Robert Griffin III, playing a week after suffering a mild concussion, gave the Minnesota Vikings a migraine Sunday, leading the Washington Redskins to a 38-26 victory that ended an eight-game FedEx Field losing streak.
Showing his mind and body were sharp, Griffin put forth a memorable effort, passing for 182 yards and rushing for another 138. It was a signature performance, a winning performance, one the rabid Redskins fans had been anxious to embrace.
After falling behind 9-0 and being outgained 148-7, the Redskins (3-3) responded with 24 straight points during a stretch in which they outgained the Vikings 225-14
Griffin, sporting a huge gray bandage on his chin, responded with a 78-yard touchdown run, the longest TD jaunt by an NFL quarterback since Kordell Stewart scampered 80 yards for the PIttsburgh Steelers against the Carolina Panthers in 1996.
His rushing yardage was the most by a quarterback since Michael Vick in 2003.
But it was an electrifying 76-yard touchdown run up the left sideline that sealed the game. The Vikings blitzed, and Griffin said he told himself that if they did not hit the gaps “the right way,” that he would run for a first down. Well, he did more than that, darting to toward the sideline and outrunning the Minnesota Viking secondary for the rousing score.
Griffin left last week’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons when he was hit in the head in the third quarter while trying to get some extra yards on a third down scramble. He passed the NFL’s post-concussion tests over the following days and was cleared to play, but coaches and teammates hoped that he had learned a lesson about when to keep running and when to get out of bounds.
Accordingly, the fans cheered when he darted to the sidelines on the first play of the second series, but by no means did it indicate that he had gone soft. He still ran the option. He still looked for the extra yard when it meant something. He had two rushing touchdowns to give him six on the year, already surpassing the previous single-season franchise record of four. And he’s just six games into his career.During one stretch, Griffin ran on six straight times, starting with a 15-yard scramble. Then he scrambled for three more before being brought down by a horse-collar tackle, adding a half-the-distance-to-the-goal penalty to the gain.
On the next play, Griffin took off for the end zone, running for 7 yards and stretching the ball over the goal line. It was a prelude of things to come.