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Redskins Ride Strong Fan Backing At Home


In perhaps the biggest regular season game ever played at FedExField, the Redskins had the backing of their fan base, which showed up in force.

The announced attendance of 82,845 fans was the most since the Redskins hosted the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12 of the 2010 season (83,602), and was the NFL-leading 376th consecutive home sellout for the team.

The raucous atmosphere was not lost on the players, who credited the Redskins' 12th Man with the inhospitable environment for the visiting Dallas Cowboys.

"Our fans were strong today," nose tackle Barry Cofield noted. "Redskins nation is the best fan nation in the world, so we've got to represent at home."

Attendance numbers are for more than vanity purposes, as the noise level impacts communication on the field.  For defensive players, this noise is exciting. For opposing offenses, it can be treacherous.

"It was electrifying.  I couldn't even hear myself talk," said defensive end Stephen Bowen.  "We did a good job still communicating and we just did it play by play.  We got three turnovers and that was the game."

In the wildcard round next Sunday, the Redskins will host the Seattle Seahawks, a team renowned for its rowdy fan base.

The Seahawks were a perfect 8-0 at home this season, but struggled away from the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field, going just 3-5 on the road.

Quarterback Russell Wilson tied the NFL rookie touchdown passing mark (26) held by Peyton Manning, and brings a dual dynamic to the game plan.

"They've got a great offense and defense," Bowen said.  "They've got a great scheme.  We've got our work cut out for us, but I think we'll get it done."

Much like the Redskins, the Seahawks are riding a hot streak to the playoffs, winners of five-straight and seven of the last eight.

The Redskins, winners of seven-straight, share a common mentality with the Seahawks and will bring a similar approach to the game.

"It's been a long year with peaks and valleys. It's about being hot at the right time," Cofield said. "Whether we knew it or not, we've been playing playoff games for a long time here.

"I'm just really proud of the guys; a lot of guys in the locker room have never experienced something like this."

Team cohesion was never more apparent than on defense, where pressure from the front-seven forced three Tony Romo interceptions, in addition to the two sacks.

"That's a testament to [defensive coordinator Jim Haslett] and the plan he had," Cofield said.  "The coaching staff put us in the correct position to play well tonight; my hat is off to them.

"been making some timely plays, forcing some turnovers. This was a great dress rehearsal for us and hopefully we respond the exact same way next week."

If the Redskins hope to continue their magical 2012 season another week, they will need the backing of the Redskins' fan base at FedExField.

"Hopefully they'll be strong again next week," Cofield said of the fans. "We've got to take advantage of the home field advantage."




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