The defense gave up 41 points, the majority of them to a career backup quarterback, the special teams unit gave up yet another punt return touchdown, and the Washington Redskins found themselves trailing with under 4:00 to go. And yet . . .
They won because of the guy under center. The guy who has taken heaps of criticism in the media since coming back from reconstructive ACL surgery, which he recovered from in record time. The guy who was the most electrifying player in the entire NFL last season, and this season had fans calling for him to be benched. The guy who said winning the Heisman trophy was “unbelievably believable” and that “no one is gonna tell [him] how to play the game”.
The Redskins (2-4) defeated the Chicago Bears (4-3) on Sunday, 45-41, because of Robert Griffin III. The quarterback threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns, with 10.3 yards per attempt. He also recorded his best rushing game of the season, finishing with 84 yards on 11 carries. On the final drive of the game, with Washington down by 3, Griffin led a 12 play, 80 yard touchdown drive capped off by Roy Helu Jr.’s third rushing score on the day. In large part, his decision making was vastly improved from weeks prior, as was his accuracy, as evidenced by his second quarter goal line fade TD pass to Jordan Reed.
Speaking of Reed, the athletic freak busted out and had the best game of his young career (as I suspected he would), hauling in 9 passes on 9 targets for 134 yards and the aforementioned touchdown. He sliced and diced the Bears defense all game, and will only get better with more experience.
Washington must have read my column, because they gave Helu Jr. 11 carries, which me took full advantage of. His quickness paid dividends in the red zone and was a big part of the Redskins offensive success Sunday. Starting RB Alfred Morris was no slouch himself, tallying 95 yards on 19 carries.
The offensive line, while not amazing, was adequate, and opened up just enough holes for the ground game to get going (except for Trent Williams, who utterly locked up Julius Peppers the entire afternoon. The Silverback has quietly become one of the best LTs in the league.)
I really don’t want to talk about the defense or the special teams right now, because they were both appalling. When Josh McCown has the second-highest QB rating of the week against your defense, you know you’re deplorably bad. Not much can be done to fix it now, either. Washington will have to ride out the storm and hope RGIII knows how to pilot the ship.
The Redskins now turn their attention to the Denver Broncos, who just a few weeks ago looked unstoppable. But after giving up a zillion points to Dallas (note: They gave up 48, not a zillion) and losing to Andrew Luck and the Colts, they quite obviously have some weaknesses. I don’t know if the Redskins can beat them; if they do, it will be by way of having the ball last.
Ultimately, though, next week is not the be-all, end-all. Washington started 3-6 last year and still managed to make the playoffs. As long as they win 3 of their next four (Denver, San Diego, Minnesota, Philadelphia), they will have positioned themselves for another playoff run down the stretch, something that seemed next to impossible after the first three games of the year.