After a 24-14 win over the Washington Redskins the Seattle Seahawks locker room was jubilant and confident, but almost every player expressed concern and admiration for injured Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
“I told him after the game, ‘Man, get healthy.’ He’s a very, very good quarterback,” Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson said after the game.
“He’s a special individual in this league,” Robinson said of Griffin. “The league needs him.”
Robinson, who scored Seattle’s first touchdown on a 4-yard pass from quarterback Russell Wilson, said he was not surprised that Griffin stayed in the game after the first half injury, but the knee clearly affected the Redskins signal caller.
On a few runs after the initial injury Griffin appeared to head out of bounds rather than go for more yardage -- Robinson explained -- a clear sign of limited mobility for RG3.
Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman said that Griffin was playing great early in the game, but once Seattle settled down and adjusted to the Redskins offensive tempo the defense was able to clamp down.
“RG3 was playing great, he’s a competitor,” Sherman said.
After Griffin got up limping late in the first quarter Sherman said the Seahawks saw the Redskins play calling change, which presented an opportunity for Seattle to go after the rookie quarterback.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll saw the difference too.
“If you noticed it earlier when we were rushing the passer, everyone was worried about him getting out and containing him,” Carroll said. “After we saw what he was doing and how he was moving, I tried to encourage the guys to not be worried about breaking containment.”
Carroll said that after the initial injury Griffin was “more like a normal quarterback back there.”
The Skins dominated early, taking a 14-0 first quarter lead, but after that the game was all Seahawks. Seattle’s players said they were not surprised, but impressed, that Griffin stayed in the game after the injury.
“He showed a lot of heart today,” Sherman said. “You got to love having a guy like that on your team. That kind of drive and resilience is going to make him a Hall of Famer.”
By ending the Redskins season, Seattle proved it could win a playoff game on the road. While many think the game turned on the health of Griffin’s knee, Seahawks defensive back Brandon Browner gave the credit to his team.
“[Griffin] hasn’t been playing 100 percent for the last three or four weeks. We wanted to attack him as soon as possible,” Browner said. “I think that’s a credit to us, for attacking him. That was us. I take hats off to our d-line for getting after him.”
Browner expected Griffin to stay on the field after the first half play that re-injured his knee.
“Fighters are like that, good football players are like that,” Browner said. “It’s hard to keep them off the field.”
Sherman echoed Browner’s comments.
“He has a lot of dog in him,” Sherman said of RG3’s toughness. “It’s hard to knock a dog out of a fight. He doesn’t want to come out, that’s the kind of player he is.”
Hall of Fame quarterback and Seahawks broadcaster Warren Moon said that Griffin should not have returned to the field after the first half injury, and said the Redskins coaching staff should have made that decision.
“I think he shouldn’t have been put out there once he was limping and he couldn’t do his job,” Moon said. “At the quarterback position there is so much asked of you to do, if you can’t do those things with your legs you shouldn’t be out there.”
Even with a subpar statistical game from RG3, Moon saluted the rookie’s talent and personality.
“It’s an amazing season for him, his first year in the league. Exceeded expectations,” Moon said. “Too bad he had to finish it the way he did today.”