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A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

January 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM

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Don't let RGIII debate drown out Seahawks' impressive comeback

It didn’t take long for the howling over Robert Griffin III’s knee injury to begin. Only a few hours after the Seahawks’ 24-14 NFC wild-card playoff victory, writers from around the country began reacting.

In fact, unless you’re from Seattle, reaction over RGIII’s injury and the rising debate over whether he should have still been in the game nearly drowned out the sheer grit of Seattle’s impressive comeback from a 14-0 deficit.

That’s a shame, of course.

Still, Griffin's knee injury made you wince whether you were rooting for the Seahawks or for Washington. RGIII practically hopped at the end of a couple of runs, limped back to the huddle, and then had his knee buckle gruesomely on a fumbled snap. The play was the end of RGIII’s day, and sealed Seattle’s victory, but it was hard to watch.

Here’s hoping Griffin’s injury isn’t as serious as it looked Sunday. He’s an incredible talent and the kind of player and person the NFL needs.

Here is some of the reaction from around the country on Griffin’s injury and Washington coach Mike Shanahan’s handling of his franchise quarterback:

Ugly finish

An afternoon that began with so much promise — with the burgundy-and-gold carrying its seven-game winning streak into the franchise’s first home playoff game since 2000, then sprinting to a 14-0 lead behind Griffin, its brilliant rookie signal-caller – ended in about as ugly a fashion as possible: with the Redskins losing a slim fourth-quarter lead and watching their franchise cornerstone crumpled on the battered turf, holding his injured right knee.”

– Dave Sheinen, Washington Post

'Bordering on cruelty'

Shanahan is blinded by ambition and by trying to finally silence the criticism that he’s never won anything without John Elway.

What he needed to do was protect the Redskins’ future by protecting Griffin from himself. Players always want to play.

Shanahan was bordering on cruelty by not trusting his eyes.

– Gary Myers, New York Daily News

Griffin's lies

Robert Griffin III couldn’t do much of anything Sunday except lie, which is what he’s been trained to do in situations like this.

Lie to himself that he can still deliver like no backup could. Lie to his coach that this was nothing big. Lie to the doctors who tried to assess him in the swirl of a playoff sideline.

So Robert Griffin III lied, which is to be excused because this is a sport that rewards toughness in the face of common sense, a culture that celebrates the warrior who is willing to leave everything on the field, a business that believes such lies are part of the road to greatness.”

– Dan Wetzel,

How it had to end

We can fight over this one forever, whether Shanahan should have left Griffin in the game, why James Andrews even shows up on the sideline if he doesn’t have the power to say, outright, “Don’t put him back in there.”

But let’s be clear: This is how it was always going to end.

Griffin on the ground in agony, Shanahan seeing his worst nightmare unfold — the face of the franchise who doesn’t always tell his coach the truth about his health, unable to get up under his own power; his coach ashen-faced, knowing he probably shouldn’t have been so swayed by a kid with such a huge heart, no matter how good he is.”

– Mike Wise, Washington Post

Scary sequence

Griffin held on, rolling ever so slightly in the chewed-up grass. His teammate Trent Williams screamed for team trainers to hurry onto the field, and minutes later Griffin finally rose, slowly and gingerly, before limping off to nervous cheers.

That scary sequence, as linebacker Lorenzo Alexander called it, served as a difficult coda for the Redskins fans at FedEx Field on Sunday who endured a doubly brutal finish: their team’s surprising season ended with a 24-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, while their wunderkind quarterback’s future was thrown into doubt because of another knee injury with about six minutes left in the game. Adding to the emotion was that many will question whether Griffin should have even been in the game.

– Sam Borden, New York Times

Expect some criticism

Mike Shanahan can expect some criticism for his decision to keep playing a clearly bothered RGIII, especially in the wake of a Sunday report that Dr. James Andrews never cleared Griffin to return to the Ravens game after his injury, despite Shanahan’s insistence that he did.


Everyone's worst fears

More than a few people thought RGIII had no business being in the game even before he was knocked out for good (RGIII himself undoubtedly would have fought tooth and nail against that assessment – and probably did), the injury seemed to confirm everyone’s worst fears, and combine that all with this story, and you’ve got some big questions about Mike Shanahan’s handling of his most prized asset.

– Glenn Davis, Sports Grid

'It's a shame'

It’s a shame that we didn’t get to see what a healthy RG3 could have done in the playoffs. He hobbled throughout the game; his accuracy and speed clearly were compromised.

– Gregg Rosenthal,

Passing the buck

If ever a veteran coach needed to accept responsibility for the reins of a player, it was Shanahan over Griffin in this game. Yet he simply passed the buck to his player. Griffin said he could play, was in pain but wasn’t injured and had earned the right to be the quarterback — all the sideline buzzwords to keep yourself in the game. And Shanahan listened and bought it. Soon, we’ll find out the price.

– Thomas Boswell, Washington Post

Protect him from himself

Griffin was so obviously not himself, and so tentative moving around, and the Redskins and their medical staff should have seen this. Griffin clearly has a they’ll-have-to-drag-me-off-the-field mentality and needs to be protected from himself. Shanahan should know this. I believe he should have pulled Griffin out of the game before the half, for good.

– Peter King, Sports Illustrated

Shanahan should apologize

RG3 on his way to hospital for MRI on his knee. Hope Shanahan is driving him and apologizing.

– Mike Freeman, CBS Sports tweet

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