“Honestly, the kick was perfect,” Brown said. “I hit a great ball and unfortunately the upright got right in the way.”
The fates are truly shining on the Redskins so far this season. They are 3-0 for the first time since 1991 with victories by two points, one point and three points. They won with Nick Novak, who had never attempted an NFL field goal until Sunday, yet had the cool to nail a 39-yard winner in overtime for a 20-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
“The emotions are just going crazy around here,” linebacker Marcus Washington said. “We get into those ugly, Rocky Balboa-type fights. We just keep banging, scratching and find a way to just pull this thing out. It’s not always pretty, but a win is a win.”
The Redskins are cornering the market on late-game mood swings after their 14-point fourth-quarter comeback win over Dallas two weeks ago. This time, they blew a late lead and tempted fate by committing a turnover that gave Brown his 47-yard attempt. He was so sure it was good he raised his hands in victory before it clanked off the goalpost.
Instead, Novak got to celebrate, running toward the bench and pumping his fist after his kick 5:31 into overtime. Novak, a rookie from Maryland, was playing his second NFL game—he didn’t get to attempt a field goal against the Cowboys. His first attempt Sunday was blocked in the first quarter, and he had to kick the winner twice because the Redskins were called for delay of game.
“It’s tough to think about the magnitude of what just happened,” said Novak, who also made a 40-yarder in the third quarter. “All I know is we’re 3-0.”
Novak, playing because of an injury to John Hall, has impressed teammates with his cool demeanor. He was overcome with emotion only once during his post-game interviews—when he dedicated the kick to a friend.
“I have a neighbor back home that has cancer and is expected to pass away,” he said. “That kick was for her.”
The Seahawks (2-2) were as emotionally exhausted as the Redskins. They had tied the game on Darrell Jackson’s 6-yard catch with 1:23 remaining. Then came Kelly Herndon’s interception on a pass deflected off the outstretched fingertips of Clinton Portis, the only turnover of the game. Three plays later, Brown hit the upright.
“They feel pretty bad in the locker room,” coach Mike Holmgren said. “This is a tough one to lose.”
Bobby Engram got two cracked two ribs on his first catch, but caught nine passes for 106 yards before leaving the game after three quarters. Matt Hasselbeck was 26-for-38 for 242 yards. Shaun Alexander, throttled for most of the game, came alive late to run for 98 yards on 20 carries, including a 3-yard run that cut the Redskins’ lead to 14-10 in the third quarter.
Mark Brunell hit unlikely targets Robert Royal and Mike Sellers for touchdowns and completed 20 of 36 passes for 226 yards. Santana Moss caught six passes for 87 yards, and Portis ran 25 times for 90 yards.
But the Redskins essentially won the game on third-and-long. They kept long drives alive by converting two third-and-13s and a third-and-10 in the first half. After winning the toss at the start of overtime, they drove downfield with a third-and-10 pass to Moss for 13 yards, an 18-yard scramble by Brunell on third-and-9, and a 30-yard over-the-middle pass to Moss on third-and-10—a reprise of the Brunell-to-Moss magic that won the Dallas game.
On third downs, Brunell was 11-for-15 for 138 yards. He simply wore down the Seattle defense with a 21:57-to-8:03 domination of time of possession in the first half.
“We didn’t get off the field today,” linebacker Kevin Bentley said. “It hurt us in the end.”
Trailing 17-10, the Seahawks started a drive at their 9 with 7:42 remaining. They converted a fourth-and-1 at their 35 when Hasselbeck scrambled 10 yards. Hasselbeck later hit Jackson for the touchdown to tie the game.
But the final drama lay with the kicks—the one that missed and the one that went through.
“I’m really, truly and completely drained,” Washington coach Joe Gibbs said.
Holmgren said he didn’t think Engram will practice this week because of the rib injury. … Redskins S Sean Taylor went out of the game late with a sore shoulder. … Sellers’ TD was his first since 2001 with Cleveland. He spent 2002 and 2003 in the CFL. … The Seahawks (119 yards) broke the Redskins’ seven-game streak of allowing fewer than 100 yards rushing.