Washington Football Team beats Seahawks, Stays in Playoff Contention after Winning 3rd Straight

Photo+via+Patrick+Smith%2FGetty+Images

Photo via Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Andrew Tunley, Staff Writer

The Washington Football team beat the Seattle Seahawks 17-15 in a nail biting game Monday night to advance to 5-6. After being forced to go for it on fourth down twice on their final drive, Washington gave Seattle and Russell Wilson one final chance to tie the game down by eight points with less than three minutes left. However, the Washington defense prevailed on a two-point conversion attempt which was unsuccessful to keep Washington ahead. After late controversy over an onside kick where Seattle recovered, but was deemed to be offsides, Washington survived and marched out of FedEx Field with their record at 5-6, securing the 7th seed in the NFC, giving them a fighting chance to make the playoffs this January.

Entering the night 3-7, the Seattle Seahawks came into Monday night with Russell Wilson back from a finger injury. Although he played in Seattle’s past two games, he clearly wasn’t his usual self, throwing for zero touchdowns and two interceptions since his return. Seattle and Washington fans alike were expecting a bounce back game from him and anticipating a shootout between the squads.

It didn’t take Wilson long to throw his first touchdown since Week 5 with a 6 yard strike to Gerald Everett as the first quarter wound down. After a pair of punts and turnovers by both teams, Washington had one final chance to reclaim the lead before halftime down, 7-3 with four minutes left. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke completed four passes on the drive, including a 10 yard touchdown pass to JD McKissic to top off the 9 play, 77 yard drive. After taking the 9-7 lead, Joey Slye’s PAT was blocked and returned for a 2-point conversion by the Seahawks, tying the game right before half. Although the game was tied, Washington had most of the first half possession, wearing down the Seattle defense and keeping Russell Wilson off the field. The Seattle defense was clearly worn out and got some much-needed rest during halftime.

Nevertheless, on Washington’s first offensive possession of the second half, Heinicke marched the offense right down the field, slicing up the Seahawks’ disheveled defense. Antonio Gibson’s 2-point conversion rush gave Washington a 17-9 lead. After seven straight punts by both teams, Washington got the ball back with 11 minutes left and tried to milk the clock to secure the win. Even after going for two separate fourth downs in field goal range, Washington was forced to go for it instead of kicking the field goal because of an injury their kicker suffered. After converting the first one, the second was reversed after instant replay concluded the ball hit the ground before the receiver gained possession. This gave Russell Wilson one final drive to go 96 yards and keep the Seahawks’ playoff hopes alive. 

Wilson completed three passes before a 3rd and 5 throw to Tyler Lockett was called for defensive pass interference. Four more completions set up the Seahawks at the Washington 32 with only 20 seconds left. Only a few more incompletions would get Washington the win, but blown coverage by the Washington secondary left Freddie Swain wide open over the middle of the field, completing the 96 yard drive and setting up a 2-point conversion to force overtime. FedEx field got loud one final time, and the conversion was intercepted by Kendall Fuller in the end zone, keeping the 17-15 Washington lead.

The game would not end without controversy, though. Seattle’s onside kick was recovered, and it seemed like Russell Wilson would have 15 seconds to try to win the game. Unfortunately for Seattle, the refs called illegal formation on the kick. One of the Seattle players was lined up inside the hash marks, which is against the rules because only the kicker is allowed to. The second onside kick try was recovered by Washington, and a final kneel by Heinicke secured the win for Washington. 

Taylor Heinicke earned his fifth career win as a starter, three of them coming in the past three weeks. Now that Washington is on a three game win streak, they have fought all the way back from a 2-6 start and have a serious case to make the playoffs. Although they are still two games back from the division-leading Dallas Cowboys, Washington can still earn a Wild Card spot if they finish the season strong. Six games remain in the regular season, five of them being division rivalry matchups. These past three weeks have shown that Taylor Heinicke is a serious starter in the NFL, and that he can lead this Washington team to the playoffs in January if he continues to play at a high level.