The Washington Post

Redskins vs. Eagles: Robert Griffin III’s interception in final minute proves costly in 24-16 loss

Quarterback Robert Griffin III was well on his way to the most miserable passing performance of his NFL career when he and the Washington Redskins suddenly got things moving and nearly pulled off a memorable fourth-quarter comeback Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Griffin threw fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 62 yards to fullback Darrel Young and 41 yards to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson. The Redskins added a pair of two-point conversions and had trimmed a 24-0 Philadelphia Eagles’ lead to 24-16 when they got the ball back at their 4-yard line with 3 minutes 26 seconds to play.

“We’ve been in this position before where we needed a drive to stay in the game or a drive to win the game,” left tackle Trent Williams said. “So we were a little poised. We made a great effort.”

Griffin and the Redskins moved to the Eagles 18. They faced a third-and-one play with 40 seconds left when Griffin, under pressure, lofted a pass into the end zone.

No Redskins receiver was nearby and Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin made the interception to preserve Philadelphia’s triumph. The Eagles ran the final 24 seconds off the clock with one kneel-down by quarterback Nick Foles.

The Washington Post's Jason Reid explains why Sunday's loss to the Eagles spells doom for the Redskins and what it means for coach Mike Shanahan. (The Washington Post)

“He got some pressure in his face,” Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen said. “He had to try to get it out of the back of the end zone. We had no timeouts. He threw it up. It wasn’t quite far enough.”

Griffin said he made a failed attempt to throw the ball out of the back of the end zone and “didn’t get to where I wanted it to go. I was obviously on the back of my heels.”

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said at his postgame news conference he didn’t know what Griffin was attempting to do on the play.

“I really don’t know,” Shanahan said. “I have to take a look at the film and kind of go through his thought process. It’s really hard to say. I didn’t talk to him after the game.”

Griffin finished with 264 passing yards, completing 17-of-35 passes. He had only 57 passing yards through the first three quarters.

“We knew what they were gonna do and they did exactly what we thought they were gonna do,” Paulsen said. “For whatever reason, we just didn’t execute the way we needed to execute. We got in a little bit of a hole early and that’s always difficult. It’s hard to win games like that.”

At halftime, the Redskins had 160 rushing yards but only four net passing yards. Griffin had 26 first-half passing yards but was sacked three times for 22 yards in total losses.

“I thought we had a couple missed opportunities in the first half on third downs,” Shanahan said. “We ran the ball well [but] obviously didn’t pass the ball very well.

“We had some opportunities to keep drives going and we didn’t get it done. It took us until the fourth quarter to make a couple plays. We had our opportunity there at the end. We just couldn’t take advantage of it.”

Paulsen said the Redskins “absolutely” believed as they drove down the field in the final minutes that they would force overtime.

“You score 16 unanswered points,” he said. “You get two consecutive two-point conversions. I mean, that doesn’t happen every day. I think we had a lot of momentum. We felt really confident. Unfortunately it didn’t fall our way.”

Said Williams: “We moved the ball pretty well. We just didn’t make the plays to get touchdowns. That’s a high-octane offense [of the Eagles] and to stay in the game, you’ve got to score. We picked it up a little bit in the second half. Our defense played a great second half, gave us a chance to win the game or to get back in the game. We just didn’t capitalize. . . . We made a good effort at the end. We never quit. We kept playing. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for us.”



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