And Griffin, the most thrilling new quarterback in the NFL in years, escaped a terrifying collision with 340-pound Haloti Ngata with his right leg still attached to his body. And, according to the Redskins, no major damage.
“Oh, Lord, here we go,” Griffin said he thought as he cut back across the middle of the field on a scramble with 1:48 to play in regulation, venturing where the big people roam. “I knew [I was hurt] as soon as I got hit. I screamed — like a man, of course.”
The Redskins can smile, or in Griffin’s case, even risk a laugh. According to a Redskins spokesman, an MRI exam on Griffin’s knee after the game showed “everything is clear on the MRI . . . no [significant] ligament damage. He has a sprained knee.”
Griffin, who at one point collapsed, unable to walk, and crawled on the field before leaving the game, also tweeted that his MRI prayers had been answered. By Monday, there should be more specifics on whether Griffin will miss time. But the bullet of long-term damage was apparently dodged.
In a gut-flipping split second, the largest and scariest Raven of all, the mammoth Ngata, smashed the 217-pound rookie just as he hit the ground. The blow whiplashed Griffin’s right leg in a freakish contortion that looked, on replay, as if the quarterback’s knee had been hyperextended — the hinge going in the wrong direction — beyond the limits of human anatomy.
But Griffin’s anatomy, like his influence on the Redskins, seems to go well beyond normal limits. Instead of being demoralized by his injury, the Redskins were clearly inspired by seeing him return to the game; dragging his leg downfield, RGIII completed a 15-yard pass to Santana Moss and a 22-yard bullet over the middle to Pierre Garcon to push the Redskins to the Ravens 16-yard line with 1:23 to play.
Finally, Griffin could not even stand. That’s when his teammates rose to their full height.
The Redskins are, as everyone knows, supposedly Griffin and a bunch of other guys who hang onto his cape and fly around behind him.
Not this time. Cousins, who never gets a repetition with the first team in practice, completed his only two passes of the game — to save the game. The first found Leonard Hankerson for 15 yards to the 11-yard line.
His second completion, after being flushed out of the pocket to the right, was a time-buying beauty. His crisp dart hit Garcon in the end zone where he’d barely beaten cornerback Chris Johnson and found a safe hole in the coverage in front of fast-arriving safety Ed Reed.
“I was just trying to do my best RGIII imitation, if you will,” Cousins said of his scrambling as Garcon got himself free. “All I had to do was put it in his arms.” Not many rookies can do that in such moments. Cousins did it like he fully expected to shine.