LANDOVER, Md. — Robert Griffin III reached too far for the football, his already injured right leg twisting gruesomely behind him.
Just like that, Griffin was done. And so were the Washington Redskins.
The Seattle Seahawks finally won a road playoff game, snapping an eight-game postseason skid away from home with a 24-14 NFC wild-card victory Sunday over the Redskins, who lost Griffin to another knee injury in the fourth quarter.
“I think I did put myself at more risk by being out there,” Griffin said. “But every time you get on the field, you’re putting yourself on the line.”
Griffin didn’t know what the injury was, and coach Mike Shanahan said he was scheduled for an MRI exam to determine the extent of the injury.
Washington won seven straight games to win the NFC East title and become the only team in the last 16 years to make the playoffs after a 3-6 start. But any hope for a late comeback win against the Seahawks ended once Griffin’s heavily braced right knee buckled badly as he strained to field a bad shotgun snap in the fourth quarter. He lay on the ground, unable to recover the ball as the Seahawks pounced on it.
Many fans in the stands stood in silence, their hands covering their faces as Griffin was being attended to. Several of Griffin’s Redskins teammates also stood around the quarterback to see if he was OK.
Though Griffin walked off the field under his own power, the Redskins (10-7) quickly announced he would not return.
“If you didn’t pull him out then, you should get fired,” Shanahan said.
Griffin suffered a mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament located on the outside of the knee against Baltimore on Dec. 9, caused when he was hit by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata at the end of a 13-yard scramble. He was limping earlier in this game, clearly still ailing from that injury.
“It was hard to watch RGIII tonight,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “It was hard on him. He was freaking gallant.”
Despite Griffin’s struggles, Shanahan left him in the game. Not that Griffin would have accepted an early exit.
“I probably would been right back out there on the field,” Griffin said. “You respect authority, and I respect Coach Shanahan. But at the same time, you have to step up and be a man sometimes. There was no way I was coming out of that game.”
Griffin went to the locker room to get checked out after going down in a heap in the fourth quarter, but walked back out a few minutes later and stood on the sideline as a spectator.
Seattle’s Steven Hauschka kicked his third field goal of the game, and backup quarterback Kirk Cousins couldn’t pull off the late-game heroics he displayed a few weeks ago against the Ravens when Griffin was first injured.
Griffin completed 10 of 19 passes for 84 yards with two touchdowns and an interception and ran for 21 yards on five carries.
“I don’t feel like me being out there hurt the team in any way,” Griffin said. “I’m the best option.”
Shanahan said he spoke with Griffin throughout the game about the quarterback’s health.
“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.”