MRI shows no serious damage hours after Cousins steps in to finish rally
The first bit of good news occurred shortly after 4 p.m. on Sunday, when Kai Forbath's overtime field goal capped an unlikely comeback, allowing the Redskins and their fans to celebrate a fourth straight win.
The second bit of good news occurred more than three hours later, allowing the Redskins and their fans to exhale. That's when they learned quarterback Robert Griffin III suffered no serious ligament damage to his right knee. An MRI showed that he has a sprain, but there was no torn ACL.
Consider it the equivalent of a doubleheader sweep for the Redskins. The 31-28 win over Baltimore at FedEx Field gave the Redskins their fourth straight win -- and a 7-6 record. They remain one game behind New York in the NFC East standings and one game behind Seattle and Chicago for the wild-card spots. Both the Seahawks and Giants won Sunday.
And the news about Griffin, from Redskins senior vice president of communications Tony Wyllie, provided the exclamation point the team wanted Sunday. Griffin still has a sprained knee, and coach Mike Shanahan will update his status Monday. The Redskins have not yet said whether he will miss any time, just that the ACL was not torn.
Griffin later tweeted, "Your positive vibes and prayers worked people!!!! To God be the Glory."
The injury occurred with 1:56 left in the game and the Redskins trailing 28-20. On second-and-19, he scrambled for 13 yards and was hit in the right knee as he fell by defensive lineman Haloti Ngata.
"I knew as soon as I got hit. I screamed -- like a man, of course," Griffin said jokingly. "I knew it hurt really bad. [The trainers] looked at me for a second, and I wanted to let them know I wanted to go back in, and I did for a few plays."
So that's what he did. After sitting out one play, Griffin re-entered for four more, two of which resulted in completions of 15 and 22 yards to the Baltimore 16-yard line. After a fourth pass, an incompletion after he was surprised that the ball had been snapped, Griffin exited.
"I needed to get out at that point. I couldn't move. At some point you have to do what's right for the team. If I played the rest of the game I would have hurt myself even more," he said.
Enter Kirk Cousins. He jogged to a huddle that proclaimed confidence in him.
"Cold as ice -- like they used to say about Larry Bird," Redskins receiver Joshua Morgan said of Cousins. "He was like nothing was going on. ... Once he hears the play call, he starts thinking like a mad scientist. [Receivers coach] Ike Hilliard said it best: He's like a human computer."
Cousins' first completion was a 15-yarder to receiver Leonard Hankerson to the Baltimore 11-yard line. His next pass, when he was forced from the pocket and rolled right, found Pierre Garcon in the end zone.
"I thought, 'I am going to make something happen and try to do my best RGIII, if you will,'?" Cousins said.
He then tied the game on a quarterback draw for a two-point conversion.
"You always hope you have a guy as a backup that's going to come in and perform when you need to," left guard Kory Lichtensteiger said. "You never really know, but it's nice to know if Robert goes down we have someone capable to come in for him."