The Seattle Seahawks hadn't won a playoff game on the road since the team was in the AFC, losing their last eight straight road playoff games. Things are vastly different in Seattle these days, and that was clear when Pete Carroll's team beat the Washington Redskins by a final score of 24-14 on the road in Landover, Md.
The two rookie quarterbacks did not disappoint, though they did find much tougher sledding in their first postseason appearances. Both teams dialed up harder hitting, more blitzing and played on a field that that looked like the Norman invasion crossed there hours before the game started. Both first-year quarterback held their ground.
A hobbled RGIII completed 10-of-19 passes for a total of 84 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His knee injury took away Washington's read option offense, forcing him to do most of his work inside the pocket. Griffin attempted a few runs, limping visibly down the field. He finished the game with 21 rushing yards.
It all went south for RGIII at about the six-minute mark in the fourth quarter. A bad snap hit what was left of the turf. Griffin's knee buckled as he stooped down to get the ball, bending in a way that knees are not supposed to bend. His day ended at that point.
There were mutterings on Twitter and from the broadcast booth about the wisdom of leaving RGIII in the game. It's an easy debate to have from the comfort of your living room. Head coach Mike Shanahan had to leave his best player in there, and probably would have had to forcibly remove him from the game.
The real question for the Redskins might be the initial handling of RGIII's knee injury. A report Sunday morning revealed that Dr. James Andrews did not give clearance for RGIII to return to the game against the Ravens, the game where Griffin was injured on a hit by Haloti Ngata. The rookie quarterback missed the next week's game, but returned after that. Could he have sat another week, even if it meant missing a do-or-die Week 17 game against Dallas?
Safeties, cornerbacks, hobos living under the bleachers, Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett threw everything he could at Russell Wilson, with success. Wilson was sacked five times. He nevertheless managed to complete 15-of-26 of his throws for a total of 187 yards and a second quarter touchdown to Michael Robinson. Wilson added another 67 yards on the ground, carrying the ball himself eight times.
Marshawn Lynch was headed toward goat status after a third quarter fumble at the one-yard line cost Seattle a scoring drive that could have given them a lead. Lynch made it up for later in the game. Facing a furious Washington blitz, Seattle leaned on Lynch, who went into full beast mode, as he is wont to do. He broke off a 27-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that put Seattle on top for good.
Box score hero: Lynch finished the game with 131 yards on 19 carries, as well as his game-breaking touchdown. It seemed like he was the only one capable of moving on the terrible field.
Injury report: This was a brutal game for injuries. Besides RGIII, the casualties included Seattle DE Chris Clemons, Washington OG Kory Lichtensteiger left the game. Pierre Garcon was among the long list of walking wounded who managed to stay on the field.
Did they cover: Seattle was favored by three points.
Next: The Seahawks travel to Atlanta next weekend to take on the NFC's top-seeded team.