The Washington Redskins’ defense has been playing better in recent weeks. While the Redskins’ pass defense has struggled most of the season, Washington’s rush defense has been pretty tough in 2012. Washington’s defense ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, despite facing prolific featured backs like the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice, as well as the Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson. Considering that the Redskins beat both the Ravens and Vikings during the 2012 season, Washington’s rushing defense must get some of the credit.
On Sunday, January 6th, the Redskins will host the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC Wild Card game. While Washington rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III and rookie running back Alfred Morris anchor the league’s top rushing attack, the Seahawks boast an outstanding rushing attack of their own. Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch has shown he is a prolific running back. His 1,593 rushing yards, which ranks third in the NFL behind Peterson and Morris, is living proof of that.
Many fans remember Lynch’s memorable 67 yard touchdown run in Seattle’s 2011 Wild Card playoff victory over the New Orleans Saints. That run was an incredible display of speed, power, and will as Lynch would not be denied access to the end zone. I’m sure no member of the Redskins’ secondary wants to receive the stiff arm similar to the one that Saints’ cornerback Tracy Porter received from Lynch on his touchdown run.
Making matters worse for the Redskins’ defense is Seahawks’ rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. He is having a season comparable to the rookie season enjoyed by Griffin III. Ironically, Wilson doesn’t have a snazzy nickname like his Redskins’ rookie counterpart. Nevertheless, Wilson threw 26 touchdown passes against 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 489 yards in leading Seattle to an 11-5 record.
Washington will need to continue its opportunistic ways on defense by forcing some turnovers against the Seahawks. It’s a formula that has been vital to the Redskins’ entry into the 2013 postseason via a seven game winning streak. Redskins’ linebackers London Fletcher and Rob Jackson have been proficient in forcing opponents’ turnovers during this time. If the Redskins are able to capitalize on that trend, they could achieve their first playoff victory in seven years.