The Seattle Seahawks didn’t exactly get out to the start they were hoping for on Sunday, getting down by two touchdowns early. However they were able to overcome the sluggish start as well as a key goal line fumble by Marshawn Lynch in order to beat the Washington Redskins. The win at Washington solidified the Seahawks as a real contender seeing that their weakness this season has been winning on the road.
While the injury to Robert Griffin III was horrible, and may effect his ability to play at the beginning of next season, there was an equally unfortunate and more pressing injury suffered by Seattle on Sunday. Star defensive lineman Chris Clemons suffered a torn ACL and meniscus which will keep him out for the remainder of the season. This is a huge blow to the Seahawks since they pride themselves on the stinginess of their defense, a group that gave up the least points per game in the NFL this season. Clemons is the Seahawks most consistent pass rusher and often eats up double teams, which creates opportunities for other players such as Bruce Irvin, to make plays. Even though he is only a rookie, Irvin will have to figure out how to remain an effective pass rusher without Clemons opposite him wreaking havoc.
The good news for the Seattle Seahawks defense is that they still have two of the most physical cornerbacks in the NFL in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. They will need them come Sunday when they take on one of the best receiving tandems in the league in Roddy White and Julio Jones. The Atlanta Falcons love taking deep shots down the field, especially to Jones. It will be a tall order for Sherman and Browner to keep up with White and Jones, but if they can jam them at the line and disrupt their timing with Matt Ryan the Seattle secondary may be able to keep the explosive Falcons in check.
Russell Wilson appears to have shown that he has what it takes to not only win in the playoffs, but win on the road in the playoffs. He showed poise and confidence on Sunday, not getting rattled when the Seahawks got down early. Wilson and the Seahawks coaches did an excellent job of sticking to their game plan and it paid dividends in the end. The Seahawks need to remember how well they handled their early deficit against Washington because they might find themselves in a similar predicament against Atlanta, and the Falcons defense is not as generous as that of the Redskins.