Redskins vs. Seahawks: RG3 Injured During Game
(ABC)–Russell Wilson raced ahead to throw the final block on Marshawn Lynch’s fourth-quarter, go-ahead touchdown run, doing just enough to get in the way of the Washington Redskins safety near the goal line.
Less than a minute later, Robert Griffin III’s knee buckled as he tried to field a bad shotgun snap, the pain so bad that he didn’t even try to recover the ball.
The last rookie quarterback standing in the NFL playoffs is Wilson – the third-round pick who teamed with Lynch on Sunday to lead the Seattle Seahawks to a 24-14 victory over Griffin and the Redskins.
“Marshawn always tells me, ‘Russ, I got your back, no matter what,'” Wilson said. “So I just try to help him out every once in a while.”
And the latest debate over the wisdom of keeping an injured franchise player on the field – when he’s obviously nowhere near his best – starts with coach Mike Shanahan, who let Griffin keep going until the QB could absolutely go no more.
“I think I did put myself at more risk,” Griffin said. “But every time you get on the field, you’re putting yourself on the line.”
Lynch ran for 132 yards, and Wilson completed 15 of 26 passes for 187 yards and ran eight times for 67 yards as Seahawks overcame a 14-0 first-quarter hole – their biggest deficit of the season – and will visit the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.
Meanwhile, Griffin was headed for an MRI exam to determine the extent of the damage on his re-injured right knee. He was already playing with a big black brace, having sprained the lateral collateral ligament about a month ago against the Baltimore Ravens. He hadn’t looked his usual self in the two games he had played since, and he was obviously hobbled after falling awkwardly while throwing an incomplete pass in the first quarter Sunday.
In the fourth quarter, Griffin labored on a 9-yard run that made him look 32 years old instead of 22.
“He said, ‘Hey, trust me. I want to be in there, and I deserve to be in there,'” Shanahan said. “I couldn’t disagree with him.”
Shanahan said he’ll probably second-guess himself over his decision. He has the entire offseason to do so. And, whatever the injury, Griffin at least has time to recover.
Wilson, on the other hand, will carry on. The day began with three rookie quarterbacks in the playoffs, but No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck was eliminated when Indianapolis lost to Baltimore.
Seattle is riding a six-game winning streak, having left behind any doubts that the team can hold its own outside the Pacific Northwest. The Seahawks were 3-5 on the road in the regular season and had lost eight straight road playoff games, the last win coming in 1983 against the Miami Dolphins.
“It was only two touchdowns, but it’s still a big comeback and, in this setting and the crowd, it’s a marvelous statement about the guys’ resolve and what is going on,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s not about how you start but how you finish.”
Seattle’s defense shut down the Redskins after a rough start. Washington had 129 yards in the first quarter and 74 for the rest of the game. Griffin was 6 for 9 for 68 yards and two touchdowns after 15 minutes; he was 4 for 10 for 16 yards with one interception the rest of the way.
“It was hard to watch RG3 tonight,” Carroll said. “It was hard on him. He was freaking gallant.”
The numbers were reversed for the Seahawks, who rediscovered Lynch in the second quarter and put together three consecutive scoring drives to pull within a point, 14-13, at halftime.
Steven Hauschka, who injured his left calf during the first half and had to relinquish kickoff duties, nevertheless sandwiched field goals of 32 and 29 yards around a 4-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Michael Robinson. Wilson fumbled on the TD drive, but the ball was fortuitously scooped up by Lynch, who ran for a 19-yard gain.
The Seahawks controlled the second half, but then it was Lynch’s turn to fumble – at Washington’s 1-yard line. The Redskins recovered this one, and the Seahawks had another drive get to Washington’s 28 before a sack forced a punt – rather than a long field goal attempt by an injured kicker.
But the Seahawks kept coming. Wilson led the way for two big change-of-direction runs by Lynch in the game, the second one a 27-yard scoring run with 7:08 remaining.
A 2-point conversion gave the Seahawks a 21-14 lead, and then came the moment that essentially put the outcome to rest.
On the second play of the Redskins’ next possession, Griffin’s knee bent the wrong way on a second-and-22 at the Washington 12. He lay on the ground as the Seahawks pounced on the ball.
Griffin walked off the field under his own power, but he was done for the night. By the end of the game, he was sitting alone on the white sideline bench, his brace discarded on a bench next to him.
With good field position, the Seahawks kicked a short field goal to give them the insurance they needed. Fellow rookie Kirk Cousins, subbing for Griffin, was unable to rally the Redskins in the final minutes.
“Despite the fact that we have a ‘nobody’ team,” Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said, “a team not full of first-rounders and things like that, we have a lot of guys that play at a high level.”
(ABC)–For longtime Washington Redskins fans, Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks is a long time coming – five seasons, in fact, since their last playoff appearance.
And for those, such as Redskins superfan Chief Zee who harken back to the glory days of Super Bowl titles in 1982, 1987 and 1991, it’s almost go time.
Chief Zee, who Redskins Nation wholly recognizes as the team’s unofficial mascot, says a rocking FedEx Field crowd will be key to help Washington to a victory.
“The fans have got to know you’ve got to make noise when (the Seahawks) go to the huddle,” he says. “That’s when you want to make noise…so they can’t hear the play.”
Excitement is high across the entire region for the Redskins’ first home playoff game since 1999; a game in which the Redskins defeated the Detroit Lions 27-13.
“Coming from the bottom of the NFC East for five consecutive years and jumping all the way to the top is so emotional,” Redskins fan Dave Jackson said. “It’s a great feeling.”
It has been a long road back to the top for the Redskins and their fans. Since their last playoff game after the 2007 season, the Redskins have gone 23-43, including 4, 6 and 5-win seasons over the past thee years.
Now, though, after a remarkable run of 7 straight wins which brought them an unexpected NFC East championship, the iconic Hogettes and the whole of the team’s fan base clearly welcome the buzz over the team.
“They’ve been playing game-by-game for two months, and it just unifies the whole town,” the Hogette’s leader, ‘Boss Hogette,’ says.
(ABC)–Everyone is talking about the big playoff match up between the Washington Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks. But before the 4:30 p.m. kick off at FedEx Field, another NFL playoff game will be played in Maryland – between the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens.
Much of Maryland is already considered “Ravens Country”, so a playoff run by the Redskins is leaving part of the region somewhat split.
Howard County isn’t taking sides.
County buildings showed their loyalty for both teams, casting a crimson light for the Redskins and purple for the Ravens.
“I think it’s a great weekend. The fact that we got both teams having home games…it’s a great day for Maryland,” County Executive Ken Ulman said.
Ulman is walking a fine line. The admitted Ravens fan knows a chunk of his constituency hails for the Skins.
“I think there is a healthy, you know, competition, but it’s kind of fun…I know a lot of people who are saying the best thing would be to meet in the Superbowl,” Ulman continued.
At Looney’s Pub in Columbia, ABC7 found a divided fan base.
“If he was a true die hard Dallas fan like he used to be, I probably wouldn’t be able to talk to him. As a Ravens fan, he is alright.” Redskins fan Bill Hayes said of his friend Bernie Kilmper.
Kilmper answered, “I just enjoy beating them every year just to say that we beat them every year. We’ll let them have one.”
“Especially now that Ray [Lewis] is out here. They ain’t going to beat us every year anymore. Not happening bud,” Hayes said.
“We’ll see.” Kilmper retorted.
But both fan bases have high hopes with their teams in the playoffs.
“Redskins-Ravens? All the way to the Super Bowl baby. If you love the Ravens, you gotta love the Redskins. We’re all here on the same spot. ” Redskins fan Ernest Walker said.
Despite the ongoing lockout, even Capitals fan Alfredo Negron can’t help but root for the other local team.
Negron said, “I think both teams are going to win. Ravens and Redskins are going to win.”
(ABC)–There’s no denying that Alfred Morris has had a standout rookie season.
John Auville, also known as Cakes on the Sports Junkies morning show, says Morris has helped carry the Washington Redskins.
The 24-year-old has rushed for more than 1,600 yards and scored more than a dozen touchdowns in his first NFL season. His 1,613 yards set a franchise record for most in a single-season.
Many analysts say for the Redskins to win this weekend, Morris is going to have to play big.
“Seattle has got a ball-hawking secondary, big intimidating corners, so I think the Redskins are going to do what they do every week – they show up and they are going to rush for about 160 or 170 yards,” Auville says.
The Florida native is knocking it out of the park, both on and off the field.
You might have noticed that every time he’s scored a touchdown this season, he hits his signature move – mimicking a baseball player hitting a home run.
It isn’t a salute to the Nationals – but rather a pint sized little league team from Yorktown, Va. Morris met the ballclub this summer when they came to Ashburn for a baseball tournament.
He immediately became one of their biggest fans – even checking out a game during his break from football.
Morris promised the team if they kept winning, he would shout them out with every touch down.
“That’s how it all started and I kind of did it and I was like I kind of like that,” Morris says.
This team and their parents will be cheering on Morris and Redskins this Sunday.
Stanford Defeats Wisconsin in Rose Bowl
(ABC)–Although Stanford didn’t score many style points in the 99th Rose Bowl, the Cardinal could celebrate because they didn’t let Wisconsin score any points at all after halftime.
Stepfan Taylor rushed for 89 yards and an early touchdown, Kevin Hogan passed for 123 yards, and No. 8 Stanford won its first Rose Bowl since 1972, beating the Badgers 20-14 on Tuesday night.
Usua Amanam made the decisive interception near midfield with 2:30 to play as the Pac-12 champion Cardinal (12-2) ended their four-decade drought in the Granddaddy of Them All with arguably the biggest bowl win yet during the long-struggling program’s recent renaissance.
“We knew this was going to be a battle, and we wouldn’t expect it any other way,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “We know it’s going to be tight, it’s going to be close, and we’re going to find a way to win. That’s the way it’s been all year.”
Stanford clamped down on the Big Ten champion Badgers (8-6), who lost the Rose Bowl in heartbreaking fashion for the third consecutive season. Montee Ball rushed for 100 yards and his FBS-record 83rd touchdown, but Wisconsin managed only 82 yards in that scoreless second half.
With impressive defense of its own, Wisconsin still stayed in position for an upset in the one-game return of Hall of Fame coach Barry Alvarez, who was back on the Badgers’ sideline in his red sweater-vest seven years after hanging up his whistle.
“This group of kids has been through a lot, and they competed extremely hard against a very high-quality team,” Alvarez said. “We’ve played three very good football games (at the Rose Bowl). These guys played hard. In fact, most people would like to get here once. But we just didn’t get it done.”
Kelsey Young rushed for a score on Stanford’s opening possession, and Taylor scored on the second. Wisconsin kept the Cardinal out of the end zone for the final 51 minutes, holding them to three points in the second half, but Stanford’s defense didn’t need any more help in the Cardinal’s eighth straight victory.
“We knew coming in, it was going to be a physical game,” Taylor said. “We knew they know how to play against power as well as us. They did a great job. It was our defense keeping us in the game that enabled us to get this win.”
After winning the Orange Bowl two years ago and losing the Fiesta Bowl last season, Stanford earned its first conference title and its first Rose Bowl berth in 13 years. The Cardinal finished with 12 victories for just the second time in school history – and the second time in the last three years.
The Cardinal ousted top-ranked Oregon on the way to the biggest season yet in the improbable surge of success started by Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck. Many Pac-12 observers expected a sharp decline at Stanford this season – but Shaw and Hogan, who took over as the starting quarterback in November, have accomplished something even Harbaugh and Luck couldn’t manage.
“I think it served as some motivation for us throughout the year,” Amanam said. “I think it’s just a testament to our program and how we train and prepare every season.”
When Bret Bielema abruptly left Wisconsin for Arkansas after winning the Big Ten title game, Alvarez agreed to coach his fourth Rose Bowl before handing off his program to new coach Gary Andersen, who met with Alvarez on the field before the game.
But the Badgers’ third straight Rose Bowl appearance ended in much the same way as the last two: With the offense failing to get the late score the Badgers desperately needed.
“This stings just as much, because we fell extremely short when we had the opportunity to win,” Ball said. “We had numerous opportunities to capitalize on big plays, and we fell short. … This is not the way we want to be remembered. Speaking for the entire senior group, this is not the way we wanted to go out.”
Curt Phillips went 10 for 16 for 83 yards passing and that crucial interception for Wisconsin, doing more with 64 yards on the ground. Jordan Fredrick caught a short TD pass right before halftime, but no Badgers receiver had more than Jared Abbrederis’ three catches.
And though Ball became the first player to score touchdowns in three Rose Bowls, the powerful back fell short of Ron Dayne’s career Rose Bowl rushing record, swarmed under by waves of tacklers from one of the toughest defenses in the nation – a defense that shut down the top-ranked Ducks in mid-November to pave Stanford’s path to Pasadena.
Wisconsin returned to Pasadena in a much more roundabout way as the first five-loss team to make it, losing three overtime games and making the Big Ten title game only because Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible. The Badgers then steamrolled Nebraska to become the first Big Ten team in three straight Rose Bowls since Michigan in the late 1970s.
With the Rose Bowl filled with fans wearing the schools’ near-identical cardinal-and-white gear, Stanford went up 14-0 on Taylor’s 3-yard TD run just 8Â½ minutes in. Wisconsin briefly got rolling behind Ball, who rushed for 296 yards in his first two Rose Bowls.
Stanford stopped James White inside the 1 on fourth down early in the second quarter after a touchdown run by Ball was wiped out by a holding penalty, but Ball scored on the next drive. The Badgers then mounted an 85-yard drive in the waning 2Â½ minutes of the first half, with Phillips’ 38-yard run setting up Fredrick’s short TD catch to trim Stanford’s halftime lead to 17-14.
After halftime adjustments, both defenses dominated the scoreless third quarter, allowing just three combined first downs.
Wisconsin’s personal foul on a fair-catch punt return finally sparked Stanford early in the fourth quarter. Stanford got inside the Wisconsin 5 before stalling, and Jordan Williamson’s short field goal put the Cardinal up by six points with 4:23 to go.
The Badgers got to midfield, but Phillips threw behind Jacob Pedersen, and Amanam easily made the pick.
“I just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Amanam said. “We were able to kind of seal the game on that one.”