But all those runs, some designed, some desperation and some inspiration, mean that RGIII is in harm’s way as much as a normal quarterback, plus a running back, too. In this game, he was blasted for six sacks, none of them gentle, fumbled three times (one lost) and took many rough delivery sacks as he completed 21 of 34 passes for 221 yards and a fine 90.4 quarterback rating.
However, by the final drive, as Griffin dinked, scrambled and willed the Redskins from their own 2-yard line to the Cincinnati 19 with 29 seconds to play, you didn’t know which to admire more, his skill, his toughness or his survival instincts.
“It’s football. I got hit a lot. I don’t know how many, but I got hit a lot,” Griffin said.
“I’ve never played scared in my life and I never will, even if they have to cart me off the field. I’ll get off the cart and walk [off],” Griffin said afterward, perhaps expressing the fears of fans a bit more specifically than they’d care to hear.
Griffin’s teammates sense this period in his rookie season when the team’s defense is so depleted, its offensive line so thin (Trent Williams missed most of this game after a first-quarter knee injury) that Griffin must carry the team and make the other 10 stiffs on the offense — sorry, his selfless teammates — look better than they are.
“You don’t want your guy to get hit so much, but it comes with the territory right now,” said wide receiver Santana Moss.
The key words are “right now.”
The Redskins don’t want to build a conservative traditional offense that might preserve Griffin but minimize their season. That’s not the NFL mentality and it’s certainly not the Redskins way, a franchise that pretends it never rebuilds even when the entire universe knows they are or should be. So, for now, it’s max out RGIII’s gifts, hold your breath and hope that the defense and the Shanahans have better days than they did Sunday.
For previous columns by Thomas Boswell, visit washingtonpost.com/