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Team’s quick start fizzles

By STEVE DeSHAZO

THE FREE LANCE-STAR

LANDOVER, Md.—A season that began with a bang ended with a limper.

Nearly every positive vibration from the Washington Redskins’ seven-game win streak was seemingly forgotten as Robert Griffin III writhed in pain on the FedEx Field turf late in Sunday’s 24–14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Eventually, Griffin was helped to the sideline, but the Redskins’ hopes exited with him.

Late in the first quarter of Washington’s first home playoff game in 13 years, Griffin aggravated a knee injury he suffered a month ago. The Redskins led 14–0 at the time, but didn’t score again as their heralded rookie quarterback hobbled ineffectively throughout the rest of the game.

Seattle, meanwhile, wore down Washington’s defense with its powerful running game and the scrambling of Richmond native Russell Wilson, who won the first battle of the rookie passers. The Seahawks (12–5) will visit Atlanta (13–3) next Sunday in an NFC Divisional playoff game.

Washington’s season, meanwhile, ended with a 10–7 record and plenty of questions for coach Mike Shanahan about his decision to stick with Griffin, even at far less than 100 percent.

“I don’t think me being out there hurt the team in any way,” Griffin said. “I’m the quarterback of this team, and I’m the best option for this team.”

It’s a team that won its opener at New Orleans, but was foundering at 3–6 on Election Day, then unexpectedly strung together seven straight victories to capture the NFC East for the first time since 1999. Griffin and fellow record-setting rookie Alfred Morris had a lot to do with that.

But the year ended with a sting—and some controversy that overshadowed some major progress.

“We learned how to win,” linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. “Hopefully, we can carry that over to next season. Hopefully, we can bring a lot of guys back, add some pieces and be better next year.”

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