Everyone watching the Redskins and Seahawks play could see Robert Griffin III becoming more and more hobbled as the game went on. Troy Aikman and Joe Buck wondered if Griffin should come out, and made the point that he was vulnerable because of the injury. Most fans at home had to be seeing the same thing and asking the same question.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan apparently never saw it. And now Shanahan has to answer why Griffin was even in the game when his already injured knee buckled in an absolutely ugly, horrible way despite his knee being in a brace. With every snap he stayed in the game on his unstable knee, this become more and more of a risk. He wasn't effective in the game, either. But Shanahan kept putting him out there. When you have just one playoff win in more than a decade like Shanahan does, you make some odd choices.
"I think everybody could see after the first quarter that he wasn't always exactly the same, but I've got a lot of players that aren't exactly the same. There's not a lot of quarterbacks that are exactly time this time of year," Shanahan said after the game. "But I still thought he could go in there and make the plays he was capable of making against an excellent defense."
Griffin looked hobbled for most of the game, running with a severe limp, sailing his passes high. He wasn't right. He was trying to gut it out when he shouldn't have been.
"Robert said to me, 'Coach, there's a difference between injured and being hurt," Shanahan said. "'I can guarantee I'm hurting right now, give me a chance to win this football game because I guarantee I'm not injured.' That was enough for me."
This is a good time to remind everyone that Dr. James Andrews came out and, well, basically called Shanahan a liar about his explanation of why Griffin went back in the game after he initially hurt the knee against Baltimore. Shanahan said Andrews said it was OK for Griffin to go back in. Andrews said he never talked to Griffin and it "scared the hell" out of him to see Griffin back in the game. So, if we're to believe one of the most well-respected doctors in the United States, Shanahan has a history of gambling on his young quarterback's health already.
In the fourth quarter against Seattle, Griffin reached down to get a bad snap, and his knee buckled without any contact. He went down on the ground and stayed there for a while. The television replay showed his knee twisting in a gruesome way.
If Griffin's knee injury is bad - he was still on the sideline after Kirk Cousins belatedly replaced him, so hopefully the brace saved his ACL - that's a much worse outcome for the Redskins than losing a playoff game. Griffin has given Washington's franchise more hope than it has had in more than a decade.
That's something Shanahan shouldn't have been gambling with. Griffin wasn't going to ask out of a playoff game. Shanahan needs to make that call. He should have made that call when Griffin went back in the Baltimore game (and when he apparently decided to blame Dr. Andrews instead). He failed then, he failed Sunday, and he's lucky if his bad decisions doesn't have a long-term impact on one of the NFL's brightest stars.
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