Two plays after Griffin appeared to reinjure an already tender knee in the first quarter, he threw a four-yard touchdown pass. To that point, the Redskins had 14 points and 135 yards of offense. Over the remaining 51:36 of the game, they would add only 69 yards and never again cross midfield.
After the game, Griffin said the knee did not affect his ability to throw. If that is true, it is an indictment in itself, suggesting that, without his mobility to fall back on, Griffin needs to make significant progress as a passer. More likely, he was taking one for the team – playing when he should not have been on the field.
But that raises its own questions. Griffin tweaked his knee in the first quarter and then injured it further in the fourth – to the point where he finally did come out – without being touched by a defender either time. And this was three weeks after suffering what doctors called one of the milder knee strains possible.
Is this what a Griffin career will look like: Moments of incandescence dimmed by the beating his body will take as he scampers on one of his signature runs?
But how can he stop running?
Perhaps, over time, he can develop into an elite pocket passer. Ten years from now, his struggles to be an effective passer against a fearsome Seahawk defense Sunday will simply be remembered as a typical rookie's growing pains. His intelligence, arm, and attitude suggest he has the ability to succeed long-term, regardless of his knees.
But is that what we want?
Is that why Griffin's jersey was the most popular in the NFL this year?
As impressive as his mind and arm are, Griffin's legs are what make him extraordinary. Take away the image of him freezing the defensive end with a loose-limbed juke and sprinting for daylight down the sideline, chased only by his own contrails, and he would seem diminished, whatever his future success.