RG3 knee injury and more: Why wild-card weekend was kind of a rip-off

Robert Griffin III kept playing when he shouldn't have. Now the Washington Redskins face the possibility of starting next season without RG3, depending on whether their prized quarterback tore the ACL in his right knee.

Obviously that's a horrible situation for Griffin, and its tough for the Redskins and their fans, who finally had something to cheer again about this season.

And for the average football fan, Griffin's injury and the fact that he kept playing on it most of the game helped put a damper on the first round of the NFL playoffs.

Normally this time of year is when we expect to see the best the NFL has to offer, with all of the riffraff finally sifted out. Like what we thought we were getting in the Redskins' game against the Seattle Seahawks, with two of the league's exciting rookie quarterbacks facing off in a do-or-die game.

But instead of seeing the dynamic Griffin who sparked the Redskins on a seven-game winning streak just to make the playoffs, we instead saw a hobbled quarterback who had no business being out there after he tweaked his knee early in the game. His backup, fellow rookie Kirk Cousins, might have been a step down from a healthy Griffin in the excitement department, but at least he would have given Washington a better chance to win.

Two of the other three wild-card games were marred by notable and unexpected absences. Bruce Arians, one of the key figures in Indianapolis' remarkable season, missed the Colts' playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens after being hospitalized with flu-like symptoms before the game. Sure, sensational rookie quarterback Andrew Luck still was there, but he was without the guy who had called every play for him all season.

And Minnesota revealed on game day that quarterback Christian Ponder would be out against Green Bay because of a bruised triceps muscle in his throwing arm. While that wasn't as significant a scratch as workhorse running back Adrian Peterson would have been, it was pretty easy for the Packers to focus on the league's leading rusher while up against a starting QB, Joe Webb, who hadn't thrown a pass all season.

Obviously there were many other factors involved in each case, but all three teams in question -- Washington, Indianapolis and Minnesota -- lost. And so did football fans who were looking for compelling playoff matchups but instead got a weekend of lackluster football.

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