When Robert Griffin's knee collapsed beneath him during last nights NFC Wildcard game, the entire state of Washington held it's breath. The future of the franchise, the man who has transformed them from NFC East bottom-feeders to division winners in one season, was on the turf in agony and there was nothing anybody could do about it. Not then, at least. It was evident last weekend at Dallas in their crucial title decider that RG3 was not at one hundred percent.
His runs were limited and he was sporting an obvious limp. However, he managed to hold it together as the Redskins ran all over the Cowboys to claim a playoff spot. All week long the media speculated about the health of Griffin. He stated on more than one occasion he felt better than he had done the previous week and the knee was healthy enough for him to have a serious impact on proceedings on Sunday.
There was also controversy regarding Dr. James Andrews and his involvement in clearing RG3 to play last week. Andrews initially stated that he had not cleared Griffin and he was astounded that he had come back so soon. Griffin was extremely limited in practice throughout the week but that was to be expected. With Griffin's comments this week you had to ask yourself, who was Griffin trying to convince? Was it Dr. Andrews? His coach? Or was RG3 trying to convince himself that things weren't as bad as they seemed?
Time would tell. Things started off well enough, although Griffin was still sporting a heavy brace and even heavier limp as the read option with powerhouse running back Alfred Morris brought great success against the intimidating Seattle defence and they scored a Touchdown on their first drive. The second also brought a Touchdown, but at a significant cost to Griffin and the Redskins. Griffin rolled out and as he was about to deliver a throw his knee gave away and he only just managed to get the throw off before falling to the floor.
Griffin got up but was almost static as he managed to throw a touchdown to make it 14-0 to the delight of the Redskins faithful. It put a slight gloss over the fact that Griffin was hurting more than he was letting on and he barely made it off the field. He went into the small medical area situated by the Redskins sideline for behind the scenes treatment. Dr. Andrews, who was on the sideline in anticipation of something detrimental occurring, looked visibly concerned. Griffin was back by the time the Redskins were driving, not missing one snap. Something had changed though, the knee seemed to have ceased up and he was having a lot of trouble moving.
Even his throwing was off as he was unsure whether or not he could plant his foot to generate the necessary power and his accuracy suffered greatly as a result. He threw for 14 yards for the remainder of the half as the Seahawks got themselves back into the ball game and is was clear to everyone that RG3 was hurting his team by being out there, gallant as it may have been. Half-time came at a great time for the Redskins.
Get back into the locker room, diagnose how badly Griffin was suffering and decide whether he could continue or not. Now, nobody knows what went on but from what we have heard Mike Shanahan asked RG3 if he could continue and now only did Griffin say he could, he demanded to. This put extra pressure on Shanahan to allow RG3 to continue. No doubt he had the needle to help with the pain during the break but when your star player and the man who has changed the fortunes of the franchise demands to give it a go then there's not much Shanahan could have done.
This is where it got tricky for the Coach. The third quarter was much like the second, if anything it was a little bit worse. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but as RG3 hobbled his way out of bounds on a bootleg run the thought must have crossed his mind to take him out. That would have been the right call, they have won with Kirk Cousins earlier in the season and one game isn't worth risking your future for. Shanahan doubled down, and lost. A bad snap had Griffin back-tracking for a loose ball that his knee just could not get to. The twist was evident and everyone watching it probably thought the same as I did. 'That's his ACL'. He's done it before and the way he slumped to the turk indicated something was seriously wrong.
Andrews and the medical staff were on the field within second attending to Griffin, who after a few minutes walked off the field of his own accord. Suffice to say he did not return but the game was already lost by this point anyway. The impressive Seahawks dismantling the Redskins in a virtuoso display. Griffin, somber and in pain, could only watch from the sideline as his playoff dream slipped away. So after the game, the enquiry. Shanahan stated Griffin felt great, Andrews wanted him out at the half and Griffin stated he demanded the chance to play. Today, even worse, reports suggest Griffin has torn his ACL and LCL and is to see a specialist. Everyone's worst fears look likely to be confirmed. We have seen players come back from ACL's, look no further than Adrian Peterson for living proof. This is the second time however, and whether it was worth the risk or not is irrelevant now. The biggest concern will be getting RG3 back. He has been a revelation this year, the NFL needs him flying round the field with reckless abandon. The Redskins sure do, they've mortgaged their future on it.
Dean Jones: Follow me on Twitter @DeanJones_