Friday, July 31, 2015

Wilson last rookie QB standing

LANDOVER, Md.—Either way, a rookie quarterback was going to make it to the second round of the playoffs.
The losing team would go home disappointed, but with the knowledge that its rookie did more than enough to prove that bright days are ahead.

If it only were that tidy.
The first part still holds. Russell Wilson indeed is the last rookie QB standing in the NFL’s post-season, having led the Seattle Seahawks to a 24-14 win yesterday over the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins, however, won’t be completely at ease until they’ve learned the full extent of Robert Griffin III’s latest knee injury.
He kept playing hurt until he finally went down for good in the fourth quarter, and his teammates only can hope it’s something that can heal completely in the off-season and not prevent “RG3” from being his old self next fall.
“You know he is such a huge player in our offence,” said Redskins’ Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams.
“And for him not to be 100 percent healthy kind of hurt us.”
Griffin was scheduled for an MRI while Wilson and his teammates will be back on the East Coast this coming Sunday for a game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Seahawks have a five-game winning streak and their first road playoff win since December, 1983 while the Redskins ended a seven-game winning run that gave them their first division title since 1999.
“I’m done referring to Russell as a rookie,” said Seattle receiver Golden Tate. “He’s not playing like a rookie, doesn’t act like a rookie.
“We’re 17 games in, he’s not a rookie no more,” Tate stressed.
The Redskins feel the same about Griffin—to the point that coach Mike Shanahan gave the quarterback plenty of leeway to keep playing even when it was clear all was not well.
Griffin already had been hindered in two games since spraining the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee about a month ago, and he looked especially gimpy after falling awkwardly while throwing an incomplete pass in the first quarter yesterday.
“He said, ‘Hey, trust me. I want to be in there and I deserve to be in there,’” Shanahan noted.
“I couldn’t disagree with him.”
Shanahan said he’ll probably second-guess himself over his decision. It certainly was open to question after Griffin’s knee buckled while he was trying to field a bad shotgun snap in the fourth quarter.
Griffin was in such pain he didn’t even try to recover the loose ball. It was his last snap of the season.
“I think I did put myself at more risk,” Griffin admitted. “But every time you get on the field, you’re putting yourself on the line.”
Even if Shanahan had tried to pull Griffin before that, the quarterback said he would have rebelled.
“I probably would have 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,” he stressed.
The injury essentially clinched the outcome. The Seahawks had just taken a 21-14 lead on a 27-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch and a two-point conversion with 7:08 to go.
It then was Griffin’s turn to try to drive for a tie. Instead, the fumble gave the ball right back to Seattle and set up an easy insurance field goal.
Lynch finished with 132 yards on 20 carries while Wilson completed 15-of-26 passes for 187 yards and ran eight times for 67 yards.
The defence recovered after digging a 14-0 first-quarter hole—Seattle’s biggest deficit of the season—and held the Redskins scoreless the rest of the way.
“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,” said Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll.
The day began with three rookie quarterbacks in the playoffs, but Andrew Luck was eliminated when Indianapolis lost 24-9 to Baltimore.
On Saturday night, the Green Bay Packers cruised to a 24-10 win over Minnesota Vikings 24-10, who were without starting quarterback Christian Ponder, and now will visit the San Francisco 49ers this coming weekend in the divisional round.

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