RG3 said it was his call to stay in the game. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan admitted that he deferred to his rookie quarterback. We've yet to hear what renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews thought during this game but it's already been reported that he's not necessarily on the same page as everyone else on the Redskins' sideline. Regardless of who had the final say, a visibly-hampered Robert Griffin III remained on the field against the Seattle Seahawks deep into the fourth quarter on Sunday until another hard-to-watch knee injury ended his night.
Even before Griffin's right knee buckled as he tried to field a low snap, FOX play-by-play announcer Joe Buck speculated that the Redskins might be better off turning to back-up Kirk Cousins. Social media was abuzz with talk about Cousins, as well.
Such a move may have protected Griffin from further injury after he quite clearly re-aggravated his preexisting knee injury during the team's second drive of the first quarter. It was also possible that Washington's other rookie quarterback could have provided a spark to the stalled offense.
"I think everybody could see after the first quarter that [Robert] wasn't exactly the same," Shanahan said after the Redskins' 24-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, via the Redskins' official Twitter account. Despite conceding that RG3 was limited, Shanahan insisted that it was still in the quarterback's "best interest" to remain in the game.
With his best interests apparently being looked out for by his head coach, Griffin remained in the game as the Seahawks erased the Redskins' 14-0 lead and surged ahead. Trailing 21-14 with just over seven minutes on the clock, RG3 and the Washington offense took possession of the ball at their own 24-yard line. On first down, an unusually stationary Griffin was sacked for a 12-yard loss. On second down, center Will Montgomery delivered a snap to Griffin, who was standing several steps back in a shotgun formation. The snap was low. As Griffin reached down to corral it, his right knee buckled underneath him.
The ball was loose just steps from the end zone but Griffin was immobile not far from it, unable to get up and retrieve it. The Seahawks pounced on the ball, setting up a first-and-goal situation for Russell Wilson. Although the Washington defense would hold Seattle to a field goal, that score would be the last of the game.
After being attended to by trainers on the field, Griffin would eventually walk off the field without assistance, as fans chanted his acronym. RG3 would not return to the game, however, as Cousins played out the remainder of the season-ending defeat. After the game, the decision -- or indecision -- surrounding RG3's playing time and his eventual injury during the fourth quarter was the hot topic.
"It's a simple process," Griffin told reporters after the game when asked about the decision process to keep him in the game despite being less than 100%. "Mike asked me if I was OK. I said, "Yes." I'm the quarterback of this team. My job is to be out there if I can play. The only time I couldn't play was when I went down. I took myself out the game."
Despite Griffin's attempt to absolve his coach of any responsibility for his injury, not everyone agreed, notably Houston Texans running back Derrick Ward.
Fueling the calls to sit and protect Griffin was the knowledge that Cousins had handled himself adeptly in a pinch already this season. The Michigan State product replaced Griffin after he was knocked from Week 14 game against the Baltimore Ravens with an injury to that same knee. Diagnosed with a sprained LCL, Griffin missed the team's Week 15 game against the Cleveland Browns. Not only did Cousins lead the Skins to a comeback win versus the Ravens but he threw for more than 300 yards in a win at Cleveland.
"I was not happy with the decision," said Griffin about being rested against the Browns. "That's the decision they went with and I respect that. It doesn't mean I have to necessarily like it. I feel like I could have played this week, next week, the week after. But that's not my decision."
Sporting a bulky knee brace, Griffin did get the starting nod in the final two weeks of the regular season, piloting the Redskins to crucial wins over the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Despite appearing to be quite hampered by his injury in those games, Griffin managed to keep the offense in gear.
After Griffin re-aggravated his injury during the team's second scoring drive of the first quarter on Sunday, the offense stalled. With Griffin hardly running and seeming unable to throw with authority, the Redskins mounted just one drive into Seahawks' territory for the remainder of the game. Even if Griffin wanted to remain in the game, perhaps his coach should have disappointed him as he had ahead of that game against Cleveland, sitting him down for his own good and for the good of the team. Let us know what you think.