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Griffin bounces back in Redskins' OT win

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Griffin bounces back in Redskins' OT win

“When you’re bad, you have to get good.”

That’s what Robert Griffin III said when talking about some issues the Washington Redskins had with some early drives in their 30-24 overtime win over the San Diego Chargers. But he could have been talking about the 2013 Redskins as a whole.

Griffin and the Redskins aren’t good yet. The team is 3-5 and a game and a half behind the Cowboys for the division lead. After all the numbers are added up Griffin will still be among the league’s lowest ranked quarterback by many statistical measures.

But, on this day they were good when they had to be and the result was a heart-pounding win over he Chargers at FedEx Field.

"We needed this win and our fans needed this win,” said Griffin. “We are thankful for all our fans who believe in us."

That belief was tested severely when the Redskins were protecting a three-point lead but Philip Rivers and company drove to a first and goal at the one. But the defense held and a Nick Novak field goal sent the game into overtime.

Griffin made sure to give the defense some props right off the bat at his postgame press conference. "Let's 1st talk about what the defense did down there on the goal line,” he said. “They really stepped up. It was a great team win."

But it was the offense that got the winning points. The Redskins won the overtime coin toss and took possession at their own 22. Griffin was four of four passing for 39 yards during the drive including a dart over the middle to tight end Jordan Reed that converted a third and eight. Two plays later on first and 20 Griffin again went down the middle, this time to Pierre Garçon for 17 yards. The Chargers’ Andrew Gachkar committed an illegal hit on the play and that tacked on 13 yards to the 13.

Griffin was done for the day after that except for handing off, twice to Alfred Morris and then once to Darrel Young, who scored his third touchdown of the day.

After posting the lowest passer rating of his career last week against the Broncos and taking some heat from fans and some in the local media as a result, Griffin wasn’t great but he was very good. He completed 23 of 32 passes for 291 yards. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass and he threw one interception resulting in a respectable passer rating of 86.8.

Griffin's favorite target was Pierre Garçon and the wide receiver came up big with seven receptions for 172 yards, including some spectacular and critical one-handed grabs.

"Pierre . . . made some catches that were there and made some catches that not many people can make," he said. "So he stepped up and the rest of the receivers followed his lead. It was great to see that, great to see that fire. Great to see him ball out today.

After being bottled up on the ground in Denver Griffin found a little running room, picking up 17 yards on six carries. He also executed option pitches to tight end Jordan Reed and wide receiver Santana Moss, plays that picked up 18 yards each time.

Griffin’s biggest run came with the score tied at 14 midway through the third quarter. On third and nine at the Chargers 46 he scrambled around left end, cut behind a block near the sideline and took to the air to get a yard past the sticks and pick up a key first down. Seven plays later, early in the fourth quarter, Young blasted in on third and goal at the one and the Redskins had a 21-14 lead.

Griffin has been cautioned to take fewer risks on the field but he wasn't thinking about that. "You just have to make a decision," he said. "A lot of people criticize me for that type of stuff and I could have gone out of bounds and we could have been short of the first down. I saw an opportunity to fly, so I took off and went for it."

The Redskins will be flying in just a few days, on their way to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in a Thursday night game. Since Week 4, they have alternated wins and losses, good and bad. The team’s success generally mirrors Griffin’s performance. If Griffin can put up another solid performance, the Redskins will have a very good chance.

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Need to Know: Redskins' cap room could be a dilemma for McClouthan

Need to Know: Redskins' cap room could be a dilemma for McClouthan

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 16, 52 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 44
NFL draft 101
First Sunday of 2017 season 237

A six pack of thoughts to start out the week

1. I think that by the end of the week the Redskins will have two new coordinators. It looks like Matt Cavanaugh will be the offensive coordinator. Haven’t heard why Bill Callahan isn’t getting the nod; it’s possible that he likes what he’s doing now and he’s getting paid as well as many coordinators.

2.  For a quick game with the $100 in imaginary casino chips on the defensive coordinator candidates, I’ll make Greg Manusky the favorite at $40 with Mike Pettine right behind him at $35. I’ll put $10 of the rest on Gus Bradley—we’ve heard of an interview with the Chargers but not anything like a hiring—and $15 on the field. The situation is fluid but that's the way it looks right now. 

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

3. On November 21, after the results of Week 11, the Redskins were 2.5 games ahead of the Packers. They were also a half-game better than of the Falcons. Those two teams are now playing for the NFC title. It’s not how you start, or even how you do in the middle of the season. It’s how you finish.

4. I’m not much of a hockey guy but I think I’ve got to get down to the Verizon Center to see the Caps. They are blazing hot and you can tell it’s a great atmosphere at the VC.

5. I have a feeling that an announcement about a new stadium for the Redskins is going to happen sometime in the next few months. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe can’t run again; he is out of office about a year from today. He’s going to want a legacy item and a state of the art stadium in the commonwealth would fill the bill. The process of approval, financing, and construction will take up most or all of the 10 years that remains on the FedEx Field lease.

More Redskins: The Redskins week that was

6. Normally having a lot of cap space to work with is a good thing but it may not be for Scot McCloughan this year. If the Redskins trim some veterans from the payroll they could go into free agency with around $70 million to spend. McCloughan would prefer to build through the draft. But the current situation almost forces the Redskins to spend. McCloughan took some heat for going into the 2016 season with $15 million in cap space and some unfilled needs on the defensive line and at safety. If they have issues again in 2017 and there is, say, $30 million just sitting there the noise will get louder. And it won’t just be coming from fans and the media; plenty of it will come from the offices of Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder.

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In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Players, fans and media trapped at Cowboys stadium due to severe weather

Players, fans and media trapped at Cowboys stadium due to severe weather

Sunday was a bad day for the Cowboys. They lost their divisional playoff game to the Packers, on a last-second field goal, no less. But then after the game, players and fans couldn't just pack up and go home. 

Instead, they got stuck inside AT&T Stadium due to severe weather in the area. Weather forecasts showed potential tornadoes and dangerous flash flooding. 

There was some silver lining for fans who got stuck, though. They got to see some of their favorite players one more time this season. 

RELATED: Redskins players live tweet wild Cowboys-Packers game