THE FIFTH QUARTER
IT WAS OVER WHEN... Trailing 21-14 and facing second down and 22 yards to go from their own 11 yard line, after a 12-yard sack by Seattle DE Bruce Irvin, Redskins center Will Montgomery skipped a bad snap back to ailing QB Robert Griffin III. As Griffin stumbled to recover the loose ball, Griffin's knee buckled and he collapsed to the field in agony. The ball was recovered by Seattle and they kicked a field goal to extend their lead to 24-14.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING... The Redskins built their 10-6 behind the NFL's top rushing attack and decent run defense, but the script was flipped today, as Seattle rushed for 224 yards [131 for Marshawn Lynch, 63 for Russell Wilson] to only 104 for the Redskins... Seattle averaged 6.1 yards per rush today... Redskins rookie quarterbacks completed only 13 of 29 passes, as RG3 struggled with accuracy and receivers dropped several passes from Kirk Cousins... The Redskins ran only 52 plays on offense today, which just is not enough to win a playoff game.
I LIKED THAT... The Redskins notched 5 sacks today, thanks to inspired blitzes called by Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett... Reed Doughty was fantastic, with two sacks and 12 tackles... ILB London Fletcher had another fine game, with 12 tackles and .5 sack... Alfred Morris rushed for 80 yards and 5 yards per carry today, despite very little help from the passing game.
I DID NOT LIKE THAT... Robert Griffin III was left in the game long after it was apparent he was not fit to quarterback an NFL team to a win in the playoffs... Will Montgomery fell apart in the fourth quarter, skipping two shotgun snaps, the first of which led to a turnover and the injury that knocked RG3 out of the game... The wide receivers repeatedly dropped catchable passes... Evan Royster missed a blitz pick-up on a fourth down blitz that led to a big hit on Kirk Cousins and an incompletion that turned the ball over on downs... Seven passes were thrown to Josh Morgan and he caught one ball for zero yards... The Redskins defense handled Seattle's pass attack well enough, but it wasn't ready for the read-option, leading to big yardage games for Wilson and Marshawn Lynch... The defense missed too many tackles today, particularly on Lynch.
WHAT IT ALL MEANS... The fun, fun 2012 season of the Washington Redskins is over. The Redskins won 7 straight games, including five over division opponents, to finish the regular season 10-6 and win the NFC East. The Redskins had their best season since 2005 and its most hopeful season since... I don't know when. Thanks to a very productive rookie class the Redskins are loaded with young talent, which bodes very well for the future. However, a question mark hangs over the future right now, as we await news on the health of Robert Griffin's knee. Griffin will have an MRI on his knee tomorrow and we will know more. If Griffin's knee injury is something that will heal well and permanently long before the start of the 2013 season, all signs are pointing up. If, however, the knee injury is more serious and will have long-lasting repercussions, there will be a bittersweet taste to the 2012 season.
Right now, so much depends on the health of Robert Griffin III -- as it has all season.