Washington Uses Physicality to Top Seattle and Move Into an NFC Playoff Spot

WFT uses familiar formula to top Seattle, move into playoff spot originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

For its Monday matchup with the Seattle Seahawks, the Washington Football Team decided to apply the formula that it used in its past two wins over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers. 

Because of that, the franchise's winning streak is another game longer after a 17-15 victory and the squad is now sitting in the NFC’s seventh and final playoff spot.

Isn't that amazing to read?

Like the Burgundy and Gold — actually, based on their uniforms in prime time, let’s call them the Burgundy and Burgundy — did in both Weeks 10 and 11, they easily won the time of possession battle over Seattle.

Out of an hour of action, Washington controlled the ball for a "that-can't-be-right-oh-wow-it-is-right" 41-plus minutes.

A major reason they were able to accomplish that is thanks to yet another bruising effort by the offense’s rushing attack, which is currently the club’s calling card.

Antonio Gibson totaled 29 attempts on the ground (a career high) and racked up 111 yards, while JD McKissic chipped in with 30 and a touchdown (in addition to his receiving score, too) before leaving with an apparent head injury late in the game.

Then there was the defense, a unit that was once an anchor (in a negative way) but has now become an anchor (in a positive way). Yes, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was mostly erratic for a third-consecutive start, but defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s group also contributed to the star quarterback’s dud with consistent effort and largely solid coverage — well, at least until the Seahawks' final drive which nearly ruined the festivities at FedEx Field.

But it didn't. Overall, the visitors were 4-of-12 on third down and generated just 267 yards altogether.

Now out of Washington’s last three victories, this one was likely the least inspiring. Taylor Heinicke chucked a first-half interception, Joey Slye had an extra point blocked and returned for two points the other way and, lastly, the hosts went through spells where they relied more on their opponent’s futility than anything else. And, again, if it weren't for Kendall Fuller's interception on the Seahawks' two-point conversion, this story would be a lot more tame. 

Despite the night's imperfect qualities, Ron Rivera will still feel proud of the effort his players produced. Ever since the bye week, his outfit has morphed into a super physical team that treats its foes the same way it does obstacles like injuries or tough breaks: By plowing right through them.

Next up for Washington is a trip to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders this coming Sunday. The preparation for that tilt will have to be crammed into a short week, the trip out to Allegiant Stadium will be long and dispatching the Silver and Black, who will be well-rested and confident after besting the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, will be difficult.

As long as Washington brings its formula, however, you've got to like the odds. It may be old-fashioned, it may be a bit boring — but it's downright effective.

It's also why the postseason suddenly — and miraculously — seems tangible for the organization. 

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