Redskins' RG3 puts away Vikings with 76-yard touchdown run

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Photo - Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
The Redskins' Robert Griffin III ran for 138 yards Sunday, including a 76-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP The Redskins' Robert Griffin III ran for 138 yards Sunday, including a 76-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

As he took off running, Robert Griffin III lost himself in the moment. He didn't forget any of the details. He didn't forget what he saw. He heard this guy shouting this and that guy shouting that. The moment became The Moment.

"It was a blur," he said later.

He sped through the hole, focusing on the first down. Then he took off around the outside and focused on getting more yards. And when he turned the corner, he had something else in mind: points. Six of them in fact.

Other quarterbacks could have picked up the first down. Other quarterbacks could have gained a few yards beyond the marker. Not many could have galloped 76 yards for a touchdown on a pivotal third-and-6 play as Griffin did in the Redskins' 38-26 win over Minnesota (4-2). The Redskins (3-3) needed a win, and Griffin delivered.

"There aren't a lot of guys who play that position that can break a 76-yard run and not get caught," Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said.

Plays like this are why the Redskins pursued Griffin so hard before the draft. He sat out the last quarter of the loss to Atlanta a week earlier because of a concussion. But Griffin showed no aftereffects. He finished with 138 yards rushing and another 182 yards passing. While he has run out of bounds in the past out of the bootleg look -- he did so vs. the Falcons, too -- Griffin tried to protect himself by sliding a yard or two early on other runs.

But he operated the game plan Washington needed. With the Vikings taking away the outside zone running game, the Redskins needed Griffin's legs to help them win. So they started running more triple option and zone read plays, and by game's end Griffin had carried the ball 13 times, though not all on designed runs.

Griffin, whose 379 rushing yards are the most in franchise history for a quarterback, didn't hesitate to play like he always had.

"You can't do that as a quarterback," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. "You have to go play."

Griffin did just that, completing a fourth-and-3 pass to Santana Moss in the second quarter for 6 yards on a field goal drive. He scrambled for 15 yards on a third-and-11 in the third quarter, a drive he capped with a 7-yard run for a touchdown.

"I'm just glad [the concussion] didn't affect him at all," Redskins guard Kory Lichtensteiger said. "It didn't make him timid at all. You can see what he's capable of on a night like this."

Yes, you can: 76-yard runs.

"You never know what's going to happen," Redskins tight end Fred Davis said. "You can be down in the worst position and still come out on top. ... He took off. I saw him take that third gear, and he was gone."

The 76-yard run was a read in the pocket; his first option was a pass. But a hole opened, and Griffin fled. And when a team plays man coverage in that situation as Minnesota did, a long run always is possible.

"I got to the sidelines and thought I'd run out of bounds because everyone's telling me that lately," he said. "I felt I had the guy outflanked, and the rest was history. Rex [Grossman] said, 'You can stop smiling by Wednesday,' because I was all smiles. It was a special feeling. I got to prove to those guys that I still have track speed. It always feels good when you can do that."

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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