LANDOVER, Md. (CBSDC) — Sunday began with so much promise for the Redskins. Robert Griffin III led Washington’s offense to touchdowns on their first two possessions and whipped the largest postseason crowd in team history into a frenzy.
And then the momentum shifted in a big way.
Just before his second touchdown pass of the afternoon, Griffin was knocked to the ground and came up lame. Following the drive he would enter an examination booth behind the Redskins bench. Although he would return, he would not be the same and the Redskins’ dream season cam crashing down with a 24-14 loss to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
Seven wins, their first NFC East title since 1999 and a remarkable run crumbled as Griffin lay on the ground, writhing in pain in the fourth quarter. His braced knee buckled as he tried to scoop a low snap near their own end zone.
84,325 held their collective breath and teammates took a knee while the heralded rookie lay down in pain. He would walk off the field under his own power and the watchful eye of Dr. James Andrews, shaking hands on his way out.
Shortly thereafter Washington would officially announce what was already known — his day was over.
The decision to leave him in the game was heavily scrutinized in the bowels of the stadium at the game’s conclusion. Both Mike Shanahan and Griffin fielded endless questions from reporters regarding the quarterback’s health after he was injured in the first quarter.
Griffin said the decision to remain in the game was his.
Shanahan reiterated his belief there is a difference between being hurt and being injured — the later of which means you cannot play. For his part, Griffin informed his coach he was simply hurt and could remain in the game.
“My job is to be out there if I can play,” Griffin said. “I don’t feel like me being out there hurt the team in any way. I’m the best option for this team and that’s why I’m the starter.”
The stat-line on Griffin’s first postseason outing: 10-of-19, 84 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 sacks, 1 interception and a 77.5 passer rating.
Kirk Cousins was unable to recreate th’e’s same magic he had when taking over for a concussed Griffin against Atlanta in Week 5. Nor did he have the same luck as he did in his first career start when he led Washington to a 38-21 win over the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 16.
This day of rookie quarterbacks would belong to Seattle’s Wilson who did not panic and forged out a win for the 11-win wildcard team.
The 24-year-old bested Griffin by completing 15-of-26 passes for 187 yards and a score en route to the victory.
Washington defense kept them in the game as their offense went dormant — keeping Seattle’s high-powered offense at bay thanks in large part to a career best showing by Reed Doughty.
The veteran safety accounted for two of Washington’s five sacks.