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Shutdown Corner

Robert Griffin III roller coaster continues as late pick sinks Redskins, dashes playoff hopes

Eric Edholm
Shutdown Corner

As we consider the Washington Redskins' season — time of death, 4:26 p.m. ET — in the past tense, we must wonder about the development of Robert Griffin III and what kind of player, ultimately, he'll turn out to be.

Watching RG3 play can run through the gamut of emotions, and they were all there for the viewing in Sunday's heart-imploding 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles: frustration and confusion, followed by joy and awe, then capped by stunning disbelief.

Griffin had it all in an uneven performance, as the grave shut on last year's NFC East champs and the possible favorites to finish in the division basement this season. What a horrible week to have a game like this. Amid all the questions from outside Redskins Park about Griffin's leadership and the relationship between Griffin and Mike Shanahan, a win here would have helped quiet the critics.

Instead, they'll all have microphones by Monday morning.

The Redskins' defense and special teams were much to blame for allowing the Eagles to build a 24-0 lead, but Griffin's first-half struggles (4-of-7 passing for 26 yards and three sacks) didn't help. His comeback attempt cannot go overlooked, though, as he rallied the team down two two scores and two two-point conversions with confidence and precision. But then again, neither can you ignore his inexplicable game-sealing interception, which was sandlot football at his worst. Forget his best intentions — throwing the ball away, you'd assume — the decision, while stumbling backward under pressure, was high-school-esque.

Griffin explained the end-game pick as such, per the AP:

"Nobody got open so I was backing up, and in a situation where if you get a sack, that ends the game, I was trying to throw the ball in the back of the end zone," Griffin said. "It didn't get to where I wanted it to go. Obviously I was on my heels. Something I can definitely learn from."

The Redskins are tied to Griffin. This is their guy. They forfeited major chunks of three drafts to secure him. At times, it looked genius. Others, it looks foolhardy. Is this the kind of ride the Redskins are in for the next several years?

Their struggles this season cannot be blamed on Griffin's rehabbed knee. They cannot be explained simply by a bad salary-cap situation or years of shaky drafting and questionable free-agent forays. Some of this falls squarely on Griffin, too.

We likely won't get much more of the answer until next season, which will be the next significant game Griffin and the Redskins will play in.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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