Robert Griffin III off to historic passing start

 

Robert Griffin III became one of only three rookies in NFL history to pass for 1,000 yards in his first four games. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III reached a rare rookie milestone with his performance in the 24-22 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday.

 With a 323-yard passing performance, Griffin brought his season total to 1,070 passing yards through four games.

 Griffin joined 2011 rookie of the year Cam Newton and fellow 2012 rookie Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins as the only rookie quarterbacks in league history to surpass the 1,000-yard passing mark in their first four games.

 Griffin has led the Redskins to a 2-2 start as he passed for four touchdowns and only one interception. He also has rushed for a league-high four touchdowns.

In his first four NFL games, Newton passed for 1,386 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions.

Tannehill has thrown for 1,046 yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions for the 1-3 Dolphins.

Griffin orchestrated his first fourth-quarter comeback as a pro Sunday. He led his team on last-minute drives in each of the two previous games, but Washington fell short each time.

Griffin became the first rookie quarterback to lead the Redskins on a fourth-quarter comeback since Jason Campbell did so in 2006 against Carolina. The performance also has earned Griffin recognition as a nominee for rookie of the week for a second time this season.

 Griffin’s 1,070 yards rank 12th in the NFL, and only he and New England’s Tom Brady are among top 15 quarterbacks to throw just one interception. Griffin’s passer rating of 103.2 ranks fourth in the league, and first among rookies.

 Redskins coach Mike Shanahan praised Griffin’s execution, and said although he had high hopes for the rookie, he didn’t know exactly how efficient Griffin would be out of the blocks.

 “That’s what you work for. You never know,” Shanahan said. “I think it’s a combination of a group of guys coming together. Not one person does it by himself. Robert has done some things that normal rookies normally don’t do…Robert does a great job of checking off the line of scrimmage, so we don’t put ourselves in bad plays. When a person has that capability, you got a much better chance for good things to happen.”

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Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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Keith McMillan · October 2, 2012

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