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Washington 14, Seattle 3

Nov. 3, 2002 at 10:37 PM   |   Comments

SEATTLE, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Using a conservative game plan that was in sharp contrast to Coach Steve Spurrier's normal "Fun 'N' Gun" offense, the Washington Redskins battled past the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, 14-3.

"We're excited and happy to win and hopefully we can play a lot better than this in Jacksonville next week," Spurrier said.

After the opening kickoff, the Redskins (4-4) drove 46 yards to the Seattle 34 before stalling. On several occasions this season, Spurrier has elected to attempt fourth-down conversions when Washington stood just outside of field goal range, no matter how much yardage he needed.

In this case, the Redskins faced fuorth and five and Bryan Barker pinned the Seahawks with a punt to the three.

When Seattle (2-6) went three-and-out, the Redskins got the ball back with great field position and drove 41 yards in seven plays to score the only points they would need.

Rookie running back Kenny Watson ran for 27 yards on that drive and had an enormous game in his first career start, rushing for 110 yards on 23 carries against the NFL's worst run defense.

Watson played in place of Stephen Davis, who sat out with a sprained knee.

"I tried to play the game in my head all week," Watson said. "We wanted to come out here and win. For me, I just wanted to fill some big shoes left by number 48. Stephen was in my ear all week helping me out and during the game as well. He supported me from the beginning."

The Seahawks could not cash in on good field position. Seattle took the ball inside the Washington 30 on four occasions and could only come up with a 23-yard field goal by Rian Lindell at the beginning of the second quarter.

On their other possessions deep inside Redskins territory, Seattle went for it on fourth down, resulting in a fumble and two sacks. Had the Seahawks opted for a Lindell field goal on fourth and four from the 15 with 2:41 left, they could have cut the Redskins' lead to eight points and gone for an onside kick.

"At the end of the game, we have to score a touchdown, not a field goal," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "So you come away empty there. We were down there and I thought we had a couple of pretty good plays to call in that situation.

"Given how we're playing on offense lately, I thought it was worth the risk. I'm not kicking myself for that decision too much. As it turns out, it would have made the game a little bit more interesting had we kicked the field goal. But that one I can live with just a little bit."

Such struggles and decisions were part of the reason that Seattle lost despite outgaining Washington, 324-259 and possessing the ball for 34:58.

"That is how we have been all year," said Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander, who carried 19 times for 67 yards. "We are playing well and then we make another mistake. That is just how we are. We just have to win a game."

Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck completed 28 of 44 passes for 264 yards, including eight for 100 yards to Koren Robinson, for whom the receptions represented a career high.

"You've got to like it," Robinson said. "But you've got to win games. Those are just stats, and they're fine and dandy, but if you don't get the victory, then it's worthless. We need to find a way to finish these games."

Hasselbeck had significantly better numbers than the Redskins' Shane Matthews, but Matthews tossed a pair of touchdown passes among his 10 completions. In 27 attempts, Matthews threw for 114 yards.

"They had eight guys up there on the line most of the day," Spurrier said. "If we can't throw against that, we are in for a long day."

"Obviously, I would like to have thrown the ball a little better today," Matthews said. "The line played very well today and our defense made some unbelievable plays when we needed them to. A win is a win and we are now 4-4. A lot of teams would like to be where we are."

Washington's defensive effort included a big day for veteran defensive end Bruce Smith. The 39-year-old had two sacks and forced a fumble, including one with 12 seconds left in the first half when Seattle had fourth and goal at the Washington two.

"Bruce Smith had a pretty big game rushing the passer and our guys hung in there and kept them out of the end zone," Spurrier said. "Our red zone defense was crucial to winning the game."

Seattle fell for the third time in four games at Seahawks Stadium. It was a costly defeat as linebacker Chad Brown suffered a broken right foot that will require surgery on Monday.

"It's the top of the foot and he's going to have some hardware put in there to hold it together," Holmgren said.

Seattle safety Marcus Robertson also had to leave the game with a concussion.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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