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Redskins Beat Ravens, But Griffin Hurts Knee

The Redskins out-fought the Ravens for a 31-28 overtime win to push their record to 7-6 and inch closer to the playoffs, but the team is sweating out news on rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III's knee, which he injured on a critical 4th quarter scramble. The reason everyone in DC is practically frantic about Griffin's knee is this: they're doomed without him.

Kirk Cousins is a nice kid who might make a fine NFL QB someday. He made a couple nice throws late against the Ravens, including an 11-yard TD pass to Pierre Garcon to force the extra period. But don't kid yourself: the Washington offense is built around Griffin. Cousins is okay for a couple plays in an emergency, but he doesn't present the game-changing, defense-wrecking, all-world talent of Griffin.

That's not a criticism of Cousins -- no one has Griffin's combination of skill, athleticism and temperament. No one ever has. What I'm talking about is the simple reality that Griffin's uniqueness masks personnel deficiencies all over the field. Why has the offensive line been solid this year? Because Griffin can avoid sacks, extend plays and force defenses to account for both run and pass on every play -- regardless of down and distance.

Despite my general squeamishness with injuries, I've looked at the play several times (see below, if you have the stomach for it). A few thoughts: first, how fricking amazing is it that Griffin went back into the game after this? Second, I don't like how that knee whiplashes around the Ravens defender. Third, I didn't like Griffin's lack of ability to move when he came back into the game.

All that said, the news since the hit has been generally favorable. X-rays were negative. An MRI is likely either tonight or tomorrow morning, but Griffin told reporters that he doesn't think it's an ACL. He had an ACL injury at Baylor, so perhaps he knows what he's talking about.

One more thought, I guess: If he's somehow escaped serious injury, I will officially conclude he's made of rubber.

I'm trying to put off worrying until tomorrow when the team may be able to provide a prognosis for Griffin's return to action. The win gives the Skins at least a coin flip chance of reaching the playoffs with three games remaining -- a surprising and welcome change since their 3-6 start.