Griffin: 'It's tough to swallow'
For the second game in a row, Robert Griffin III had the ball in his hands late in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie a game the Redskins desperately needed to win. And for the second straight game Griffin and the Redskins fell short.
The comeback ended on what has to be described as an inexplicable Griffin pass that was intercepted in the end zone.
In one way, this game was the mirror image of the loss in Minnesota a week ago Thursday. In that game, the Redskins started off hot, scoring on their first five possessions. Griffin was playing as well as he had all season. But they couldn’t get it done, going scoreless on their last four possessions of the game, coming up short when three passes were incomplete in the final minute.
Against the Eagles, the Redskins were scoreless after their first eight possessions and Griffin was as bad as he’s been all year. They got things heated up but it was too late.
The Redskins trailed 24-0 entering the fourth quarter. They rallied with two Griffin touchdown passes followed by a pair of two-point conversions. Washington got the ball back with 3:26 left to play.
The drive towards what would have been the tying touchdown was a harrowing ride. They faced five third downs on the way.
With 10 yards to go from the 19, Griffin found Santana Moss for 13 yards. On third and 25, Griffin stepped up in the pocket and fired a strike to Moss down the middle for 28 yards. Then a defensive holding call bailed them out of a third and 10. A sideline pass that an Eagles DB nearly knocked away found the hands of Pierre Garçon and converted a third and five and got the Redskins down to the Eagles 27.
But they couldn’t get it done on one final third down. From the 18 with 40 second left, Griffin was pressured by Fletcher Cox and instead of throwing the ball away to come back and see if you can convert a third and one, he threw it up for grabs in the end zone. With no Redskin in the area, Brandon Boykin got the easy interception to seal the win for the Eagles.
“We had a certain concept to run,” said Griffin when asked about the play. “Nobody got open so I was backing up. In a situation where if you get a sack you end the game. I tried to throw the ball out of the end zone, it didn’t get to where I wanted it to go. Obviously, I was on my heels. It’s something I can learn from.”
“It’s tough to swallow something like that but we have to digest it and move on.”
Griffin finished the day completing fewer than 50 percent of his passes for the second time his year. He finished 17 of 35 for 264 yards with two TD’s and the one head-scratching interception.
Griffin’s issues completing passes were not entirely on him. He had a few dropped on him and on other occasions he was under so much pressure that he couldn’t realistically get a completion. But on multiple occasions he sailed passes over the heads of open receivers.
The Redskins trailed 17-0 at the half. The defense was having its issues slowing down Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and the rest of the Philly offense but they couldn’t get any help from the offense. Two sacks—one resulting in a fumble and another killing a drive outside of field goal range—were very costly.
The first one came on the 11th play of a drive that had moved the Redskins from their own 20 to a second and goal at the five. Griffin dropped back and was looking for a target. The Eagles’ Connor Barwin eluded an attempted cut block by Roy Helu and hit Griffin from the blindside. The ball popped up in the air and Fletcher Cox grabbed it to kill the threat.
The Eagles drove for a field goal to stretch their lead to 17-0. Washington responded with another drive that looked promising. Alfred Morris carried six straight times but on third and nine at the Philly 39 Griffin dropped back and was dumped by Trent Cole for an eight-yard loss.
Griffin was four for 7 passing for 26 yards at the half. Counting sacks, the Redskins had a net of four yards passing in the first two quarters. RG3 actually had more yards rushing in the first half (7 carries, 39 yards) than he did passing.
The Eagles took the opening kickoff of the second half and embarked on a 13-play touchdown drive that made it 24-0. It looked like the rout was on, especially after the Redskins had four empty possessions and it looked like the Redskins would go down without much of a fight. But then things got exciting.
The Redskins broke up the shutout on a play that shows what can happen when Griffin uses his feet. From the Redskins 38, Griffin dropped back, dodged a few defenders and found fullback Darrel Young wide open about 20 yards downfield. Two Eagles defenders collided while trying to take him down and Young rolled the rest of the way into the end zone.
Then things got really interesting. A 41-yard TD bomb to Aldrick Robinson—who made a nice adjustment to pluck the ball about a foot from the turf in the end zone—and a quarterback draw for the two-point conversion made it a one-score game at 24-16.
The Redskins forced an Eagles punt on the ensuing possession. They got close enough to have a chance but, once again, they fell short.