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Griffin, Redskins run past Vikings

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Griffin, Redskins run past Vikings

Offense

Grade vs. Vikings: A

Comment: Robert Griffin III and Co. got off to a sluggish start Sunday, producing a three-and-out and an interception on the first two drives, respectively.

The next four drives, however, each resulted in points as the Redskins opened a 24-9 lead they would not relinquish.

A week after being sidelined by a concussion, Griffin responded with a performance he called the most complete of his young career. The rookie accounted for three touchdowns – one in the air and two rushing. In all, he amassed 320 yards of total offense, including an electrifying 76-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Griffin was the star, but he received plenty of help from a supporting cast that was minus injured wide receiver Pierre Garçon (right foot).

Left tackle Trent Williams did an admirable job slowing four-time Pro Bowl end Jared Allen (one sack), Santana Moss (four catches for 46 yards) helped offset Garçon’s absence and Josh Morgan threw a key block on Griffin’s victory clinching scoring sprint.

The coaching staff's game plan also derserves praise. The Redskins returned to the triple option, and that, combined with Griffin gaining chunks of yards on designed runs, kept the Vikings’ vaunted defense off balance all afternoon.

“Anytime people have to account for a quarterback you can put in a number of positions, it presents a problem for a defense,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. "If you always know where a quarterback is at, obviously you can isolate on that one position. If a quarterback is able to roll out, possibly run an option or drop back and pass, there’s some question where he’ll be.”

The only concern on the offensive side of the ball was Alfred Morris’ production. Although the rookie scored, he was limited to 47 yards on 16 carries (2.9 yards per carry.) In the season’s first five games, Morris averaged 98.2 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry.

A year ago, the Redskins' anemic offense average 18 points per game. Now, it ranks among the elite thanks, in large part, to Griffin's versatility. In fact, the unit currently is tied for third in points per game (29.7) with the Giants, next Sunday’s opponent. 

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Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]

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Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.

The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.

On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.

“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.

“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”

Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.

[MORE: ANGRY JAY GRUDEN SAYS REDSKINS 'NOT EVEN CLOSE' TO THINKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS]