Robert Griffin III passed for just 164 yards and was benched in the fourth quarter Dec. 8 as Washington’s NFL team was embarrassed in a 45-10 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
It was an all-around ugly game from start to finish for Washington as they trailed 17-0 by the end of the 1st quarter, then fell behind 31-7 by halftime. Kansas City scored 24 more points in the second half and Griffin was eventually benched in the fourth quarter with the lead far out of Washington’s reach.
It was the fifth consecutive loss for Washington who fell to a 3-10 overall record on the season.
With only three games left on the season, head coach Mike Shanahan said during a media conference Dec 8 that he is considering benching Griffin for the remaining three games of this season to avoid him being injured in the remaining meaningless games.
"Do you take the risk of having a guy possibly miss the offseason — your franchise quarterback? Or do you play him and all of a sudden the second game or in the first game you lose him for the offseason–was it worth the risk?" Shanahan said during the media conference, citing that Griffin has been sacked (hit and tackled behind the line of scrimmage) 24 times in the last five games.
If Washington’s offensive line can’t protect Griffin, then it may be best for him to avoid the unnecessary punishment.
But there’s also the possibility that Shanahan may be benching Griffin to either smooth-out his relationship with the Washington NFL team’s owner, Dan Snyder, or provoke Snyder to fire him.
ESPN.com reported Sunday before the game against the Chiefs that sources close to Shanahan say he was ready to quit last season because of Snyder’s relationship with Griffin.
ESPN.com reporter Dan Graziano wrote that Shanahan didn't blame Griffin but did hold Snyder at fault for “creating an atmosphere” that wasn’t “conducive to winning.”
Washington Post writer Mark Maske reported that sources told him Snyder was furious over the reports about Shanahan considering quitting and questioned the timing and motive behind such information becoming public. Maske wrote that his source said Snyder even suggested that Shanahan, “or someone close to him,” may be responsible for the report.
Shanahan declined to address ESPN.com’s assertions following the debacle of the Chiefs game. "It's not the right time or place to talk about my relationship with Dan Snyder, or it's not the right time and place to talk about something that happened a year ago," Shanahan said during the post game press conference. "I'll get a chance to talk to Dan at the end of the season, and I'll give some viewpoints from me, and I'm sure he'll give me his thoughts and what direction we'll go."
If Shanahan does decide to sit Griffin, ESPN.com reports that sources told them Snyder would not intervene. Griffin’s backup quarterback is Kirk Cousins, who Shanahan drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft–despite drafting Griffin in the first round of the same draft.
Cousins played the fourth quarter against the Chiefs, completing 7-of-16 pass attempts for 59 yards. Cousins had also filled in for Griffin when he injured his knee last season. Cousins took over for an injured Griffin in the week-14 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens last season and led Washington on a game-winning drive. He also started the next week against the Cleveland Browns and led Washington to a 38-21 win.