Two games into the Robert Griffin III Era, this much is clear: the dynamic rookie makes the Redskins infinitely more watchable, but he does not guarantee a victory.Punter Sav Rocca had a punt blocked for the second consecutive week, wide receiver Josh Morgan lost his cool late and the injury depleted Redskins defense got torched by the Rams Sam Bradford-led offense in a momentum-halting 31-28 loss at Edward Jones Dome. The Rams victory ended an eight-game losing streak dating to last season.
The Redskins were on the move late in the fourth quarter when Morgan snagged a Griffin pass at the Rams 29-yard line. But the wide receiver drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty for flipping the ball at Cortland Finnegan, moving Washington back to the 44. Instead of a first down, Redskins kicker Billy Cundiff was forced to attempt a 62-yard field goal attempt that came up well short with 1:18 left to play.
Griffin filled up the box score, passing for 209 yards and a touchdown and running for 82 yards and two more scores. But he also tossed his first career interception and suffered his first defeat.
Adding injury to insult, the Redskins also suffered some key injuries that bear watching. Defensive end Adam Carriker (right knee), linebacker Brian Orakpo (left shoulder) and cornerback Josh Wilson (undisclosed) all left the game.
Carriker suffered what appeared to be a serious-looking right knee injury on Rams second possession. Orakpo attempted to return after appearing to reinjure his problematic left shoulder. Wilson, meantime, was hurt while tackling running back Darryl Richardson with a head-first tackle in the third quarter.
The extent of the injuries was not immediately known. But if any of them misses significant time, it could prove to be a serious blow to a defense that can ill-afford it after yielding 63 points in two games.
Griffin appeared to steady the Redskins late in the third quarter when scored from seven yards out on a keeper. It was his second rushing touchdown of the game and it restored the visitors advantage, 28-23.
On the Rams next possession, linebacker London Fletcher bailed out the Redskins when he picked off Bradford in the end zone.
But it proved to only be a temporary reprieve.
Matthew Mulligan blocked Roccas punt deep in Washingtons end. Four plays later, Mulligan was on the receiving end of Bradfords third touchdown pass, a one-yarder that put St. Louis ahead 31-28 after a two-point conversion by Richardson.
Rocca has now had punts blocked on consecutive Sundays and it did not appear to involve any chemistry issues between Rocca and new long snapper Justin Snow.
The result would have been hard to imagine after the Redskins fast start.
On the Ramss first play from scrimmage, Perry Riley stripped Danny Amendola on the Rams first play from scrimmage, and cornerback Josh Wilson returned the ball 30 yards for a touchdown.
Later in the first half, Griffin would extend the visitors lead to 14-3 with a five-yard run and then 21-6 with a 68-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson. It was the first scoring reception of Hankersons career.
The rest of the half belonged to Amendola, who shredded the Redskins shaky seconday en route to tying an NFL record for receptions in a half with 12. In only two quarters, Amendola racked up 133 yards and a touchdown.