ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — He was all over the field making plays for the Washington Redskins, and his name isn’t Robert Griffin III. Now Brandon Meriweather’s season is done after one game with a torn ACL in his right knee — and right after his left knee had finally healed.
An MRI on Monday revealed the season-ending injury for the snake-bit safety who played just long enough to give a tantalizing taste of what he could do to help one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.
"I think he brought a spark to the whole team," defensive end Stephen Bowen said.
Meriweather went down without contact, his knee buckling as he was pursuing a running play early in the third quarter of Sunday’s 31-6 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. He had one interception, broke up two passes and had seven tackles despite playing a little more than half of the game.
"He played great," coach Mike Shanahan said. "You can’t ask a guy to play any better than he played."
A two-time Pro Bowl player signed as a free agent in March, Meriweather sprained two ligaments in his left knee in a preseason game against the Chicago Bears, then reinjured the knee during a practice in the week before the regular season opener. He was ready to return for the Week 4 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he reinjured the knee again when he collided with teammate Aldrick Robinson during pregame warm-ups.
Then, having watched the secondary struggle through the first nine games of the season, he finally suited up on Sunday. While the opponent wasn’t exactly top-of-the-line — the Eagles (3-7) dropped their sixth straight and had rookie quarterback Nick Foles making his first NFL start — Meriweather helped the Redskins (4-6) break a three-game losing streak while forcing three turnovers and allowing 257 yards, a season-low for a Washington opponent.
"He brought a lot of energy," cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "He brought a lot of intensity, seeing things a little differently than somebody else might have. I loved it. … He was definitely a play-maker. You could tell he was out there on the field."
Shanahan noted that Meriweather didn’t have a significant injury history before arriving in Washington.
"This is just a couple of freak situations," Shanahan said, "so hopefully he can take care of that and be back next year ready to go."
The Redskins began the season envisioning a starting safety tandem of Meriweather and Tanard Jackson, but Jackson was suspended for the season after failing a drug test. Madieu Williams has started every game, while DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty have tried to hold down the other spot. Washington was ranked 29th against the pass through Sunday’s games.
"I want to start off by saying I’m sorry to all the redskins fan. Y’all are the best," Meriweather posted on Twitter shortly after receiving the diagnosis. "But this was a bad season for me."
Other Injuries: LB London Fletcher, who has played in all 234 games of his NFL career, was wearing a walking boot Monday after spraining his ankle in Sunday’s game. He has to get well in a hurry if he’s to continue his streak. The Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys in a Thanksgiving game Thursday. "Knowing London, he’ll be back if possible," Shanahan said.
More injuries from Sunday’s game:
CB Josh Wilson (second degree rotator cuff sprain),
LT Trent Williams (sprained ankle),
TE Logan Paulsen (hip strain).
The Redskins will be able to better evaluate those players when they return for a full practice Tuesday.