Week 18: A Heartbreaking Conclusion

On Sunday, the Redskins made their first playoff appearance since 2007 and hosted their first home playoff game since 1999. The excitement leading up to kick off was palpable. The air was thick with anticipation and burgundy and gold flags. It was a perfect January afternoon for football, too. Redskins Nation seemed well prepared for a tough battle against the Seahawks,  but I don’t think anyone was prepared for the heartbreak that would come along with the 24-14 loss.

Our Home Field
Redskins fans were out in force on Sunday. Sure, there were Seahawks fans present, but not in nearly the numbers we used to opposing team’s fans. FedEx Field was loud and the fans started making noise before they were even inside. Unfortunately, the actual field itself didn’t perform as well as the fans. It was dry and full of divots. Whether or not the field condition has contributed to injuries, it is clear that the field needs a lot of TLC.

Very High to Very Low Q1
14-0 after the first three drives?! Holy momentum, Batman. To start the game, the Redskins took 11 minutes off the clock, scored two touchdowns and forced the Seahawks to punt. It was exactly the kind of start every Redskins fan had hoped for – a big statement start to let the Seahawks know our team was fire up and ready for the fight. Unfortunately, the game began to unravel after the second touchdown as word spread that Robert Griffin III had gone into the locker room. He’d looked a little hobbled coming off the field and that was not encouraging news. Good thing we drafted Kirk Cousins, right? Wrong.

The Mistake Heard Round the Stadium
With Griffin III clearly in pain, struggling to perform and visibly unable to fully plant on his right leg, the stadium started to buzz with questions about when we would see Cousins enter the game. The fans were ready for it, even wanted it, anything to save Griffin III from further injury and maintain the momentum of the game – the former really being of primary concern in the long run, the latter the more pressing issue at hand. Unfortunately, Coach Shanahan chose to keep Griffin III in the game until it was too late, until he’d been further injured so badly that he truly couldn’t play any longer.

And So We Lost…
The game and our QB. It was a very disheartening, even heartbreaking way to end an otherwise epic season of hope and renewal. The loss stung far less than the mismanagement of the QB situation and subsequent post-game comments by both Shanahan and Griffin III. I won’t call for Shanahan’s head, but he is the Head Coach and it is his responsibility to look out for the best interests of our players, especially those so central to the future of the franchise.

The conclusion of the season felt a little too much like the Redskins of yore, the ones who were fraught with mismanagement and controversy, sealed in secrets, victims of their own hubris and doomed through their own actions. We didn’t just lose the game, we also lost a little bit of the progress we’d made towards a becoming a better organization as a whole. 

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