QB Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
HT: 6-2, WT: 223, Born: 2-12-1990, College: Baylor, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 2
|Outlook • Career Statistics • Game Logs • Split Stats • Play-by-play • Latest News|
Average draft position
Current as of May 21st. [Full ADP list]Overall: A Brown (67), T Smith (68), Robert Griffin III (69), S Smith (70), B Green-Ellis (71)
Position: R Wilson (64-QB9), A Luck (66-QB10), Robert Griffin III (69 - QB11), T Romo (76-QB12), E Manning (97-QB13)
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Robert Griffin came into the league with enormous expectations, as the once proud Redskins were in desperate need of a new face, a new leader, and a legitimate franchise quarterback to revive the moribund offense. The Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor not only lived up to the hype, he smashed even the most optimistic expectations in a stellar rookie season. Griffin led the Redskins to an NFC East crown, completing 65.6% of his passes while passing for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns. Impressively, Griffin led the league with the lowest INT percentage (1.3%) and the highest yards per attempt average (8.1). His 102.4 passer rating set an all-time rookie record. Unfortunately the dream season ended in a nightmare scenario; Griffin suffered multiple ligament tears and is currently rehabbing. Adrian Peterson’s miraculous rehab has re-set expectations for the recovery period of major ligament tears, but Griffin will not be rushed back; he’s too important to the franchise. For now, all parties are projecting an air of confidence that Griffin will be on the field for the majority of the 2013 season.
Latest NewsRedskins | Robert Griffin putting pressure on knee (Fri May 24, 01:04 PM) - Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (knee) put pressure on his surgically-repaired right knee when he threw in organized team activities Thursday, May 23, and executed some play action passes during his workout. Griffin threw a few times with all arm or off his front foot more, but his passes were all mostly accurate. link to story Redskins | Robert Griffin says he needs to be more careful (Thu May 23, 02:19 PM) - Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (knee) said he likely will be more careful when he returns from his knee injury because he wants to be out there for his teammates. 'I can't change my mind-set,' Griffin said, 'but I can be smarter about what I do out there. ... It's about limiting those hits, making sure I'm out there for my teammates. ... I understand I have to be more careful when it comes to that.' link to story Redskins | Robert Griffin says knee feels great (Thu May 23, 02:10 PM) - Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (knee) said his surgically repaired knee is feeling great and that he hopes to be ready for the start of training camp. He said he will begin explosive sprinting in a few weeks and will begin making cuts a few weeks after that. Griffin did do some running and throwing without hesitation during organized team activities Thursday, May 23. Our View: We've heard nothing but positive things about Griffin's recovery to this point. He's on track to be ready for the start of the regular season. However, the team may decide to limit his reps in training camp.
link to story Redskins | Dad thinks Robert Griffin should throw more (Thu May 23, 12:24 PM) - Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's (knee) dad thinks the team should devise more plays this year that has his son throwing more and running less. 'I just know that based on what I know Robert can do, he doesn't have to be a runner as much as I saw last year,' Griffin Jr. said. 'To me, you're paying these (receivers) a lot of money to catch the football. I'm his dad -- I want him throwing that football, a lot. A lot.' Griffin is hoping he can recover from torn ligaments in his right knee in time to play in Week 1. He ran the ball 120 times for 815 yards last season. Our View: Griffin's athleticism will always be a part of his game. We're expecting the Redskins to keep Griffin safer in the design of the offense. Quicker passes, rollouts away from pressure, and making sure Griffin slides when he scrambles should help keep the young QB healthy in 2013.
link to story Redskins | Robert Griffin III dropping back (Thu May 23, 11:14 AM) - Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (knee) has been dropping back and throwing for about 20 minutes in workouts Thursday, May 23. Our View: Good news for Griffin here. There's been nothing but good news about his recovery this offseason. He should be ready to go by the start of the regular season. We could see the Redskins limit his reps in training camp.
link to story More News
|2||at Green Bay Packers|
|4||at Oakland Raiders|
|6||at Dallas Cowboys|
|8||at Denver Broncos|
|9||San Diego Chargers|
|10||at Minnesota Vikings|
|11||at Philadelphia Eagles|
|12||San Francisco 49ers|
|13||New York Giants|
|14||Kansas City Chiefs|
|15||at Atlanta Falcons|
|17||at New York Giants|
2012 Game Summaries
Week 1 - With the greatest of expectations weighing on his shoulders, the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft delivered a fascinating rookie debut. Completing his first eight passes, Griffin benefited from an offensive strategy that was heavy on bubble screens, short runs, and ball control, likely designed to boost his confidence in a decidedly hostile environment. Griffin’s early throws attacked the edges of the Saints’ defense, and after a field goal to cap the opening drive, the playbook got a little less conservative. On the second Washington possession, Griffin threw a bullet to Pierre Garcon on an in route, who dusted safety Roman Harper and won a footrace for a touchdown. Griffin did so with considerable pressure in his face, but kept his cool and completed the play for his first NFL touchdown pass. He did benefit from a fairly clean pocket for most of the game, especially on his touchdown toss to Aldrick Robinson. The packaged playcalling by the Redskins was ideal for Griffin – bootlegs and rollouts, several types of option plays, and the occasional deep downfield strike for large gains. While Griffin’s signature play of the game came on his touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon, he also had other shining moments: he threw a rocket of a pass to tight end Fred Davis on the run and took a high-risk chance on fourth down on a heave to Aldrick Robinson in the end zone, which ended up setting up the Redskins at the goal line. Griffin appeared unfazed by the partisan crowd in New Orleans. He often extended the play or did his best to keep the Redskins out of trouble – once calling a timeout to prevent a delay of game penalty, and several times scrambling for additional yardage or rolling out of the pocket to find receivers downfield. Griffin was not invincible to pressure by any means, though. He got stuffed on several quarterback keeps and mishandled a snap towards the end of the half that resulted in a loss in yardage. As previously mentioned, the Redskins kept the pocket clean for most of the game, but Griffin was skittish at times, missing Fred Davis on a few fairly elementary throws across the middle of the field.
Finishing the day with three-hundred and twenty passing yards and an additional forty-two yards on the ground, Griffin proved to be the intelligent dual threat quarterback for which the Redskins hoped they got when they paid a king’s ransom to the Browns before the 2012 draft. Redskins fans in Washington and elsewhere should be quite thrilled with Griffin’s rookie debut, but expectations should be tempered. With an practically even ratio of run to pass plays, the Shahanan family offensive scheme is designed to ease Griffin into the NFL, taking advantage of his strengths while masking his weaknesses. Griffin passed his first test with flying colors, but he is hardly out of the woods yet.
Week 2 - With Redskins fans and media personalities alike calling for a bust of him in Canton after one game, Griffin had great expectations of him for Week Two against the Rams. However, for the first time, Griffin’s opponent had NFL game tape of the rookie, and the defensive-minded head coach of the Rams, Jeff Fisher, intended to give Griffin a hard time on Sunday afternoon. The Rams dialed up the pressure on the Washington offensive line at the Edward Jones Dome, giving Griffin little time in the pocket. While only taking one sack for a nine yard loss, Griffin was often hurried by the St. Louis defense, forced to escape the pocket and throw on the run or attempt to run for a first down. He tripped once for a loss of yardage, and also earned his first NFL intentional grounding flag when he threw the ball frantically towards the sideline. If nothing else, he seemed to lack some of the steely confidence he had in Week One against the Saints. This is not to say Griffin was not remarkable once again – he simply had to deal with an NFL defense that had time to prepare for him in his second-ever professional football game.
Griffin impressed with his legs on Sunday, gaining eighty-two yards on eleven attempts. His first rushing touchdown came after St. Louis drew a personal foul penalty. Griffin executed a play fake to halfback Albert Morris and splashed into the end zone to put the Redskins up by eleven in the first quarter. Griffin’s second rushing score came on a quarterback draw, whereby he squirted through the St. Louis defense for a seven-yard touchdown. Griffin did execute some quarterback-designed runs called for by Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan, but several times, he simply ran as a result of a collapsed pocket with a desire to extend the play.
Griffin finished the day twenty-for-twenty nine on pass attempts for two hundred and six passing yards. His quick passes to receivers on shallow routes were precise, and several times, viewers watched Griffin make two, three, and four reads with defensive pressure in his face. His deep ball accuracy came on display twice against the Rams – once on a deep fling to wide receiver Leonard Hankerson for a sixty-eight yard touchdown, and once on an end-around fake that set up a long throw to Aldrick Robinson, which clanged off the wideout’s hands. The rookie’s lone interception came on a floater of a pass intended for tight end Fred Davis. Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan snuck in front of Davis to snatch it out of the air. This accounted for the sole Redskins turnover.
Week 3 - Griffin debuted to an electric home crowd at FedEx Field and did not disappoint as a dual-threat quarterback, although he did show signs of rookie jitters, which were exacerbated by a sieve-like offensive line. The rookie from Baylor did it all on Sunday for the Redskins, generating three hundred and six yards of total offense – two hundred and twenty-one through the air and eighty-five on the ground, leading all ball carriers. Mike and Kyle Shanahan also exhibited continued willingness to ease Griffin into the maelstrom that is the NFL, relying on the pistol formation and zone read offensive schemes to keep Griffin comfortable. Admittedly, the Washington air attack was fairly underwhelming against the Bengals. While Griffin himself did not lose a fumble or throw an interception, the passing game was not a strong suit of the Redskins’ offense in Week Three. Griffin’s longest pass – a twenty-nine yard catch-and-run by tight end Fred Davis – came as the Redskins desperately tried to shave a fourteen point deficit and keep the game within reach. Griffin did not benefit from an offensive line that lost Trent Williams to injury and saw right tackle Tyler Polumbus get routinely overmatched by the Cincinnati pass rush. Griffin took six sacks for a total loss of fifty-three yards. Regardless of the woes on the offensive line, the Redskins did not impress through the air. No receiver recorded over ninety yards, and, while Griffin did not suffer tremendous accuracy problems, the efficiency he showcased in the season opener against the Saints was not present. Griffin’s three yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss was his lone passing touchdown of the day. The playbook never really opened up for Griffin in the passing game, as the Redskins stuck to a diversified run game and short, possession-centric pass plays. The ground game was a different story for Robert Griffin III. He tallied the highest running yard total of the day at eighty-five, and looked determined on both quarterback-designed runs and runs in which plays fell apart. He never failed to extend plays with his legs to achieve another Washington first down. His two-yard touchdown run put the Redskins within one touchdown with three-plus minutes left in the game. Griffin had tough sledding against the Bengals. His offensive line was gassed and could not protect him to let plays develop. The passing game simply was not in sync, and he generated yards through the air mostly out of desperation. He was able to showcase his deep ball on a failed play-action pass to Leonard Hankerson. With few seconds remaining on the clock, Griffin’s comeback attempt fell short, as the replacement officials stuck the Redskins with dubious penalty calls and let the clock run to zero, forcing a Hail Mary attempt that clanged off the hands of receiver Josh Morgan, ending the game. Still, his performance, albeit mixed, was encouraging. Griffin remained determined to achieve a comeback victory with a porous offensive line and a defense that looked completely different from the one that stopped the Saints in the Superdome.
Week 4 - Kyle Shanahan, no doubt responding to both media criticism and game tape, changed his game plan for Griffin from the previous week against the Bengals. Gone was the heavy focus on double and triple option plays that got Griffin rocked in his home debut – Shanahan aimed to keep Griffin upright against the Buccaneers. The rookie from Baylor attempted a career-high thirty-five passes for three hundred and twenty-three passing yards. The Redskins’ reduced use of the option did not preclude Griffin from using his legs, however. Griffin – who leads all NFL quarterbacks in rushing yards – still got his on the ground, carrying the ball seven times for forty-three yards and a score. He took a vicious hit when he splashed into the end zone, but did not appear any worse for the wear. Griffin actually tried to take it to the house twice on the ground against the Buccaneers. On the last play of the first quarter, he kept the ball and attempted to break the plane. Hit as he was running, Griffin fumbled the ball, but Pierre Garcon recovered it for a touchdown.
Much to the relief of Redskins fans and fantasy owners alike, Griffin opted to pass rather than run to extend plays against the Buccaneers. Early in the first quarter, with an increasingly small pocket closing in on him, Griffin checked multiple downfield reads, reset his feet in the pocket, and found his fullback, Darrell Young, open for a twenty yard gain. In the third quarter, he found Josh Morgan running a slant route towards the middle of the field and threw a bullet to Morgan inches above the ground, channeling his best Aaron Rodgers impression. Several plays later, Griffin showed great touch in floating a ball over an incoming Buccaneers pass rush to obtain a first down. He once again exhibited his arm strength on several deep passes – one intended for Pierre Garcon, the other for Leonard Hankerson – though neither were for completions. While Griffin’s longest pass of the day was a mere twenty-six yards on a Fred Davis catch-and-run – and no receiver topped 70 yards – he still completed passes to nine different receivers and did his best to scan for multiple reads rather than abandoning passing plays to gain yards on the ground. It was refreshing to see Griffin stand tall in the pocket and choose to let his plays develop and receivers get open instead of risking injury, as he did in previous weeks.
With less than two minutes to play and down by one, Griffin drove the Redskins down the field on a seven-play, fifty-six yard drive, and completing five passes to four different receivers. With time expiring, kicker Billy Cundiff’s forty-one yard field goal went through the uprights, capping Griffin’s first career comeback victory. While Griffin did not shy away from using his legs against the Buccaneers, it was his arm that propelled the Redskins to victory against Tampa Bay. Adding to Griffin’s already burgeoning mythos, postgame media reports revealed that the headset in Griffin’s helmet went out on the game-winning drive, and he called every play on his own.
Week 5 - Griffin’s least impressive outing of the season was also cut short by injury. Attempting to find paydirt on third and goal from the Atlanta three yard line, the rookie took a massive hit from Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and left the game for concussion tests. Before the injury he sustained, Griffin was uninspiring, completing ten of his fifteen pass attempts for ninety-one yards while adding seven yards on the ground. It appears that Mike and Kyle Shanahan are fully committed to mitigating Griffin’s injury risk by calling fewer option plays and quarterback runs, even though Griffin was likely concussed against the Falcons. Aside from Alfred Morris, the Redskins offense sputtered against a Falcons defense that no reasonable football analyst would accuse of being lock-down. Griffin’s longest pass of the day came on a twenty-yard swing route from running back Alfred Morris. Otherwise, the passing game was anemic at best, featuring quick, timing-based slants that did not pan out and desperation dump offs in the middle of the field. Griffin looked human and every bit of a rookie against the Falcons. Gone were the exciting play-calling efforts of the previous month with the Redskins for Griffin – the deep-heave play-action passes, designed quarterback runs, and even intermediate throws downfield. Again, the more conservative play-calling likely occurred to keep Griffin upright. At this point, fans and fantasy owners alike should simply hope that Griffin is healthy enough to take the field in Week 6 against the Vikings, or, more importantly, did not sustain any sort of significant injury in his second home game as a Redskin.
Week 6 - As with his opposite number on the Vikings, Griffin is a work in progress. He can make some very nice throws, but also seems to still be working on making his reads and the right decision. His first interception was a great example of this, as Griffin rolled out to extend the play and then tried to throw the ball through Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield to Josh Morgan. Winfield had completely undercut Morgan and, at best, that ball was being batted away. Instead Winfield picked it off. It’s a pass which never should have been thrown. Where Griffin really took the Vikings to the woodshed was with his legs. The Vikings didn’t blitz Griffin at all because they were afraid he would do just what he did anyway—bust off some big runs. The biggest was the 76 yard run which pretty much put the game away for the Redskins. The play looked to be a called quarterback run, as the line fell back and allowed the Vikings’ pass rush to get penetration—though very controlled—along both the right and left side. This left a gaping hole in the middle of the line and Griffin ran right through it. He then accelerated and cut towards the left sideline and he was gone. There was a very nice block by receiver Josh Morgan. It’s funny because he didn’t look that fast, but Will Brinson of CBS Sports timed him for an article and he ran a 4.3 40. Sure it was from a running start, but in full equipment? Still pretty impressive. The Vikings didn’t blitz him because they wanted to contain him—and that didn’t work out so well. Griffin is still working out the kinks as an overall passer , but his athleticism is terrifying if you are an opposing defender.
Week 7 - Robert Griffin had good success running and passing against the Giants on Sunday struggled with turnovers from himself and his teammates which ultimately cost the Redskins the game. Griffin used play action well and often, which was greatly helped from the success of RB Morris on the ground. Griffin was afforded above average protection for the most part against the Giants and frequently found open receivers down the field. Griffin occasionally held onto the ball too long and took a few big sacks when his linemen got beaten immediately at the line of scrimmage. Griffin made a lot of big plays over defenders down the field when afforded protection. Griffin’s first touchdown pass came to WR Moss on WR bubble screen pass play. Moss did most of the work, aided by terrific blocking from the Redskins as he raced into the endzone for the score. Griffin found a lot of running room to work with when he broke the pocket and had big runs downfield when the Giants were playing man defense and turned their back on the athletic QB. Griffin has elite arm talent and throwing 50 yard passes looked effortless from him. He had too much faith and was inaccurate on his first turnover however. Griffin used play action and tried to find his WR over the middle but threw right to the NYG safety who was able to make a big play on the ball. Griffin’s protection failed him on several drop backs and he took a big sack from Pierre Paul late in the game. Griffin coughed up the ball with a fumble aswell as he made the incorrect read in the read-option and took a big hit that caused the ball to become loose. Griffin tried to make up for this by flinging a highly accurate bomb downfield to Moss who had a step on rookie CB Hosely for the second touchdown pass. Griffin made another terrific play on 4th and 10 on final drive, scrambling around and buying a lot of time in the pocket for teammate Paulsen to uncover. Griffin made a lot of plays for his team, racked up yards on the ground and through the air while proving very tough to tackle in the open field. However, all the turnovers from the Redskin team proved too much to overcome and the mistakes piled up which cost them the game.
Week 8 - Griffin’s performance in this game was much better than his stat line would lead you to believe. His receivers dropped passes all game long – to the tune of an astonishing 10 drops. Washington attempted multiple deep shots throughout the game, but Griffin’s “bucket” accuracy wasn’t present in this game. On short and intermediate throws, however, he was very accurate. Griffin wasn’t able to get loose in the running game either, and there weren’t many designed runs called for him. A couple of situations where he was put in danger did present themselves. A quarterback draw in the first half where Griffin was hit by two defenders in near-sandwich fashion was a bit of a scary moment. On another occasion, though, the team called a trick play that involved Josh Morgan throwing a deep ball to Griffin. When the play was drawn up, I’m sure the intent was for Griffin to be wide open due to the surprising nature of the play. Pittsburgh didn’t bite, though, and Griffin was given a hard shot by Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark. That page might get torn out of the playbook.
Week 9 - Robert Griffin III continued his impressive rookie season with a solid performance against the Panthers despite the loss. The Redskins’ offense under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan used a variety of formations and option concepts to attempt to outfox the defense. Griffin executed his play fakes crisply, especially on their favourite running play, the zone stretch. The Panthers’ linebackers aggressively flowed to the football on such plays, allowing Griffin to bootleg out and complete passes accurately over the middle. In general, Griffin attacked the middle of the field off play action, with Josh Morgan and Logan Paulsen his favourite targets. What stands out about Griffin is his accuracy – on several occasions he delivered passes under duress but managed to hit his receivers in the hands each time. The Panthers’ front four managed to get a good pass rush on Griffin, meaning he often faced seven men dropping into coverage. As a result, the defense got to Griffin several times, but he showed his great scrambling and escape artist flair on many occasions as well, contributing to his 53 yards on the ground. Griffin failed to register any passing or rushing touchdowns himself, but his solid display playing from behind and in the face of such a troublesome rush was an excellent sign.
Week 11 - Is Griffin really a rookie? Is Griffin even human? These questions and more come to mind when watching the arguably-elite quarterback perform acts that defy God and science week in and week out. Griffin was perfect against the visiting Eagles, completing fourteen of his fifteen pass attempts for an even two hundred yards – including four touchdowns – while adding eighty-four yards on the ground on twelve carries. This recap will attempt to touch on some of the highlights of Griffin’s day, but given his stat line, the game tape is worth the look. The first quarterback to log a perfect passer rating since Charlie Batch did it in 1949; Griffin’s sole incompletion came on a pass intended for Josh Morgan that Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie batted away. Otherwise, Griffin was impossible for the Eagles to solve in Week Eleven. As a runner on both designed plays and after plays broke down, Philadelphia’s defense could not catch Griffin. At times, he appeared to moonwalk for extra yardage, slipping in and out of tackles and shrugging off pressure with ease. As a passer, he managed to extend plays with his legs to allow receivers to get open. Griffin did an excellent job of keeping his eyes down the field and cycling through his reads before hitting the open man. Admittedly, Griffin had a near-flawless day with the assistance of three factors: Eagles turnovers, incredible deep ball accuracy, and luck. The Redskins’ pass rush forced Nick Foles to quickly get the ball out of the pocket, which he had trouble doing, resulting in three fumbles – which the Eagles all recovered – and two interceptions. LeSean McCoy also coughed the ball up once to the Redskins. Washington was rarely in bad field position, and even when facing down-and-distance issues, Griffin was unflappable. Griffin’s first and last touchdown passes were somewhat ordinary. A six-yard fade route pass to his uncovered fullback, Darrell Young and a seventeen-yard second-effort pass to tight end Logan Paulsen served as bookends for Griffin’s highlight reel second and third touchdown passes. Facing first-and-ten in their own territory, Washington got the Philadelphia front seven to bite on a double end around fake while wide receiver Aldrick Robinson streaked down the field amidst bracket coverage. Griffin stayed upright to let Robinson get towards the end zone. Then, seeing Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha give up on the play, Griffin fired a moon shot down the field and right into Robinson’s hands. It was a Redskins touchdown that was part busted coverage, part brilliant play-calling, and part preternatural athleticism. Griffin’s third touchdown was the play of the game, and arguably, the greatest pass play of his nascent career. Facing third-and-ten, Griffin slipped out of the Philadelphia pass rush and heaved a desperation pass to a double-covered Santana Moss just short of the end zone. Moss managed to bring down the Hail Mary-esque pass for another Redskins touchdown on a sixty-one yard pass. Griffin later admitted that the throw was ill-advised, but the end might have justified the means in this scenario.
Week 12 - The Redskins’ extraterrestrial emissary of a signal-caller once again dominated a division rival, this time on the road. Coming off a 31-6 drubbing of the Eagles, Griffin led the Redskins to a 38-31 shellacking of the Cowboys that was hardly as close as the score indicated. Griffin completed twenty of his twenty-eight attempts for three hundred and eleven yards through the air, averaging over eleven yards per attempt. On the ground, he chipped in a modest twenty-nine yards on six carries.
Griffin’s deception on play-action proved the most destructive feature of his game against the Cowboys – the Redskins’ pistol set is arguably indefensible at this point in the season. Twice Griffin got Dallas to anticipate a run, only to throw a sixty-eight yard deep ball touchdown to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson who beat the Cowboys’ coverage and an uncovered Niles Paul in the end zone, respectively. Griffin also threw through tight coverage windows to a leaping Pierre Garcon and a blanketed Santana Moss, respectively, both for touchdowns. Moss’ score came in the end zone, while Garcon’s came on a deep crossing route in which the bruising wideout timed his jump perfectly with Griffin’s pass. All four of Griffin’s touchdown passes came with deadly accuracy, even Moss’s, which came on a bootleg run right with Griffin hounded by the Dallas pass rush. On the other side of the coin, Cowboys safety Charlie Peprah timed his jump perfectly on a Griffin pass intended for wide receiver Josh Morgan. Under pressure from Cowboys’ defensive end DeMarcus Ware, Griffin threw in Morgan’s direction, only to get picked off by the veteran Peprah. Scoring plays and turnovers aside, Griffin turned in his second dominant game off the Redskins’ Week Ten bye. The Shanahans continue to design a diverse game plan that plays to Griffin’s strengths, with a significant amount of read-option plays and quick, timing-based routes like slants and curls, while mixing in some adventurous downfield pass plays that the Redskins can attempt with the speed of some of their receivers. On the ground, Griffin, to his credit, slid and/or ran out of bounds on quarterback keepers and when plays broke down and he elected to run for a first down, but needed to avoid injury. He did very well in the game against Dallas to avoid big hits, and thankfully, the Shanahans are calling fewer designed runs for Griffin in order to keep him upright. Through the air, Griffin exhibited remarkable football acumen in reading the defense, adjusting the play at the line of scrimmage if necessary, and finding the open man with each strike of a pass. While this was not a particularly significant play, this knack for completing the play by Griffin best came on a second-and-ten curl route by Josh Morgan, in which Griffin placed the ball on Morgan’s back hip, where only he could catch it, resulting in a Washington first down.
With the NFC East a quagmire of a division where anything seems possible, Griffin and the Redskins have a glimmer of hope in making the playoffs. If Griffin continues to play at a high level against decent competition like the Cowboys – and Dallas is a decent team, in spite of the circus they put on in Cowboys Stadium on Thanksgiving – then the Redskins could surprise in December and January.
Week 13 - There was much ado about Griffin facing the Giants for the second time this season, as no other team had the experience of playing the rookie from Baylor twice up to this point in the season. Griffin proved that game tape on him is of no consequence as he led the Redskins to a thrilling 17-16 victory over the Giants on Monday Night Football. Completing thirteen of his twenty-one pass attempts for one hundred and sixty-three yards, Griffin led a run-heavy attack against the visiting Giants. Once again, the rookie signal caller proved masterful at commanding Washington’s pistol-heavy offense, with its liberal doses of play-action passing and accents of read-option running. Griffin’s ability to deceive the Giants on play-action was a thing of beauty, as his ability to hide the ball off the snap allowed him to keep the ball when he saw the defensive end incoming or drop back and pass when he saw receivers in single coverage. On the majority of his pass attempts, Griffin found an open Pierre Garcon and hit his receiver in stride with the quickest of releases. The Redskins chose not to feature the deep ball off play-action that they have in weeks past, instead using slants and crossing routes to generate yards after the catch. This choice resulted in Griffin not stuffing the stat sheet has he had in weeks past. His lone touchdown pass came on an eight-yard shallow crossing route by Pierre Garcon, which proved to be the decisive scoring play of the game. While Griffin was underwhelming but efficient through the air, he kept things interesting on the ground. Carrying five times for seventy-two yards – it is evident that the Shahanans wish to limit his exposure to injury as a ball carrier – Griffin had little trouble finding the edge of the offensive line and running downfield. Griffin’s best run came on a quarterback keeper. On third-and-one in the third quarter, he read the defense and kept the ball himself, bouncing to the outside and smoking the New York defense for a forty-six yard gain, his second-longest run of the year. This run catapulted Griffin into first place for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season, breaking the record Cam Newton set last year. Earlier in the game, Griffin fumbled the ball on a quarterback keeper and thrust it into the air – where it found the hands of wide receiver Josh Morgan, who took the ball thirteen yards for a Redskins touchdown. This play, along with Griffin’s fourth quarter, game-winning touchdown drive, kept the Redskins in the playoff picture and gave Washington a tie for the lead in the NFC East.
Week 14 - The big news surrounding Griffin following the Redskins’ overtime victory over their AFC neighbors, the Baltimore Ravens, will be the ghastly knee injury Griffin suffered in the fourth quarter. Before Griffin went down, though, he helmed a dynamic Redskins offense that went blow-for-blow with the visiting Ravens. Completing fifteen of his twenty-six pass attempts for two hundred and forty-six yards through the air, Griffin exploited the single coverage that the Redskins got from their smoke-and-mirrors play-action passing game. Much like Week Thirteen’s contest against the Giants, he targeted wide receiver Pierre Garcon heavily, and distributed the ball evenly to his other receiving options. Griffin added thirty-four yards on the ground on seven rushing attempts. Washington’s extensive use of play-action continues to reap rewards for Robert Griffin III. Against a serviceable Ravens secondary, Griffin completed passes of five passes between twenty and thirty yards to an outstanding five different receivers. Play-action allows Griffin to act quickly rather than cycle through reads over and over, and his release against the Ravens was lightning-quick, resulting in catches that continued to buoy his high completion percentage. Griffin was not intercepted against the Ravens, though his floating pass at wide receiver Leonard Hankerson was nearly picked off in the Baltimore end zone. The rookie from Baylor threw one touchdown pass, a four-yard strike to wide receiver Joshua Morgan, with the Redskins offensive line giving him all day to throw. Morgan came close to tallying another passing touchdown for Griffin, but the Ravens brought him down a yard short of the end zone. The injury Griffin suffered will receive significant national media coverage in the coming days. With Washington facing second-and-nineteen following the two-minute warning, Griffin scrambled thirteen yards the field and awkwardly tumbled forward, colliding with Baltimore defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Limping off the field, Griffin sat for one snap and made his way back to the field. Facing first-and-ten at his own forty-seven yard line, Griffin drove the Redskins down the field, completing a fifteen-yard pass to Santana Moss, and following that completion up with a twenty-two yard pass to Pierre Garcon. The rookie sensation could barely stand, hopping on one leg at the line of scrimmage before each snap. Having led the Redskins into the Baltimore red zone, Griffin threw a pass away on first-and-ten at the Baltimore sixteen- yard line and collapsed. News reports on Monday revealed Griffin suffered a Grade 1 LCL sprain in his right knee. It is an easy conclusion to make that Washington’s season hangs in the balance if Griffin is unable to suit up for any period of time, given the tight race in the NFC East.
Week 16 - Back on the field after missing Washington’s Week Fifteen road game at Cleveland, Griffin had a quietly efficient day against the Eagles. The Redskins crafted a very conservative game plan for Griffin, who was clearly not one hundred percent health-wise. Griffin completed sixteen of his twenty-four pass attempts for a modest one hundred and ninety-eight yards through the air. He added four yards on the ground, with the Redskins erring on the side of caution in allowing Griffin to run in the open field. Griffin’s recovery from a knee sprain dictated an offensive game plan that was even more vanilla than the one Mike and Kyle Shanahan installed for Kirk Cousins in Week Fifteen at Cleveland. Gone were the heavy doses of read-option runs for Griffin, and even Washington’s play action was a bit more limited than usual. Griffin still looked comfortable in the pocket, and bought time with his legs to extend plays when necessary. His throws were accurate and precise, coming with a velocity that seemed unaffected by Griffin’s ailing knee, especially on two in-traffic grabs by Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss’s twenty-two yard touchdown grab. Griffin completed passes to a whopping eight different receivers against the Eagles, though the majority of those completions went to Garcon, with a sprinkling of Joshua Morgan and Moss. The rookie from Baylor was intercepted once. A fourth quarter pass caromed off Morgan’s hands and into those of Eagles safety Colt Anderson, a turnover capped by a seventeen yard touchdown run by Eagles halfback Dion Lewis. Griffin threw one touchdown pass to Joshua Morgan and another to Santana Moss. The first score came on a lofted pass from Griffin that witnessed Morgan break a tackle and will into the end zone. The second score utilized Griffin’s otherworldly accuracy. Moss, running a flag route, anticipated the throw from Griffin, which landed right in his hands – Griffin’s timing was perfect. His ability to anticipate where his receivers will be on the field is one of the best at the quarterback position, despite this being Griffin’s inaugural year in the league. While Griffin shocked the Saints at the Superdome on Opening Day, bamboozled the Cowboys at Jerry World on Thanksgiving, and outplayed the Giants on Monday Night Football at home, his biggest test is yet to come. While a Week Seventeen matchup has fairly limited fantasy implications, the Cowboys/Redskins tilt at FedEx Field has significant playoff implications, with both teams vying for the NFC East title. Can he overcome his knee sprain and lead Washington to the playoffs?
Week 17 - The rookie from Baylor delivered a raucous home crowd a victory, giving the Redskins their first NFC East title since 1999. Griffin completed nine of his eighteen pass attempts for an even one hundred yards through the air. He added six carries for sixty-three yards on the ground, including a touchdown run of ten yards. Griffin’s numbers in the passing game were his least impressive since his Week Seven concussion-shortened performance against the Falcons. With the Redskins content to run Alfred Morris all night against a reeling Dallas defense, Griffin only put the ball in the air when necessary. His passes, for the most part, still came out of the pocket with that familiar zip, although the rookie did launch a few head-scratchers that hit the turf or sailed away from his intended receivers. Interestingly enough, Washington did not attempt any of the deep ball passes set up by play action that the team used in weeks past. Griffin’s longest pass completion of the evening went for eighteen yards. Griffin was more dangerous on the ground than through the air. With the Cowboys bruised by Alfred Morris – and expecting Morris to run on nearly every play – Griffin averaged over ten yards per carry, including a ten-yard touchdown run on a read-option quarterback keeper. With Griffin watching Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware anticipate a run block coming from Logan Paulsen across the formation, Griffin kept the ball and ran towards the left end. He got a solid block from Pierre Garcon and glided into the Dallas end zone to put Washington up by seven in the third quarter. Altogether, Griffin’s performance in the biggest game of his professional career was a bit on the underwhelming side, but he did enough to lead the Redskins to victory and an NFC East title. Given the Shanahans’ 2012 reputation for offensive game-planning wizardry, Washington could emerge with Griffin passing thirty-plus times in their wild-card showdown with the visiting Seattle Seahawks.
Week 18 - Playing through the pain of an injured right knee, Griffin’s 2012 rookie season ended with a whimper. The rookie stood strong for one quarter of play as the Redskins jumped out to a fourteen-point lead against the visiting Seahawks – on the strength of two four-yard touchdown passes from Griffin – but ultimately left the field of play after re-injuring his knee on a fourth-quarter fumbled snap. Both of his touchdown passes were of the fairly easy pitch-and-catch variety – one coming on a sit route by Evan Royster out of the backfield, the other on a stick route by Logan Paulsen.
Griffin’s knee injury simply eroded his level of performance altogether. He completed ten of nineteen pass attempts for a mere eighty-four yards through the air – thirty of which came on a catch-and-run by Pierre Garcon – and generated twenty-one yards on the ground from five carries. Griffin’s ailing knee prevented him from stepping in to his throws, thus resulting in balls that were under thrown – like the easy interception Seahawks safety Earl Thomas caught on a pass intended for Garcon – or overthrown, as practically every pass intended for Joshua Morgan sailed over Morgan’s head. The eerily accurate throws from the Griffin from months past were simply not there. Neither were the threats of breaking off big runs. Early in the game, the Shanahans dialed up a handful of designed runs for Griffin, in hopes of keeping Seattle on its toes. Griffin ran gingerly each time, tiptoeing his way to the sidelines. Griffin’s fourth quarter knee injury, which came on a fumble from a low snap, took him out of the game. Speculation regarding the severity of the injury is certainly aflutter, but at the time of this writing, there is no definitive report of the situation.