There were errant passes, situational gaffs, costly interceptions and just three points during the first seven possession.
But with the Washington Football Team trailing, 20-3, and about five minutes to play in the third quarter, quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. completely turned a disappointing performance around.
There was the 14-play, 96-yard drive that ended with running back Peyton Barber's one-yard touchdown, and the offense followed that up by going 11 plays and 64 yards to pull within one score. On 2nd-and-4 from the six, Haskins faked a handoff to J.D. McKissic and then hit the pass-catching running back in the flat. McKissic did the rest, waltzing into the end zone to make the score 20-15 with about seven minutes to play.
Although Washington eventually suffered a 20-15 defeat -- Haskins' fourth-down Hail Mary fell incomplete -- Haskins displayed the fight and resilience this team has shown all season. It just was not enough to avoid a loss, the team's first in more than a month.
Check out photos of the Washington Football Team during its Week 15 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. (Photos courtesy of Amanda Bowen/NFL, Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team and Elijah Griffin Sr./Washington Football)
Haskins, after struggling for much of the afternoon, finished 38-of-55 for 295 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. His two favorite targets were tight end Logan Thomas (career-high 13 receptions for 101 yards) and wide receiver Terry McLaurin (seven receptions for 77 yards), but McKissic (nine receptions for 56 yards) was also heavily involved. McKissic finished with 107 total yards in place of running back Antonio Gibson, who missed his second straight game with a toe injury.
Defensively, Daron Payne made his first interception off yet another batted pass from edge rusher Montez Sweat. Six players made at least five tackles, with rookie safety Kam Curl leading the way with eight.
Washington (6-8) remains in first place in the NFC East, but it'll drop to second if the New York Giants defeat the Cleveland Browns on Sunday Night Football.
Washington's valiant comeback attempt came after yet another slow start. During the first three drives, the offense looked a lot like it did during the second half against the San Francisco 49ers. The unit combined for 34 yards and punted three times, leaving the defense to deal with Russell Wilson and Seattle's high-flying attack for much of the opening 20 minutes.
The defense bent but did not break, forcing the Seahawks into a pair of field goals to keep Washington in the game. And on the fourth offensive possession, Haskins relied almost solely on Thomas to progress down the field. Courtesy of four catches for 44 yards from Thomas, Washington was inside the opponent's 30-yard line for the first time all afternoon.
But after Haskins' first interception -- a forced throw that tipped off Isaiah Wright's hands and into the arms of a defender -- the defense allowed Seattle to go 97 yards to go ahead, 13-0. And after salvaging a poor first half with a 48-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins, Washington came out in the third quarter and allowed the Seahawks to gain 75 rushing yards on four plays, including a 50-yard touchdown from running back Carlos Hyde.
From there, Washington dominated on both sides of the ball. It slowly progressed down the field on offense and limited Wilson (18-for-27, 121 yards) on defense. However, with the ball at the Seattle 23-yard line with 78 seconds to play, Haskins threw an incompletion and then took two sacks to set up a 4th-and-24. That forced him into a Hail Mary attempt that fell incomplete to end the game.