Decisions questioned as historic season ends with Redskins’ Griffin on bench

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In their first home playoff game since January 2000, they lost for the first time in eight games dating to Nov. 4. It was a bitter end to a campaign that fostered more optimism than any since they last won the NFC East title in 1999.

The Redskins won the final seven games of the regular season to finish 10-6 and win the division. Their core of young offensive playmakers provide reason to believe there will be many more of these playoff games in future years, although Griffin’s injury cast immediate doubt about his status moving forward.

“It’s just truly exciting,” Griffin said, “even though today is a very dim day.”

It was a stunning conclusion to an evening that began with such promise.

The Redskins‘ offense initially played like the league’s top-ranked unit. They met little resistance on the opening drive, marching 80 yards on nine plays for a touchdown. Griffin threw a 4-yard dart to running back Evan Royster to give the Redskins a 7-0 lead.

After the defense held the Seahawks three-and-out, Washington’s offense did it again. Griffin had an 8-yard run on a zone-read keeper, showing a level of burst he hadn’t since he sprained his right knee on Dec. 9.

Washington drove 54 yards for a touchdown in 11 plays. The crowd of 84,325 got louder as the yards piled up. Griffin’s 4-yard touchdown throw to Logan Paulsen made it 14-0. The Redskins were the steamroller, and Seattle was the asphalt.

But — there was a huge but — Griffin was injured. On first-and-goal from the 4-yard line on the second drive, he extended an ill-fated pass play by running to the right sideline. As he threw near the boundary, he fell awkwardly with his right leg underneath him.

Griffin got up limping as badly as he ever had since the initial injury. And from that point on, the Redskins offense lost its fuel.

Robert not being able to run definitely hampers some of the stuff we do,” tight end Logan Paulsen said. “It kind of took a lot out of the playbook, all the play-action stuff we have off of it, all the runs we have off of it, so that’s a good percentage of our offense that we can’t really run as effectively.”

Griffin obviously was limited. It didn’t help he banged his right throwing hand on one of his linemen’s helmets in the first quarter. His throws languished, and he wasn’t the running threat he appeared to be at the beginning of the game.

Meanwhile, Seattle’s Russell Wilson showed why he drawn comparisons to Griffin. He extended passing plays behind the line of scrimmage, scrambled for positive yards and threw accurately when he needed to.

Wilson ran for 67 yards and threw for a touchdown, while bruising running back Marshawn Lynch ran for 132 yards on 20 carries. They executed the zone-read option just as the Redskins do at their best, and they kept Washington’s defense off balance.

The final act for Washington was indeed tragic. Griffin’s knee gave out in the fourth quarter, presenting the Redskins‘ with their worst-case scenario.

The game was lost, the season was over, and their franchise’s quarterback’s status is in doubt.

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