Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III scaled new heights Sunday night as the Redskins took on the Seahawks. Shanahan’s stupidity and RGIII’s stubbornness could have severely limited Griffin’s career as well as set back the franchise.
Griffin aggravated his knee in the first quarter and Shanahan kept him in the game. Washington were 14-0 up at that point. Griffin is alleged to have been in pain but ok to carry on, with many pundits claiming they would have left the former Baylor man in the game. Anyone watching could see that Griffin was ailing.
The Washington offense slowed after that first quarter as the Seattle D only had to worry about covering the receivers and stopping Alfred Morris on the ground. The fact that Griffin suffered a further set back in the fourth quarter is no surprise, the extent of this injury is not yet known but a suspected ACL tear and damage to his lateral collateral ligaments in his right knee, the same one injured in 2009 while the quarterback was at Baylor, could keep him out for up to a year.
While it is understandable that Griffin, as a proud and undeniably gutsy young man, didn’t want to leave the game, Shanahan keeping him in was a disastrous decision. As Sky Sports pundit Neil Reynolds said “He (Shanahan) let down the 52 other guys on the roster”.
Of course RGIII is the face of this franchise, and its future, but Kirk Cousins should have played the final three quarters. It has been suggested that as the Redskins chose to play Griffin in the must-win game against the Cowboys, he should have played against the Seahawks. This is in part true, but once it was clear he couldn’t perform to his high standards why was Cousins not given the chance? After all if Griffin had been subbed out in quarter two, he wouldn’t have been in the shotgun formation in the fourth quarter and subsequently on the receiving end of Center Will Montgomery’s terrible snap, which caused his knee to buckle after his foot caught in the turf.
Kirk Cousins has performed well enough in his very short stints under centre for the Redskins and could have perhaps given the offense an injection that is seemingly lacked. Cousins may have been able to open up the offense for Alfred Morris to do his work, instead it was the defense that had to carry the team, which they did to good effect until
Ultimately, we will never know whether Russell Wilson would still have driven the Seahawks to the win over a fully fit RGIII, but it is now Wilson who is pushing his way to the top of the rookie of the year award chart. If Wilson can take the Seahawks one step further and into the NFC championship game it would be hard to argue against him, despite the stellar play of Andrew Luck and Griffin this season.
The focus for Griffin now is to rehab that knee and to look back on a largely superb rookie year, with a mixture of pride and anguish at what might have been.
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