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No offense leaves 'Skins defenseless

January 15, 2006|By JOSEPH WHITE

SEATTLE -

One, two, three, punt. One, two, three, punt.

And so it went for the Washington Redskins. Five straight three-and-outs to open the game. Only 74 total yards at halftime. Only 140 after three quarters.

The Redskins' improbable playoff run collapsed Saturday not because they ran out of lucky breaks - they had plenty of those - but because the offense simply couldn't move the ball consistently.

The same thing happened last week, and they got away with it. Not this time. The offense came alive far too late in a 20-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

"We just needed to keep the ball in our hands and convert those third downs and get some points," quarterback Mark Brunell said. "But we just didn't do it."

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The Redskins turned tipped passes and recovered fumbles into a 17-10 victory at Tampa Bay last week despite only 120 yards of total offense, an all-time low for a winning team in a playoff game. Against Seattle, they were the lucky recipients of unforced turnovers that kept the game close in the first half, plus a bizarre touchdown pass that restored hope in the fourth quarter.

By the time the Redskins got in gear with a career-long 52-yard reception by Chris Cooley early in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks were firmly in control with a 17-3 lead. Then came another fluke - Santana Moss caught a touchdown pass that deflected off Andre Dyson's helmet in the end zone - and another unlikely playoff victory for coach Joe Gibbs seemed, perhaps, within reach.

The good karma continued when kicker John Hall recovered Josh Scobey's fumble on the ensuring kickoff, but the Redskins' run of good fortune ended there, when Hall hooked a 36-yard field goal attempt wide left.

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