Twelve months is a long time in football. A short twelve months ago the Redskins were mixing it with the best, playing the Seahawks as NFC East champions, having defeated the Dallas Cowboys in a winner-takes-all contest to finish the season with a 10-6 record. As the #4 seed, the Redskins had home field advantage in the wild card game.
The Seahawks came out of the tough NFC West, finishing just ½ a game back of the 49ers at 11-5 and claiming a wild card place in the playoffs as the #5 seed. Both teams had rookie quarterbacks who had taken the NFL by storm, with the Redskins’ RGIII just nipping the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson for the NFL’s Offensive Rookie Of The Year award.
Griffin was expected to do well, as the Redskins gave up multiple picks to move up the draft to pick him. Even so, he surpassed expectations with his accuracy and athleticism, throwing just five picks all year and rushing for over 800 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Redskins’ offence was ranked fourth in the NFL in points scored, but Griffin had shown some vulnerability in terms of staying healthy, first getting knocked out of the Falcons game, then also from the Ravens game. Griffin was forced to watch from the sideline as Kirk Cousins led the team to a win over the Browns, but he returned the following week with a large, mobility limiting knee brace.
Wilson was more of a surprise, dropping to the third round, possibly due to his relatively short stature, but he beat out Matt Flynn who the Seahawks had signed to a massive free agent contract. He passed for over 3,100 yards and 26 touchdowns and also showed great mobility, almost reaching 500 yards on the ground for the year.
The game was expected to be tight, but the Redskins came out fighting and Griffin led the team to a 14-0 first quarter lead with their first two possessions, taking the first 80 yards in nine plays and the second 54 yards in 11 plays.
At the end of that second scoring drive, Griffin suffered a slight aggravation to his injured knee and was clearly struggling with it but he didn’t come out. Of their eight subsequent possessions, the Redskins’ longest drive was 23 yards and we all know what happened to RGIII in the final quarter.
Twelve months after meeting in the playoffs, the ‘Hawks have soared, reaching their second Superbowl while the Redskins have sunk, finishing with the second worst record in the NFL at 3-13. They don’t even have the benefit of the #2 pick in the draft due to the Griffin trade.
As the great Jimmy Greaves (Google it!) said on many occasions…”Football’s a funny old game…”