Seahawks Weather Early Storm to Move onto Atlanta, 'Skins Lose Griffin
Though the headlines tomorrow may focus on the loss of Robert Griffin III, not enough can be said about Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. Following a 14-0 first quarter, Wilson led his offense to 24 unanswered points and a trip to Atlanta to face the Falcons next week.
Griffin was visibly affected by his sprained knee, and his 84 passing yards are evidence that it affected more than just his running ability.
Washington's defense put up an admirable fight, the lack of offense had them fighting a losing battle. They couldn't keep Marshawn Lynch from rumbling for 132 yards and a touchdown, or Wilson from throwing and running for 254 combined yards.
The Redskins end their season on a somber note, while the Seahawks prove to be the hotter team, one that very few opponents wanted to see advance this week.
Final Score: Redskins 14, Seahawks 24
There is no better evidence of today's game being much different than 15 or 20 years ago than Mark Sclereth's response to Griffin's injury:
Stop blaming Shanny. Players want to play they demand it. You have to play hurt and injured in this league.— mark schlereth (@markschlereth) January 7, 2013
True, there will never be a time during a full NFL schedule where every player will be 100-percent, but when your franchise rookie can't run, can't plant on throws, and poses a threat to his own safety as well as proves to be a detriment to the team's overall performance, what that player demands does not matter.
It falls on the head coach to make the tough choice to pull him out of the game. The desire to win should not trump personal safety when there is visible evidence that an injury is not only worsening, but leaving a player open for unnecessary punishment and damage that could alter his career.
Can't tell if he's trying to save face by playing dumb, but Mike Shanahan should know better than to give the media any kind of room for interpretation.
Shanahan said that he didn't think there was any problem w griffin's throwing and ability to plant in pocket— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) January 7, 2013
The interception on the throw to Garcon down the field was short, which is uncharacteristic of Griffin. Watching his throwing motion would have revealed that Griffin was not putting his full weight on his leg, his injured leg, and losing both distance, velocity and accuracy on his throws.
Griffin will take full responsibility for the game, downplaying how his knee felt after the hit he took early in the game. Shanahan should shoulder some of the responsibility for not being more perceptive of how labored Griffin was on routine rollouts, dropbacks and runs.
Griffin's 84 passing yards are evidence of his ineffectiveness, and it all boils down to his knee injury. After the opening quarter, Griffin was visibly labored on inexplicably designed run calls, and couldn't plant on throws to fire it to his receivers.
Morris was held in check after a big first quarter, finishing with 80 yards on the day after picking up 68 in the first half.
Washington's offense suffered with a limited Griffin under center, and the issue was exacerbated by the poor play calling late in the game. Rather than switching to a quick fire offense, Kyle Shanahan opted to stay the course and call slow developing plays, leaving Griffin exposed.
Seven consecutive victories mean nothing when the end result is tainted by poor judgment from the head coach.
Already, Cousins has made a difference in the passing game. He has zip on his throws and getting the ball where only his receivers can get it.
ANOTHER bad snap forces Cousins to fall on it and salvage what he can from the play.
Cousins throws to Moss, who has Marcus Trufant all over his legs, but there is no call and the Redskins have to convert a third and 14. Not to blame the officials, but they have let Seattle's secondary get away with a ton of contact.
Seattle brings pressure on back to back plays, and forces Cousins into two desperate throws, but on fourth down, the Seahawks force the turnover on downs.
It seems fairly elementary at this point, as Seattle can end the game with a handful of runs and a few first downs to chew clock.
3:26 remaining Fourth Quarter
Griffin is up, but there is no way the Redskins can let him come back in the game. It took him going down after his knee gave out for them to see he is not fit to continue this game, and now it could cost them their playoff hopes.
I'm furious at Washington right now. RGIII should not have been out there.— J.A. Adande (@jadande) January 7, 2013
With all of the news coming out regarding Dr. James Andrews and the Redskins throwing Griffin back into the game without a formal injury examination, this turn of events looks particularly bad for Washington. They should have seen following their second touchdown, and the two quarters since, the RGIII is not himself.
Competitive spirit aside, a player's healthy has to come into play when he has been as important to the Redskins as Griffin has been.
5:43 remaining Fourth Quarter
The Redskins defense did all it could to keep Seattle off the scoreboard with the Redskins offense doing nothing since the first quarter.
Net yds: Seahawks 359, Redskins 184. WSH hasn't been able to move ball since 2nd drive. Not coincidentally, RG3 got hurt end of that drive.— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) January 7, 2013
Seattle's secondary has no reason to bite on playaction, and Griffin is sacked for a loss of 12. Bad snap on the next play and Griffin falls awkwardly on his knee. He's down and in pain after the Seahawks recover the fumble in the red zone.
Seriously. Bring in Kirk Cousins. This guy can't move. Come on.— Luke Thomas (@SBNLukeThomas) January 7, 2013
7:03 remaining Fourth Quarter
Say what you want about Reed Doughty, he has made two huge plays on Wilson, picking up his second sack of the game and forcing a quick three-and-out at a crucial point in this game.
Funny, does not feel like Redskins winning. But Seattle blew great opportunity in third. Dominated, got nothing.— John Keim (@john_keim) January 6, 2013
Griffin on a run to the left, limping all the way. A healthy RGIII would've cut up the field for 10 and 15 yards. He isn't running well, and is knee is affecting his throws. The Redskins should really consider making a switch, both for the sake of this game and the health of their franchise quarterback.
since the 1st 2 drives of game the Skins offense has 33 total yards. #Dosomething— Dan Hellie (@DanHellie) January 6, 2013
11:54 remaining Fourth Quarter
Being relegated to passing out of the pocket does not suit Griffin, as he has thrown into double coverage far too often, and has been lucky the Seahawks haven't picked one off for a touchdown.
If not for the gutsy effort from their defense, the Redskins would be almost entirely out of this game. The offense looks lethargic, and being backed up to their own endzone hasn't helped.
Should they take #10 out of the game? He isn't right. Such a weird question.— chad dukes (@chaddukes) January 6, 2013
Rocca has bailed out the Redskins offense with punts of 50 and 53 yards to give the defense a fighting chance.
Start of Fourth Quarter
A deep shot from Wilson is overthrown and Seattle must convert third and nine or be forced to punt. Wilson drops back and is immediately pressured up the middle, and J.Wilson picks up the sack for a nine yard loss.
Huge stand for the Redskins defense that desperately needed it. On the punt return, Washington is flagged for a penalty, but it could have easily been much worse as Cedric Griffin nearly had the ball hit him with Seahawks coverage ready to pounce on the loose ball.
Washington has another long field ahead of it after the penalty, and on the very first play, they lose all breathing room as Alan Branch sacks Griffin down at the one yard line.
1:24 remaining Third Quarter
With Griffin not running the ball anymore, the Redskins can't use the read option to open up the Seahawks defense. Morris is still getting good chunks on handoffs and tosses, but the 'Hawks have a much easier time reading the blocks to keep him from breaking 10- and 15-yard runs.
Hindsight is 20-20, but perhaps the Redskins should have sat Griffin for more than just the Cleveland game.
Seattle takes over following the punt, and picks up eight yards on their first play before Wilson is flushed out of the pocket on second down and loses yards to bring up third and three.
The officials lets the Seahawks secondary maul Redskins receivers, but a minor hold by Josh Wilson gets a flag and gives Seattle the first down.
4:06 remaining Third Quarter
Washington's passing game doesn't work without Garcon, and the Seahawks know it. Griffin has completed passes to just four receivers compared to the seven receivers Wilson has hit.
Back to the ground for the Redskins, and Morris picks up six yards on back to back carries to pick up another first down.
Weird receiver screen to Morgan is almost blown up, but he makes the catch and goes down at the line of scrimmage. Garcon got into a battle down the field, and comes off the field holding his shoulder.
Griffin throws high to Morgan over the middle, and is lucky it falls incomplete, but the Redskins are forced to punt when they needed points. Momentum still sits with Seattle in this half.
5:31 remaining Third Quarter
Even with 97 yards in front of them, the Redskins need to get points on this drive or risk wasting what could be a game-changing turnover.
THis is how the Redskins D has survived this year. Limit to FGs in red zone, force turnovers. When they win, that's a formula— John Keim (@john_keim) January 6, 2013
Busted play on second down forces a tough third down that Washington NEEDS to convert. Griffin finds Santana Moss on a questionable read, he didn't look to his left at all, but he converts for the first down. Big conversion.
Clemons is down on the field for the Seahawks, and that could be a big hit for their pass rush, that has done enough to keep Griffin from getting into a rhythm.
9:02 remaining Third Quarter
Seattle opens the second half with a handoff to Lynch, who changes direction and finds some room down the right side. Wilson out in front throwing a block before Lynch is forced out of bounds, but not before picking up 26 yards.
Washington's defense has no answers to start the half, which does not bode well for how poorly their offense performed in the second quarter.
Lynch bursts through the line following a bobbled snap, and goes for 20 yards. A quiet first half has turned into a beastly start to the second half.
Second and goal, give to Lynch and he FUMBLES!! Fletcher on the stop, Jarvis Jenkins on the recovery. Huge turnover for Washington
10:26 remaining Third Quarter
Griffin's knee has been visibly bothering him, both on runs and throws. He pulled up to throw on a third and three play that could have easily been a big run for him. If the Redskins can't find a way to adjust their offense to accommodate his lack of mobility, the Seahawks will have an easy time stopping their gameplan.
The Redskins defense has eased off on the pressure with Wilson picking up yards on the ground, but they cannot back off entirely. Pressure will keep Wilson moving, and could force bad throws the Redskins could take advantage of.
After a first quarter that was all Redskins, Seattle has made things interesting with 13 unanswered points in the second quarter. Morris has been the workhorse for the Redskins, picking up 60 yards on 11 carries compared to Lynch's eight carries for 33 yards.
With Lynch being held in check by the Redskins defense, Wilson has picked up the slack on the ground and making big plays through the air.
Wilson has 35 yards on four carries, and threw a big touchdown on a long drive early in the quarter. The Thomas interception shifted the momentum to the Seahawks, and a tired Redskins defense was unable to hold them enough to stop the touchdown or the second field goal that narrowed the margin from 11 points to a much more manageable 1 point to close the first half.
We've got ourselves a ball game following Wilson's 4-yard touchdown toss to Robinson, even more so after Griffin lofts one up to Garcon late, giving safety Earl Thomas time to get under it for the interception.
The turnover hurts the Redskins, as their defense just got off of the field following the last long scoring drive.
Pressure on third down comes late and Wilson finds Baldwin for the first down in the middle of the field. Wasting no time, Wilson finds Baldwin again, this time for 33 yards, and the Redskins defense is on its heels.
Amazing how much shoving and physical intimidation refs are letting Seattle get away with it. Could be key to game.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 6, 2013
2:00 remaining Second Quarter
Former Redskin Chris Clemons applies good pressure on Griffin, but it was Griffin's hesitation that exposed him to the strip. Chris Chester recovers, but a penalty down the field on Brandon Browner gives the Redskins a first down.
Morris gains seven yards on the first down, but gains nothing on the next play and, Griffin skips a ball across the field to bring up fourth down and bring Sav Rocca onto the field for the first time today.
If he had been 100-percent, Griffin would have pulled the ball down and picked up the three yards the Redskins needed, but his knee isn't letting him.
Looks like planting and throwing is still a problem for Griffin. He basically threw off of his right toe rather than full foot.— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) January 6, 2013
Rocca boots a 37-yarder down to the Seattle 28, where Wilson will have his work cut out for him down 11 points with no real help from Lynch or his receivers.
9:03 remaining Second Quarter
The second quarter starts off with a different look for Seattle, with Wilson picking up 19 yards on a Griffin-esque run play. A nice throw from Wilson and a better catch by Sidney Rice puts the Seahawks in scoring position for the first time today.
A near-interception brings up third down for the Seahawks, and a delay of game penalty pushes them back. Wilson takes a timeout following the penalty, and the crowd responds with more noise.
Wilson's receivers haven't done much to help him, and with the penalty, scoring a touchdown is a more difficult task. Washington's defense has been surprisingly disciplined thus far, keeping all plays in front of them, but still missing too many tackles.
12:11 remaining Second Quarter
It took almost an entire quarter for Lynch to get his second carry, and it goes for a gain of one as the first quarter comes to an end.
Wilson can't find anything deep, but Miller has been open underneath, which if exploited, could open things up down the field.
Perry Riley picks up the second sack of the game for the 'Skins, and the Seahawks offense can't find any rhythm this quarter. Having just two drives, Seattle has gained just 25 yards, while Morris has 68 yards for the Redskins.
Wilson not comfy in the pocket. Skins doing great job on edge. Outside rushers staying 7 yards, pinching edge. They'll take this all day— John Keim (@john_keim) January 6, 2013
End of First Quarter
After the touchdown, and the ensuing cheap shot from the Seahawks rusher, Griffin leaves the field into the little room on the sidelines, presumably to adjust the brace on his sprained knee. What's more alarming is no matter how much discomfort Griffin is in, he isn't likely to exit the game unless he can't walk.
Kirk Cousins may want to start warming up as a precaution, especially with LeRibeus, the replacement left guard, on the trainer's table.
1:43 remaining First Quarter
Beyond the job the Redskins offensive line has done blocking for Morris and Griffin, their receivers have been getting it down down the field, which has opened up lanes in the second and third levels of the defense.
Garcon goes down with what looks like might be an ankle injury, but he's back in the game before his absence can play a significant role in the game.
Safe throws to start the game, and we get an unexpected designed run from Griffin over the right side. There is still something tentative about Griffin on the run, but he can't shy away from contact if he intends to pick up yards on those plays.
Morris has 49 yards on seven carries, for a manly 7.0 yards per carry. Seattle has no answer for the blocking or the vision Morris is bringing.
3:23 remaining First Quarter
After a picture-perfect opening drive from their offense, the Redskins must now see if their defense can keep the Seahawks offense in check with the underdog Wilson at the helm.
Wilson overthrows Doug Baldwin on the first play, a short completion to Zach Miller and the Seahawks are faced with an early third down.
Pressure from Stephen Bowen flushes Wilson out of the pocket, where London Fletcher pursues and meets Bowen in the middle for the first sack of the game.
What an opening drive and defensive stand for the Redskins. No one expected the game to start this way, and the home crowd is bringing the noise!
Stephen Bowen just destroyed the guard tasked with blocking him. Slung him to the ground like he was an elementary schooler, forced sack.— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) January 6, 2013
8:24 remaining First Quarter
The Redskins receive the opening kickoff, and start from their own 20 yard line. Field conditions leave a lot to be desired, as ground-level shots show the turf is torn up and traction could be a problem.
Morris gets the call early, picking up 38 yards on four carries, including an 18-yard run down to the Seattle four yard line.
Griffin got some help from Pierre Garcon on a high throw, as Garcon went up and snatched it out of the air, and ran for an extra few yards for a 30-yard gain.
#Redskins as has been bread and butter, start off with run, then Griffin goes deep to Garcon on comeback— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) January 6, 2013
Washington's offense looking great early, and Seattle's defense, like most other defenses, hasn't locked down the read option or the zone blocking scheme. Morris could have a field day if he keeps up this pace.
10:52 remaining First Quarter
Last season, home teams were 4-0 in the Wild Card Round, and this season they're 3-0 pending this game. The Redskins have made a habit of breaking regrettable streaks and overcoming history, but hopefully they can continue the home team's winning trend.
Washington is 11-4 against Seattle in regular season matchups, but is 0-2 in playoff meetings.
Wilson was 3-5 on the road this season, but finished the season 5-0, throwing for 1,097 yards, scoring 13 touchdowns with just two interceptions. Griffin is 5-3 at home went 4-0 in December, as he is credited with the victory over Baltimore, but had one of his worst months statistically, completed 59.6-percent of his passes for 793 yards while scoring just five touchdowns with one interceptions.
Though the Redskins may be the hotter team, winning their last seven games, the Seahawks are riding a five-game winning streak with the hottest quarterback in the NFL over the last month.
Seattle's offense may be highlighted by Wilson, but it is Beast Mode himself, Marshawn Lynch, who drives that offense. Lynch has rumbled for 1,590 yards and 11 touchdowns, picking up five years per carry.
Washington's defense is ranked fifth in the NFL, but primarily because they are ranked 30th against the pass and teams have no reason to lean on the ground game.
In the last few weeks, the Redskins defense has stepped up the pressure and cut down on big plays, evidenced by their nine interceptions in their last six games and the 18 sacks they've tallied on their seven-game winning streak.
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