2013 NFL Playoffs: More Heroes Must Emerge for Washington Redskins
The 2012 Washington Redskins are the latest NFL team to experience a worst to first turnaround. Quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris are the catalysts for that turnaround. On defense, linebacker and defensive captain London Fletcher has come up with timely interceptions to help earn victories for the Redskins. The result: a 10-6 finish and the franchise’s first NFC East title since 1999.
There’s no time for Washington to rest on those laurels. They face their toughest opponent to date in the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC Wild Card contest. The Seahawks’ defense matches up extremely well with Washington’s offense, with Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman leading the way with eight interceptions in 2012. Factor in the play of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch, and it’s easy to see why the Seahawks are one of the NFL’s better teams.
If Washington is to emerge victorious against Seattle, someone other than Griffin III, Morris, or Fletcher will have to step up. Then again, Washington has had players like quarterback Kirk Cousins, cornerback Richard Crawford, and linebacker Rob Jackson contribute to Redskins’ victories in 2012. It’s very possible that Jackson, Crawford, or even Cousins may figure prominently in their efforts to achieve victory against Seattle.
Wide receivers Leonard Hankerson (top) and Joshua Morgan could be prime candidates on offense. Hankerson has the hands and speed to be effective in the passing game. He and Cousins connected for two touchdown receptions in Washington’s 38-21 Week 15 game against the Cleveland Browns. Morgan led the team in receptions in 2012with 48. He also returned a Griffin III fumble for a touchdown that proved to be the difference in a 17-16 Week 13 home victory against the New York Giants.
On defense, outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (above, #91) and cornerback DeAngelo Hall are prime candidates to step up and provide big plays for the Redskins. Kerrigan led Washington with 8.5 sacks in 2012. His play has been solid, if not spectacular. Hall limited Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver Dez Bryant to four catches in Washington’s 28-18 playoff clinching season finale. Kerrigan and Hall have provided big plays via interception returns for touchdowns in the past for Washington. Those types of plays are momentum changers that can spur a team to victory.
The Redskins have established a seven game winning streak thanks to the contributions of players other than RG3, Morris, and Fletcher. If Washington can continue that formula, they could reach the NFC Divisional playoffs, and beyond.