Redskin Faithful Look to the Future
Barrington Salmon and Elton Hayes | 1/9/2013, noon
Playoff Hopes Die Against Seahawks
On the eve of the Redskins-Seahawks game, Lewis Buchanan stood around at an intimate gathering of friends in Upper Marlboro, Md., discussing the meteoric rise of the 'Skins during the 2012-2013 season, marveled at the team's seven-game win streak, the first NFC Championship in 13 years and prospects for the playoff game the next day.
Any success the team enjoyed in the playoff game, he theorized, would only be realized if Robert Griffin III could overcome a knee injury sustained in the Baltimore game.
"My only asterisk was that we wouldn't win if Griffin wasn't 100 percent," said Buchanan, the day after the team's 24-14 defeat. "That was the problem yesterday. I feel that if Griffin was 100 percent, we'd have pulled out the game."
"I wasn't really surprised by the team's success because we had a veteran team with just a few gaps missing," said Buchanan, president and CEO of LewLew Enterprises, a local energy company in Northwest. "We needed stability at the quarterback position. I figured that with a half-decent quarterback we could make a run. We had a banged up defense and quarterbacks that weren't good."
The difference, Buchanan said, most definitely was Griffin.
In the first quarter of Sunday's game, before an ecstatic crowd of 80,000, Washington raced to a 14-point lead in the first quarter. However, the team was unable to muster anymore offense in a game that saw the Seattle Seahawks reel off 24 unanswered points over the next three quarters. Then, in the late stages of the game, Griffin reinjured his knee when he attempted to catch the ball while the offense was in the shotgun. The stunned crowd watched in horror as Griffin, 22, writhed and grimaced in pain and he received sustained applause when he finally was able to walk off the field under his own steam.
He had an MRI on Monday and traveled to Pensacola, Fla., to see eminent orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. Published reports indicate that Griffin might have tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL).
Until the playoff loss, the Redskins Nation had been riding a wave of euphoria as their beloved team embarked on a magical carpet ride. After a paltry 3-6 record, the team ripped off seven straight wins, beat division rivals the New York Giants, hated rivals the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles along the way and sat perched atop the NFC table as NFC East champs, a feat last repeated in 1999.
Griffin's arrival at the beginning of the season heralded thoughts of the Super Bowl for devoted Redskins fans. He didn't disappoint. He amassed 3,200 yards passing in this his rookie season, threw 20 touchdowns and five interceptions, ran for 815 yards and ended the regular season with a 102.4 quarterback rating. He was ably complemented by another rookie, running back Alfred Morris, who set a single-season franchise rushing record.
But in the aftermath of the game, the Washington fans were philosophical, upset and mired in anguish, depression and sadness.