Griffin has the aura of victory. That inspires. That elevates. And, as the Redskins rebuild their franchise, that changes every aspect of their future.
Or, as the loudest crowd at FedEx Field in years, a total of 80,246, put it so pithily with their victory chant: “RGIII, RGIII, RGIII.” You do it three times, of course, then pause, then start again.
Like so many of the supremely gifted, RGIII also has an extra and almost undeserved quality: He even seems a little lucky, too.
In the first quarter, Griffin made his only real mistake of the game, a fumble after a 12-yard run. The ball bounced directly to wide receiver Josh Morgan, who picked it up in stride and wove his way into the end zone to complete a 28-yard touchdown.
Griffin has done so many amazing things that the same thought jumped into thousands of minds: Did he do that on purpose? That’s impossible.
It was just a lucky fumble. But it will soon become one more piece of Griffin lore. “Some people thought he fumbled that ball” to Morgan, Coach Mike Shanahan said later. “Robert has worked on that during the week.”
A room full of reporters sat silent, taken in or, maybe, just believing anything if the protagonist was Griffin.
“Sometimes you’ve got to get lucky,” Shanahan said to help the humorless.
Griffin is just a rookie who thinks that beating the New York Giants is merely a good reason to have a little fun. “We didn’t work on that [fumble] play in practice,” he said. “We wanted to save it for the game.”
Pressed on his fraudulent miracle play, Griffin deadpanned, “It was a pitch to Josh and I’m going to stay with that story.” Then, as he finished his interview, RGIII threw his last pass of the night: “Remember, that was a pitch to Josh.”
At 6-6 the Redskins’ playoff hopes, presumed near death until Griffin rallied the team with a get-on-my-back speech during the team’s bye week, are now more than realistic. With Griffin, the Redskins are now the hot team, the momentum pick. And they’re just one game behind the Giants in the NFC East and one game behind Seattle for the second wild card.
Even if the Giants’ final fourth-quarter drive had not ended in a punt, even if Griffin and the Redskins had not run out the clock for victory, the whole feeling of this game — the Redskins’ ability to make few mistakes in a nerve-racking game, then overcome the ones that they did make — marks this as a turning point in team composure. The Redskins committed only four penalties. Remember when such a must-win game might have brought an avalanche of 14 flags?