A week after enduring one of the worst performances of his career, Robert Griffin III rebounded with a solid showing in his team’s 30-24 overtime win over the San Diego Chargers.
Griffin completed 23 of 32 passes for 291 yards. Griffin’s completion clip of .719 was his best of the season. Griffin didn’t throw any touchdown passes, and he did show improvement on third downs where he completed six of 10 attempts for first downs.
Griffin also ran for one first down. On third and nine from the San Diego 46-yard line in the third quarter, Griffin looked for an open receiver and tried to buy him time, but eventually had to take off running. As he neared the sideline, Griffin cut back inside and leapt into the air while drawing a hit from linebacker Thomas Keiser to pick up the first down.
Griffin said although he could’ve played it safe and gotten out of bounds, he saw that as a critical point where his team needed a first down.
“A lot of people criticize me for that type of stuff all the time and I could’ve gone out of bounds, and we could have been short of the first down,” he said. “I saw the opportunity to fly, so I got my wings and tried to fly. I hit the ground pretty hard, so, you know, people — we can’t really fly, no matter how much we dream about it. But I just saw the opportunity and at that point in the game, I thought we needed it. That’s why I took it.”
The play kept the drive alive and Washington eventually scored to go up 21-14 at the start of the fourth quarter.
As a team, the Redskins were 12 for 17 on third downs.
“We were more efficient,” Griffin said. “I talked about it after the last games: Guys needing to be where they need to be and making the tough questions if there needs to be a tough catch, fighting for extra yards. The offensive line did a great job of protecting me and giving me a good pocket to deliver the ball. On my part, being decisive and getting them an accurate ball they can run with — all around a whole lot better today.”
Griffin did have three passes batted at the line — one of which was intercepted for a touchdown and another deflected on a wide receiver screen. A couple of those throws, it appeared that Griffin’s line didn’t get good push, and that enabled the defenders to get in better position to deflect the passes. Griffin said that he needed to look at video of the plays to get a better idea of if he could’ve done something differently himself to prompt a better outcome.
“It’s something you watch on film,” he said. “You talk with your coaches about and say, ‘Hey, is there any way I can avoid this on this play or that play?’ I felt like some of the screens there was an opportunity for me to make a play over the defensive end when they slapped it in the air. Sitting here right now, I couldn’t tell you what we could do different. But that’s why we have film study and that’s why we watch it.”
Coach Mike Shanahan said that he too needed to look at video to provide a better assessment of the struggles. But overall, the coach was proud of Griffin’s play and how he rebounded from the showing in Denver and shook off a week of criticism and led his team to victory.
“That’s what great competitors do,” Shanahan said. “If you are in this game long enough, you are going to get criticized, and if that’s going to bother you, then you aren’t going to last. I know he’s strong enough mentally to understand that happens in this game. It’s going to happen a lot more times. That’s just the nature of this game. When you are out there as a quarterback, or a head coach, you are going to get scrutinized, especially when things aren’t going well. I thought he was cool, calm and collected today. I thought he played hard and competed. It wasn’t a perfect game by any means for anybody, but I was really proud of how he bounced back and the effort that he gave and the way he led. I think that one run that I mentioned before was typical of his mind-set going into the game. You don’t see very many players make that play.”
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