Coming off a performance that his coach described as his best game of the season, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will try to carry that success over into Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings and lead his team to its first two-game win streak of the season.
Griffin admitted on Sunday that the performance will boost confidence, but he said that he will not put unnecessary pressure on himself to play the hero role. Instead, Griffin said his success will hinge not only on his own play, but his teammates’ as well.
“I think it takes everybody,” Griffin said. “The offensive line did a great job of keeping me upright all game, giving me passing lanes. The receivers were where they needed to be, making big-time catches. Pierre bailed me out a couple time on some throws, and then there were times when I had to really be on the money and make plays. I just think it takes everybody and getting into that flow of the game. We got into that. We ran the ball — set up the run to help us in the pass. And then, on third downs, that’s where you have to stay on the field, and everybody stayed on top of it.”
Thus far, Griffin has yet to string together strong performances in back-to-back games.
Griffin passed for more than 300 yards in each of the first two games of the season while completing better than 60 percent of his passes. But he struggled in the first halves of both of those games and turned the ball over three times while his team fell in blowout losses.
Griffin made improvements against Detroit by completing 64 percent of his passes for 326 yards and rushed for 37 yards on six carries. But then Griffin threw an interception in the second quarter, and then he fumbled the ball to blow a game-winning drive.
Griffin took a step backward from a passing perspective in Week 4, completing only 58 percent of his passes, but that marked his first turnover-free game, and Washington won its first game of the season. But the struggles returned following the bye as Griffin completed just 48.7 percent of his passes and threw another interception in a 31-16 loss to Dallas. Griffin also lost a fumble in that game.
Griffin was at his best to that point against the Chicago Bears as he completed 62 percent of his passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 84 yards and 11 carries (both season-highs) as the Redskins won 45-41.
But then came another challenging day as Griffin completed only 15 of 30 pass attempts, had two interceptions, and two fumbles (one of which his team lost) and averaged only 1.4 yards a carry on seven rushes.
This past week the quarterback rebounded with a win over San Diego as he completed a season-best 71.9 percent of his passes (23 for 32) for 291 yards. Griffin did throw an interception when a batted pass was picked off in the end zone by a defensive lineman for a touchdown. But he and his teammates managed to overcome that by posting a 70 percent success rate on third downs and by pulling off a game-winning drive in overtime.
“During the game, you kind of feel a certain way about the game. But looking back on it, I do think we were in that zone on a lot of that stuff. That’s why we were 71 percent on third down, which is not easy to do,” Griffin said.
Now Griffin faces the challenge of building on that success.
If Griffin can do that on Thursday night, it will serve as an indication of maturity and development as an NFL quarterback.
“It’s just your growth — continued growth at the position,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “The more comfortable you feel with reading coverages, your technique with throwing, your ability to side-step and move around the pocket and still focus downfield, your familiarity with the strength and weaknesses of football players — be it a cornerback, a linebacker. A lot of things go into it.”
Post Sports Live on Redskins’ play Sunday:
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.
● Kai Forbath talks about moving past his bad day vs. the Chargers.
● Washington practices Wednesday morning, then heads to Minnesota for Thursday’s 8:25 p.m. game.
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