Griffin III's late runaway overwhelms Vikings

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 15, 2012 - 6:57 AM

The rookie quarterback capped off a Redskins victory with a sensational scoring run.

LANDOVER, MD. - Twenty minutes after Sunday's magic show ended, a jubilant crowd bounced out of FedEx Field, still feeling compelled to praise the afternoon's headliner.

The chants were loud. They were impassioned. And they left the visiting Vikings with a pounding headache.

"RG3! RG3! RG3!"

Indeed, Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III stole the show in his team's 38-26 victory, boosting his already sky-high popularity across the D.C. area.

For three hours, Griffin had all eyes on him yet showed extraordinary poise.

He was sharp with his throws and electric with his runs.

Most of all, he seemed to create an energy within his team and among the boisterous crowd. So much so, in fact, that Vikings star Adrian Peterson congratulated the 22-year-old quarterback after the game and walked away a believer.

"Looking into his eyes, he's got the heart of a champion," Peterson said of Griffin. "It's easy to see he's a great player. He's been blessed."

Like any grand finale at a David Copperfield show, Griffin's final trick Sunday appeared as effortless as it was breathtaking.

With 2 minutes, 56 seconds left, the Redskins clung to a five-point lead and faced a critical third-and-6 at their own 24-yard line.

And then came the snap and an aggressive Vikings blitz that never got home.

Linebackers Chad Greenway and Jasper Brinkley were knocked off course. Griffin saw an opening and darted through.

"We were putting a little pressure on him," Greenway said. "And he escaped. Really nothing more to say."

Cornerback Chris Cook, in coverage on Josh Morgan, was sealed by a block.

Safeties Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford were each a degree or two off in the angles they took in pursuit.

Suddenly Griffin sliced to the left sideline and seemed to hit a moving walkway.

The final 65 yards of his sprint created a celebratory mosh pit across the stadium.

"There aren't a lot of guys who play that position who can break a 76-yard run and not get caught," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "That creates some issues for any defense. [He's] a heck of a young player."

Griffin had a hand in 36 of the Redskins' 55 plays. He ran 13 times for 138 yards and two scores. He also completed 17 of 22 passes for 182 yards, including a TD toss of 6 yards to fullback Darrel Young.

Early on, Griffin continually pinpointed passes to open receivers cutting toward the middle of the field, a vulnerability in the Vikings defense that the Redskins exploited time after time on four consecutive scoring drives.

Washington also addled the Vikings with heavy doses of play-action and a multitude of zone read looks.

"Sometimes it can be tough," Greenway said. "It's a little bit of smoke and mirrors with all their fakes and stuff. ... When they're carrying out the fakes, you've got to play the run. And as a linebacker, it's tough to do both. You've got to read your keys and play ball. You're not going to get them all obviously. So credit them for a good scheme."

Still, for as electrifying as Griffin's performance was, the Vikings also left Washington kicking themselves for a flood of squandered opportunities.

The offense marched into the red zone on its first three possessions and, after 13 minutes, held an eye-popping 146-7 advantage in total yards. Yet all three of those drives stalled, resulting in field goals.

"If you go back in time, I've said it after at least four games," Peterson said. "We have to turn those threes into seven. Today it finally came back and bit us."

The Vikings were also bitten badly by a pair of Christian Ponder turnovers. Ponder's final stats (35-for-52, 352 yards, two TDs) might look nice in the boxscore. But the fumble he lost deep in Vikings territory in the second quarter positioned Washington for a gimme TD drive: one play, 6 yards.

Worse, Ponder's interception early in the fourth was returned 24 yards to the end zone by former Vikings safety Madieu Williams on what the quarterback called "a fluke play."

It was certainly Ponder's worst and most costly throw, a good 5 feet over Michael Jenkins' head.

"The ball just slipped out of my hands, just sailed," Ponder said.

With that, the hopes of a fourth consecutive victory for the Vikings slipped away as well, the evening ultimately punctuated by that Griffin dash and the chants that might still be echoing through FedEx Field.

"RG3! RG3! RG3!"

Dan Wiederer • dan.wiederer@startribune.com

  • WEEK 6 REDSKINS 38, VIKINGS 26

    Week 7: Noon Sunday vs. Arizona • Mall of America Field • TV: Ch. 9 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

    SOMEBODY ... STOP HIM

    Dec. 1, 2002: Michael Vick set an NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback as Atlanta beat the Vikings 30-24 at the Metrodome. Vick's 46-yard TD dash in overtime capped a 173-yard day.

    Sunday: Washington's Robert Griffin III ran for 138 yards -- fifth-highest total for a QB in NFL history -- against the Vikings, sealing the game with a 76-yard scoring dash. The scoring run was longest for a QB since Kordell Stewart had an 80-yarder for Pittsburgh on Dec. 22, 1996.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Samardzija 1
St. Louis - LP: M. Wacha 1 FINAL
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 3
Milwaukee - WP: K. Lohse 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: C. Morton 3
Toronto - WP: S. Delabar 3 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: M. Rzepczynski 2
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 11 FINAL
Detroit - LP: D. Smyly 6
Atlanta - WP: A. Harang 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 0
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 8 FINAL
Boston - LP: J. Lackey 4
NY Yankees - LP: A. Warren 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. McGee 11
Seattle - LP: Y. Medina 4 FINAL
Miami - WP: S. Cishek 8
Chicago WSox - LP: F. Paulino 0 FINAL
Texas - WP: M. Perez 12
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 0 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Vargas 5
Philadelphia - LP: J. Pettibone 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: T. Chatwood 12
Houston - LP: J. Cosart 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Gray 11
San Francisco - LP: M. Cain 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Ross 2
Arizona - WP: J. Thatcher 4 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: C. Perez 2
Montreal 4 FINAL
Tampa Bay 1
Detroit 1 FINAL
Boston 0
Dallas 2 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will you boo Jared Allen when he returns with the Bears?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close