Would the Washington Redskins Have Matched Up Better vs. Atlanta Falcons?
In a phenomenal game between the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons, the dirty birds found a way to get their first playoff victory with Matt Ryan at quarterback. The Falcons jumped out to an early 20-0 lead, and held on against a relentless Seahawks team to win 30-28. They will host the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday for the NFC championship game.
When watching this game, I couldn’t help but wonder how the Washington Redskins would have fared against Atlanta. They faced one another earlier this season, where the Falcons sneaked out a 24-17 win. In that game however, Robert Griffin III went out with a concussion late in the third quarter. Once he did go out, all of a sudden Atlanta woke up and started making plays offensively. Kirk Cousins came in to relieve Griffin, but couldn’t do enough to sustain drives and lead the Skins to a victory.
I know I know, that was the regular season and was way back in week five. Well, the Baltimore Ravens were dominated by the Denver Broncos on their home-field in the regular season, but bounced back to win Saturday. Just shows the regular season is meaningless once the playoffs begins.
Don’t get me wrong, the Seahawks played an exceptional game—in the second half. If their first half performance was anything close to how they played after halftime, they may be the ones headed to the NFC championship. Russell Wilson was outstanding and made an even stronger case for offensive rookie of the year. He broke the record for most passing yards by a rookie QB in a playoff game, throwing for 385 yards. However, there are some things that the Redskins could have done a little better against Atlanta.
Being the number one ranked rushing offense, Washington could have run the ball and controlled the clock versus the Falcons. Marshawn Lynch had a rough day running the ball. He only rushed for 46 yards on 16 carries, not “Beast Mode” like. The Redskins don’t usually get off to slow starts the way the Seahawks did. Seattle didn’t score in the first half, which made it an uphill battle to climb back into the game. The Seahawks and Falcons both forced two turnovers, but the Redskins usually wins the turnover battle. They were ranked in the top five in the league in turnover differential.
Not to say Seattle didn’t deserve to be there, because they did. Just were a few areas in the game where the Seahawks struggled, that the Redskins may have excelled. Of course, to add to that, Griffin may not have had the opportunity to play against Atlanta if Washington were to win last week. So this is all hypothetically speaking, but would have definitely been interesting to watch.
Congratulations to the Atlanta Falcons, they deserved to finally get that monkey off their back. Luckily for them, they didn’t have to play the Washington Redskins Sunday.
Redskins columnist/Josiah Turner