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Seahawks say they can’t take game at Washington lightly

Gregg Bell Tacoma News Tribune

LANDOVER, Md. – For openers, they faced Aaron Rodgers. Then came Philip Rivers. After that, Peyton Manning.

So excuse the Seahawks’ defensive backs and pass rushers if they aren’t exactly spooked by tonight’s date with … Kirk Cousins?

After all, Washington’s fill-in for dynamic Robert Griffin III just got done throwing four interceptions and losing a fumble in the Redskins’ last game. That was a 31-point loss at home to the previously inert New York Giants that left Washington 1-3.

Leave it to All-Pro, all-real, no-nonsense safety Earl Thomas to keep his Seahawks from falling into the this-will-be-easy trap.

“From last week watching (the Redskins) play the Giants, I kind of took it as they were kind of sleeping on the Giants. They didn’t think the Giants were going to come in there and do what they did.” Thomas said. “So we can’t watch that tape and feel like they’re going to do that against us. We’re going to give everybody the best shot.”

The tape the Seahawks may want to watch is Washington’s 37-34 loss to Philadelphia two games ago. In that one Cousins threw for 427 yards and three touchdowns.

Problem for the Redskins: Seattle hasn’t played in 15 days and is, in the words of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, “excited to get back to football.”

“Super Bowl champions,” Washington’s glib, first-year coach Jay Gruden said. “It will be a …”

Then he chuckled.

“… a nice little outing for us at home.

“They really don’t have a weakness.”

But, ah, yes they do.

One of their bigger ones will be a key to whether the Seahawks take care of the business they should here – or drop to an unacceptable 2-2.

Thomas and his defensive mates are allowing opponents to convert 49 percent of their third downs into first downs. Only Oakland is worse at allowing third-down conversions, by a mere percentage point.

The Seahawks’ last game, Sept. 21’s overtime win against Denver, was the first time this season they had kept someone under 40 percent on third downs; the Broncos converted six of 16 (38 percent).

As Gruden said: “If you’re ever going to look at stats and be a stat guy, third down and turnovers is probably where you could end.”

The last time the Seahawks went on the road, Sept. 14 at San Diego, the defense allowed Rivers and the Chargers to cash in on 10 of 17 third downs. That kept Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Percy Harvin and the multi-threat Seahawks offense from running any more than 40 plays that day.

Kam Chancellor is a key to Seattle’s fortunes tonight. The hard-hitting strong safety can keep the Redskins from controlling field position and much of tonight’s game with the rugged running of Alfred Morris.

Chancellor will be playing after two weeks of rest for the bone spurs in his ankles that so pained him in San Diego three weeks ago he looked like he was running in a tar pit trying to cover Antonio Gates. Chancellor says new, higher-cut, mid-top shoes have him feeling like his usual, thudding self.

So much for his fears last month he would need surgery and miss many games. Chancellor says he’s refreshed for the Redskins.

“No concerns,” he said with a smile, “nope.”

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