The 4-6 Washington Football Team and 3-7 Seattle Seahawks have both had challenging seasons thus far, and this Monday night matchup may not have the national appeal as other games before or upcoming.
Coming into the season it was expected that WFT's defense would be able to carry the team to a second consecutive NFC East division title, but that defense from last year has struggled at times in 2021.
Washington finds itself just two games back of the East-leading Dallas Cowboys, who have faltered lately losing three of their last four games.
Washington has won two in a row with wins over Tampa Bay and Carolina and looks to keep the momentum going Monday against a reeling Seattle team.
Last week against Arizona, Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson was completely out of sync, completing just 14-of-26 passes for 207 yards. The Seattle offense could not sustain drives and converted just two out of 10 third-down opportunities against a stingy Cardinals defense.
On its second possession of the night, Washington took a 3-0 lead on a Joey Slye 23-yard field goal with 2:59 left in the quarter. That field goal capped off an impressive 15-play, 68-yard drive that took 9:25 off the clock.
Washington's defense began the game in the first quarter where it left off against the Panthers, stingy and aggressive.
But near the end of the quarter, a blown coverage by the Washington secondary left Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett uncovered on a third-and-1 and Wilson found him for 55 yards to the WFT 11 yard line.
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That set up a Wilson to Gerald Everett 6-yard touchdown pass giving the Seahawks the 7-0 lead with just 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The second quarter brought back the defensive battle we saw in the first, with teams exchanging short drives and punts, until the 4:40 mark when Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw a deep pass intended for WFT tight end Logan Thomas. The pass deflected off Thomas and into the waiting arms of Seattle's defensive back Jamal Adams at the Seahawks' 11.
But the resurgent Washington defense would get the ball back less than a minute later as Wilson passed to Seahawks running back Alex Collins, who fumbled after the catch, recovered by linebacker Cole Holcomb giving WFT a chance at the lead before halftime at its own 27.
The two-minute warning saw Washington at the Seattle 49 with a first-and-10 opportunity.
WFT would then move the ball down the field with the help of Seattle defensive penalties and score a touchdown on a Heinicke to J.D. McKissic 10-yard pass with just 56 seconds remaining, giving WFT the 9-3 lead, but on the extra point attempt, Seattle blocked the kick and ran the ball back for a defensive two-point conversion.
That tied the game 9-9, and after the WFT kickoff, Seattle went three-and-out and punted to WFT who ran one play to end the half.
Washington is doing all the right things defensively, it just needs to maintain the aggressiveness and intensity through the second half.