January 7, 2013 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap
By Staff Writer John Manuel:
After the playoff loss to Seattle Seahawks, here's the top five postgame observations for Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin and their future:
1. I will get to the "should he have been taken out or not", but first the game itself.
Seattle dominated the Redskins after the first quarter and deserved to win Sunday. They did to us what we did to Dallas the week before and ran Marshawn Lynch to control the game. Add to that Russell Wilson's ability to be unfazed and make plays.
It is crazy to think that the Redskins somehow still had a lead in the 4th quarter and an obvious chance to win. After the first two drives by Washington, the Seattle defense came together and limited what the Redskins could do. Add to that starting twice inside the 10 in the second half and the Redskins were doomed.
Seattle has a very good chance now to go to Atlanta and knock off the Falcons next. The Seattle team that the Redskins faced was much different than the Cowboys, Eagles or Browns wins during the streak although we all should be thrilled to win 7 in a row and to be NFC East Champs.
2- Now to the big debate. Mike Shanahan is getting killed since the game ended Sunday in leaving Robert Griffin III in the game.
I think it’s a lot easier to criticize Shanahan knowing now the Redskins lost the game and RG3 is most likely hurt worse than when the game started. But during the game he had to go with who he thought could win him the game. Griffin has electrified DC all season and even at 60/70/80% if Shanahan felt he was the one to win the game, he should be out there. Big Ben does this all the time and he has 2 rings.
Is it Shanny's or Griffin's fault that Hankerson short armed what would be a huge play? That Will Montgomery suddenly started to struggle in shotgun and pistol snaps? It is easy to say Kirk Cousins should have been in there since now we know the Redskins lost. But I think Griffin seeing all types of defenses all season compared to Cousins was the better option versus a team like Seattle.
If RG3 has a torn ACL (and that may be the case by the time this is up) it is a very tough pill to swallow. But he will be back and he will be Robert Griffin III still.
3- I think the biggest play of the game was the play when Brandon Browner got called for illegal contact versus Pierre Garcon.
It was 14-3 and Garcon got by Browner causing Browner to foul him and actually fall to the ground. But as Garcon was going free, Griffin was unable to get the deep ball off because Seattle had pushed the o-line back into Griffin. An easy touchdown turned into a five yard penalty and the game was never the same.
The other game changer was the two missed turnovers in the first half. One was when Doug Baldwin was able to break up a would-be interception from Reed Doughty. Doughty was great Sunday at making plays at the line of scrimmage but really needed to pull that one in. The other was the mis-hand off between Wilson and Lynch. The ball went free and Madieu Williams as we have seen all season was a second late in getting to the ball allowing Lynch to get to it eventually and run with it. Two tough misses for a team that strived the past two months getting turnovers in key spots.
I also should add the huge 3rd down conversion in the first quarter down 14-0 when Wilson was able to avoid pressure and get the ball to Zach Miller who made a nice catch and run to convert. Would have given the Skins a good chance to grab solid field position with a Crawford return.
4- My player of the game is simple.
Other than Barry Cofield's head knocking the ball out of Lynch's grasp at the goal line, no one protected the lead like Sav Rocca yesterday. Rocca had his best day of the season and was able with two huge punts keep the Skins in the lead until midway through the fourth. If Washington pulled this game out, Rocca would be a hero.
I also continue to be impressed with Niles Paul's ability to get down on punt coverage all day. Leon Washington was someone I was very concerned with and the special teams did a great job controlling him on kickoffs and punts. I still love what Alfred Morris brought especially in the first half. And I feel Reed Doughty and London Fletcher came to play. Other than that unfortunately not many others stood out Sunday.
5- Although losing a home playoff game is tough (crazy thing is I was at the last one versus the Bears in 1984) this success has to be looked at as a success.
No one predicted the team to win the NFC East and that is what they did. I think the Redskins now are a year ahead of schedule but a lot will obvious hang on the health of their star quarterback. But we do have a younger nucleus to go with into 2013 and that hasn't happened in years. Griffin's rise to stardom should be a huge factor in Washington's ability to attract better talent to Washington in the coming seasons.
We also must not forget that this team was unfairly crushed with a huge cap penalty hours before free agency and that the battle over that is not over.
Finally, I hope that London Fletcher has not played his last game and that he will return next season. Although he hasn't had the winning success of Redskins of the past, he should be up there with the Riggins, Monk, Theismann and Greens’ of Redskins history.