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The consensus among sportswriters (as well as fans) on Monday seemed to place the blame for what happened on Monday squarely on Mike Shanahan's shoulders, and that criticism came from sources both national and local.
Thomas Boswell, a columnist for The Washington Post, penned an excellent piece on Monday that pointed out that while the situation that occurred on Sunday happens on fields all across the NFL every week this was a situation where Shanahan needed to step up and take the reins but chose not to.
Only one person usually says, “Enough” to a star quarterback who wants to continue: the coach. And in close playoff games, they seldom do.
But rarely is that quarterback 22 years old, the face of the franchise and relentlessly driven to prove his courage. If ever a veteran coach needed to accept responsibility for the reins of a player, it was Shanahan over Griffin in this game. Yet he simply passed the buck to his player. Griffin said he could play, was in pain but wasn’t injured and had earned the right to be the quarterback — all the sideline buzzwords to keep yourself in the game. And Shanahan listened and bought it. Soon, we’ll find out the price.
Boswell hit the nail on the head. You can use all the cliches you want about the "heat of battle," but Griffin wasn't just hampered by the knee...he was clearly ineffective. There was no reason to leave him in the game.
Except possibly because he was afraid of getting criticized for pulling him, from either his players or the media.
Shanahan makes a great deal of money to make the tough decisions, and he failed miserably in that regard with Griffin.