Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said it didn’t take long for his team to recognize that Robert Griffin III wasn’t healthy and wasn’t much of a threat to hurt them with his running ability.
Carroll said initially, the Seahawks were fearful of Griffin eluding their pass-rushers and turning broken plays into big gains.
Griffin carried the ball three times for 12 yards in the first quarter, but injured his knee two plays before throwing his second touchdown pass. Shortly after that, Carroll realized Griffin could no longer muster the same dual threat he is known for.
“If you noticed it earlier, when we 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 [him] breaking containment and running like crazy. It was more like a normal quarterback back there, and [that] we keep our pressure and our rushes and not be so concerned about him, trying to keep him in the pocket.”
Griffin was sacked twice and managed only nine yards on two carries in the final three quarters. On his first snap of the fourth quarter, Griffin ran around left end and gained nine yards but had no explosiveness and appeared to be dragging his injured right leg badly.
“I think it’s obvious to everyone that he wasn’t 100 percent out there,” Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said. “The knee injury that he suffered, you saw the difference between a healthy Russell Wilson and Robert not being healthy.”
(Wilson, running the same type of zone-read plays that Griffin and the Redskins have excelled at this season, kept Washington’s offense off-balance, gaining 67 yards on eight carries.)
On Washington’s next possession, Griffin – who completed only four of 10 passes for 16 yards in the final three quarters of play – couldn’t move quickly enough to snag an errant shotgun snap. His knee buckled and he fell to the ground as he tried to scoop up the loose ball. He left the game for good.
The Seahawks praised Griffin’s courage as he played with obvious pain.
“He’s a hell of a player,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “He is one of the best players I’ve ever seen. He presents a lot of challenges. I’m sure if he were 100 percent, it would have been a different game.”