The sprained lateral collateral ligament that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III suffered to his right knee last Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens will keep him out of this Sunday's matchup against the Browns in Cleveland. As a result, fellow rookie Kirk Cousins, who drove the Redskins to a late-game tie and 31-28 overtime win against Baltimore, will get his first NFL start.
Griffin suffered the knee injury when he was tackled by Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata with 1:57 left in regulation. He did practice through the week, but Redskins officials reportedly believe that the team could open Griffin up to further setbacks if he played on Sunday.
"He's got to be prepared to go either way," Shanahan said of Cousins on Friday. "Any time you get reps, a quarterback has always got to be ready to go. Especially in a situation like this, you have to be prepared mentally to go."
Cousins also replaced Griffin in a 24-17 Week 5 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Coming into the game after Griffin suffered a concussion, Cousins threw a touchdown pass, but also gave up two picks on just nine passing attempts.
The Michigan State rookie certainly looked better than that against Baltimore. Cousins became the first non-starting quarterback to throw a game-tying touchdown pass in regulation, and go on to win in overtime, since Derek Anderson did it for the Browns in 2006.
"He's ice," receiver Josh Morgan said of Cousins after the Baltimore game. "Like they used to say about Larry Bird, he's got ice water in his veins. That's the best thing you can say about Kirk. He was coming like nothing was even going on."
After the Browns, who have won three straight games and have an improving defense, the Redskins close out their 2012 regular season with games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Washington is 7-6, ranks second in the NFC East, and has won its last four games. In those four games, Griffin threw 10 touchdown passes and just one interception.
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