Robert Griffin III reached too far for the football, his already injured right leg twisting gruesomely behind him.
Just like that, Griffin was done. And so were the Washington Redskins.
The Seattle Seahawks finally won a road playoff game, snapping an eight-game postseason skid away from home with a 24-14 NFC wild-card victory Sunday over the Redskins, who lost Griffin to another knee injury in the fourth quarter.
"I think I did put myself at more risk by being out there," Griffin said. "But every time you get on the field, you're putting yourself on the line."
Griffin didn't know what the injury was, and coach Mike Shanahan said he was scheduled for an MRI to determine its extent.
Washington won seven straight games to win the NFC East title and become the only team in the last 16 years to make the playoffs after a 3-6 start. But any hope for a late comeback win against the Seahawks ended once Griffin's heavily braced right knee buckled badly as he strained to field a bad shotgun snap in the fourth quarter. He lay on the ground, unable to recover the ball as the Seahawks pounced on it.
Many fans in the stands stood in silence, their hands covering their faces as Griffin was being attended to by team trainers. Several of Griffin's Redskins teammates also stood around the quarterback to see if he was OK.
Though Griffin walked off the field under his own power after several minutes and saluted the fans, the Redskins (10-7) quickly announced he would not return.
"If you didn't pull him out then, you should get fired," Shanahan said.
Griffin was playing in his third game since spraining his right knee about a month ago against the Baltimore Ravens.
Earlier Sunday, USA Today Sports reported that renowned surgeon and Redskins team physician Dr. James Andrews never gave medical clearance for Griffin to return to the contest against the Ravens, even though Shanahan told reporters that the rookie had been cleared.
Andrews, who was on the Redskins' sideline during the game against the Ravens and during Sunday's matchup against the Seahawks, told USA Today Sports that he ultimately decided to pull Griffin from that contest due to what was diagnosed as a sprained knee. After initially suffering the injury against the Ravens, Griffin returned to the game for four plays before being replaced by fellow rookie Kirk Cousins.
Andrews also told USA Today Sports that he has been uneasy with Griffin's quick recovery from the injury. Griffin did not play in Washington's win over Cleveland on Dec. 16, but returned the following week against Philadelphia.
"I've been a nervous wreck letting him come back as quick as he has," Andrews told USA Today.
Despite Griffin's struggles Sunday against the Seahawks, Shanahan left him in the game -- not that Griffin would have accepted an early exit.
"I probably would 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."
Griffin went to the locker room to get checked out after going down in a heap in the fourth quarter, but walked back out a few minutes later and stood on the sideline as only a spectator for the rest of the game.
"It was hard to watch RG III tonight," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "It was hard on him. He was freaking gallant."
Immediately after the game, Griffin was unable to walk from the training room to his locker without pausing to lean on an equipment trunk. He changed from his uniform into his three-piece suit without showering and stabilized himself with the partition separating his locker from that of Cousins whenever he stood.
Sunday's game was only the second playoff contest in NFL history between rookie quarterbacks, and before his injury, Griffin looked more like a first-year player than he had during Washington's impressive run to end the regular season. He completed 10-of-19 passes for 84 yards with two touchdowns and an interception and ran for 21 yards on five carries.
"I don't feel like me being out there hurt the team in any way," Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick, said. "I'm the best option."
Shanahan said he spoke with Griffin throughout the game about the quarterback's health.
"He said, 'Hey, trust me. I want to be in there, and I deserve to be in there,' " Shanahan said. "I couldn't disagree with him." - espn