The Washington Post

Sonny Jurgensen called for RGIII’s benching

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

I’m not sure if it was exactly a Cronkite moment, but Robert Griffin III lost Sonny Jurgensen on Sunday. At least twice.

The first time came in the third quarter, when the Redskins trailed 24-0 and had accomplished virtually nothing in their passing game.

“Why not play Cousins?” Jurgensen asked during the Redskins Radio Network broadcast, heard locally on ESPN 980.

“Robert’s in the game, he turns, he gives it to Alfred Morris on the run, gains a yard,” Larry Michael said. “You’re gonna pull the plug already, huh?”

“It’s not pulling the plug, it’s getting a change,” Jurgensen said. “Make a change. Can it be any worse? You get four yards passing in a half? I would look at the other quarterback, see if he can make something happen. It’s not the end of the world. They take out pitchers, don’t they?”

“They do take out pitchers,” Chris Cooley agreed. “Having a bad game, have a seat.”

“Having a bad game,” Jurgensen continued. “The curveball’s not breaking.”

On the next drive, RGIII threw a poor screen pass that was nearly intercepted by Fletcher Cox. (It was called an interception on the field, and later reversed.)

“That was a horrible pass,” Michael said. “Trying to dump it to Roy Helu, and he threw it right to Fletcher Cox.”

“You’ve got to see Kirk Cousins,” Jurgensen said.

“You’re about to,” Cooley agreed.

“Jeez. Give me a break,” Jurgensen sputtered.

“That was just a horrible attempt,” Michael said. “He throws it right to the defensive lineman. He wasn’t even close to finding the receiver that time.”

The interception, of, course, came back, and Griffin soon threw two touchdown passes. But Jurgensen still asked Coach Mike Shanahan after the game whether he had considered making a change.

“Coach did you ever think, when things were going so badly in the passing game, of going with Cousins?” Jurgensen asked during the postgame show.

“No, I really didn’t,” Shanahan answered. “I thought Robert would get things going again, feel a little bit more comfortable. But when you don’t move the ball — sometimes it’s a dropped pass, sometimes it might be a protection error, sometimes it may be a misread — but collectively, when you go on the road, you’ve got to play one of your better games to win. And we didn’t do that today.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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