What Does RG3's Injury Mean for Redskins, Washington's Playoff Hopes?

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IDecember 9, 2012

December 9, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) is sacked by Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger (99) in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins had to complete their comeback against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday without quarterback Robert Griffin III, who left after suffering a sprained knee late in the fourth quarter. 

Kai Forbath's field goal in overtime sent the Redskins to a 31-28 win, improving Washington's record to 7-6. But the playoff hopes of this football team will still hinge on the health of Griffin's knee over the final three games. 

UPDATE: ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday night that Griffin III has no major tears in either his ACL or MCL, but his status for Week 15 is still not clear.

Griffin was hurt on a scramble in the final minute of the fourth quarter with the Redskins down 28-20. At the end of the run, Ravens defensive end Haloti Ngata made direct contact with Griffin's right knee. 

The knee appeared to violently hyperextend. After staying in the game for four more plays, Griffin had to be helped from the field by trainers. 

He finished the day 15-of-26 passing for 246 yards and a touchdown. Griffin also added 34 yards on seven rushes. 

As trainers examined his knee—the same knee Griffin hurt his sophomore year at Baylor—backup quarterback and fellow rookie Kirk Cousins entered the game and found Pierre Garcon for a 12-yard touchdown. On the two-point conversion, Cousins ran into the end zone to tie the game. 

The Redskins would later win the game on a short field goal, but Griffin's injury status remains the biggest storyline coming from Washington. 

At 7-6, the Redskins are now strong contenders in both the NFC East and NFC wild-card races. Without Griffin for the final three games, chances that Washington is able to beat out both the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys in the division and a host of NFC teams for the wild card fall dramatically. 

That remains true even with a backup like Cousins, who calmly tied the game for Washington.  

The Redskins finish the 2012 season at Cleveland (now 5-8), at Philadelphia (beat Tampa Bay Sunday) and home against Dallas (now 7-6, beat Cincinnati Sunday). Those won't be easy wins, especially if Griffin is out of the lineup. 

Luckily for Washington, it appears as if the injury might not be season-ending. 

According to John Keim of the Washington Examiner, Griffin's knee was sore but he wanted to go back into the game. He'll undergo an MRI to check out any potential damage. 

The Redskins will keep their fingers crossed throughout the week. If Griffin has to miss the rest of the season, Washington's playoff chances in 2012 might just go with him.