en route to the go-ahead touchdown.
Seattle opted to go for the two-point conversion, and Wilson hit Miller on a quick slant for a 21-14 lead with 7:08 to play.
On the next play from scrimmage, Griffin could not handle a bad snap and his right knee, which he previously injured during the Redskins' second possession of the game, buckled under him while he scrambled for the loose ball and he fell to the ground.
Griffin remained on the ground for several minutes before getting up on his own power and walking off the field. He did not return.
Seattle, meanwhile, recovered the fumble and converted it into a 22-yard Steven Hauschka field goal.
Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin under center from there and completed two of his first three passes for gains of 15 and 12 yards to Leonard Hankerson, but Cousins went just 1-for-7 for four yards for the remainder of the game, failing to complete a pair of fourth-down passes on Washington's next two touches to quell any thought of a comeback.
Washington received the ball first and wasted no time in taking the lead, as Morris carried the load with 34 yards on four totes during a 9-play, 80-yard march that saw just one third down, which resulted in Evan Royster's 4-yard touchdown reception.
Pierre Garcon added a 30-yard catch-and-run down the left sideline on the drive.
The Redskins regained the ball at their own 46 following a Seattle three-and- out, and Griffin kept the drive alive with a 10-yard strike to Santana Moss on a 3rd-and-3.
An 11-yard gain by Logan Paulsen on a swing pass later converted a 3rd-and-1 and moved the ball inside the Seattle five before Paulsen capped the 11-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown catch for a 14-0 lead with 2:26 left in the first quarter.
"I was worried about the tempo of the game catching us a little bit," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said about his team's slow start. "We just weren't there with the tempo at the start of the game."
Two plays prior to the score, however, Griffin twisted his right knee on an awkward throw while falling down and was moving with an obvious limp for the remainder of the game.
Seattle was able to get on the board on its ensuing drive with a 12-play, 66- yard trek that stretched into the second quarter.
Miller converted an early third down on the drive by hauling in a low pass and running for a 12-yard gain and Sidney Rice moved the ball deep into Washington territory with an acrobatic 27-yard reception down the right sideline.
The drive reached as far as the Washington nine, but the Seahawks could not push the ball into the end zone and were forced to settle for Hauschka's 32- yard field goal.
The Seahawks were aided by a big gain on a broken play to cut further into the deficit on their next touch as Wilson fumbled the ball after making a play-action fake and Lynch scooped up the loose ball before racing 20 yards down the field.
"The ball came out funny on the exchange and Marshawn had my back. He was right there, picked up the ball and had a huge gain," Wilson said about the play. "That was big for us. I think it was one of the biggest plays of the game."
Michael Robinson then capped the scoring drive five plays later by grabbing a swing pass out to the left and jogging across the goal line untouched for a 4- yard touchdown, making it a 14-10 game with 4:38 remaining in the first half.
Earl Thomas intercepted a deep Griffin pass intended for Garcon two plays later, and a 33-yard reception by Doug Baldwin on a short pass over the middle set up a 29-yard kick by Hauschka as time expired to bring the Seahawks within 14-13 at the break.
Seattle opened the third quarter with the ball and used a 26-yard rush by Lynch and a 20-yard grab from Golden Tate to quickly move the ball inside the Washington five.
But the Seahawks failed to take the lead as Lynch had the ball knocked out of his hands by Barry Cofield and the Redskins recovered it at the 3-yard line.
Washington was forced to punt after picking up a couple of first downs and a 28-yard gain by Wilson on a scramble moved the ball across midfield, but Seattle would move backwards from there and also had to punt, keeping it a one-point game heading into the fourth quarter.
It was the second-ever meeting between rookie quarterbacks in the playoffs. The first time came last season when Cincinnati's Andy Dalton and Houston's T.J. Yates met in the AFC Wild Card round ... Seattle has won in its last four appearances in the Wild Card round and has won its first playoff game in five straight postseason appearances ... Carroll improved to 3-3 in the playoffs in his career, while Redskins coach Mike Shanahan fell to 12-10 in the postseason ... Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons sustained a knee injury in the third quarter and did not return ... After recording nine first downs and 134 yards in their first two possessions, the Redskins managed just six first downs and 38 yards over their final eight touches ... Seattle held a 380-203 advantage in total yards.
01/06 21:12:35 ET