Frustrations flared at the end of the game as left tackle Trent Williams engaged in a scuffle with Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, shoving him with an open-handed blow to the face before the two were separated.
Then the Redskins left the field, done for the year.
The ending seemed unlikely as the game began. When the Redskins erupted for touchdowns on their first two possessions and took a 14-0 lead, it looked as if Washington would end its inability to get past Seattle in the playoffs.
Griffin directed a nine-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a four-yard touchdown pass to Evan Royster, then led an 11-play, 54-yard drive capped by a four-yard touchdown toss to Logan Paulsen.
But Griffin didn’t emerge from the second scoring drive unscathed.
On first and goal from the 4, Griffin rolled to his right and attempted a pass across his body to wide receiver Pierre Garcon in the end zone.
The pass fell incomplete, and after planting on his right leg, Griffin fell and got back up, limping badly. He hobbled as he returned to the huddle and for the next two plays as well, including the touchdown pass.
After throwing that pass, Griffin was knocked to the ground on a late hit by Irvin, who drew a penalty. After returning to the sideline, Griffin and members of the team’s medical staff, including Andrews, retreated to the examination shed behind the bench.
Griffin emerged several minutes later and joined offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Cousins and inactive quarterback Rex Grossman on the bench before tossing a couple of warmup passes.
Griffin returned to the game, but the next offensive series lasted only four plays, ending when he underthrew a pass to Paulsen, appearing unable to plant his back foot.
The quarterback and Shanahan both said the knee injury didn’t affect Griffin’s throwing ability, however. And both said despite Griffin’s diminished mobility, he gave his team the best chance to win.
“I don’t feel like me being out there hurt the team in any way. I’m the best option for this team, and that’s why I’m the starter,” Griffin said.
Shanahan said: “I talked to Robert, and Robert said to me, ‘Coach, there’s a difference between being injured and being hurt. I guarantee I’m hurting right now, but give me a chance to win this football game, because I guarantee I’m not injured.’ That was enough for me. I thought he did enough for us this year to have that opportunity to stay in the football game.”
But Washington’s offense went cold from then on. In the first quarter, Griffin completed six of nine passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns. In the remaining three quarters, he completed just four of 10 passes for only 16 yards, was sacked twice and managed only nine yards on two carries.
Meanwhile, Seattle’s attack grew stronger.
“We never felt we were able to get off the field on third down and dominate them,” said linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. “. . .We had opportunities to make them punt the ball, and we didn’t capitalize on those opportunities.”