On the first play of the second half Sunday afternoon, Robert Griffin III kept the ball on a read-option play and ran left. It looked like he wanted to slide after a modest gain, but instead he kind of sat down.
“He slides on his back-end after a gain of about three,” Larry Michael said on the Redskins Radio Network call. “He’s not the smoothest slider, is he?”
“He doesn’t know how to slide,” Sonny Jurgensen then said. “He’s a track guy.”
“Listen, he’s safe,” Chris Cooley joked. “Three yards, an effective gain, and he is safe, into second base.”
“He wanted to go out of bounds, but he just sat on it,” Michael added. “He literally sat on it.”
It seemed funny at the time, and I was getting ready to attempt some wry observations of my own. But by the first drive of the fourth quarter, it didn’t seem quite as funny. That, of course, is when Griffin dove forward, fumbled the ball, and squelched one of Washington’s best scoring chances of the game.
“He’s GOT to learn how to slide,” Doc Walker said from the sideline, with a bit more urgency. “He doesn’t know how to slide. He doesn’t slide well. He never has. And if you can’t teach him how to do it, this is what’ll happen to you.”
Michael and Jurgensen later asked Griffin about that play during their weekly postgame chat.
“One last thing, on the fumble, how was that described to you on the field?” Michael asked. “Because it looked like you were down. Is that the rule?”
“Yeah, it’s the rule,” Griffin said. “And it’s a stupid rule. You’d think if you declare yourself down that you’d be down. I mean, I wasn’t falling. I was trying to get down to avoid a hit, slide, be out there for my team. Knee down, elbow down, and then the ball comes out. According to them, it’s a fumble. That’s just the way it goes. It just sucks.”