…The final two drives showed that Robert Griffin III is able to stay composed and patient in pressure situations. The Bengals kept giving the Redskins underneath throws, so Griffin kept taking those and moved the ball down the field twice. Had it not been for clock mismanagement at the end of the third, and they had one time out, they could have tied the game.
…The longest he held the ball on the next-to-last drive was 3.1 seconds, but he extended the play by nearly a second and it resulted in an 11-yard pass to Leonard Hankerson running underneath. Griffin stepped up in the pocket, slid to his right and hit Hankerson. Every other pass in that drive was thrown in less than 2.6 seconds. One of his best throws (1.4 seconds) came when Hankerson turned and caught a 10-yard hitch; the ball already was on its way. Griffin is at his best right now when delivering the ball this quickly. But it also helps when that’s what the defense gives you. However, give him credit for not forcing passes
…Unofficially, Griffin was hit 28 times during the game. That’s a big number, but it’s not as if every hit was a big one. But even if he was hit 14 times, that’s plenty – and tough for a guy who weighs 217 pounds if he wants to last 16 games. He was sacked six times, so each one of those classifies as a good hit. He was hit after he threw 11 times – sometimes it was a shove, sometimes it was a defender hitting his arm as he threw; so not every hit would have stung. He was hit on a designed run five times, including when he was hit late out of bounds. But one run ended in a headfirst slide and he wasn’t hit all that hard. He was hit after a pitch/zone read handoff five times. Once he was shoved, but the other times he was hit hard. On consecutive plays in the fourth quarter Griffin hit the turf hard, the first time after a shove following his pitch/pass to Brandon Banks. Next play: Manny Lawson plowed through him after a pitch, causing Griffin’s head to bounce off the turf. Regardless of how it’s broken down, it was too many hits.
…One of the big questions this summer was whether or not Griffin’s penchant for holding the ball a long time would carry into the season. It has, on occasion. One of those times resulted in a sack (coming against tight end Logan Paulsen). Griffin faked a stretch zone to the right to Morris as Paulsen came from right to left to handle end Michael Johnson. The pocket closed in around Griffin as he faked a throw downfield then reset. After 4.2 seconds he was sacked. He had Morris all alone in the flat for an easy checkdown. Another time he was under pressure quickly and only held the ball for 2.6 seconds on a straight drop. It was third and 7, so you’re hoping something breaks downfield for a first down. But he had Evan Royster in the flat and by the time he threw to him, Dunlap was on him and his hand hit Griffin in the right shoulder, causing his pass to Royster to fall short. Was that holding the ball too long? In checking the All-22, the Bengals were in a cover-2 and his only option was a quick checkdown. It might not have resulted in a first down. Problem is, the pressure happened too fast.
…One miss occurred in the second quarter when Griffin ran a bootleg to his left and tried to hit Paulsen for what would have been maybe a three or four-yard gain. A few yards to Paulsen’s left stood Davis, who would have gained a lot more. A rusher was nearly in the path to Davis and that could have been enough to force Griffin to go to Paulsen.
…By the way, on the previous play Griffin again showed the subtle benefits of his athleticism. He faked a stretch zone to the right, but Johnson wasn’t fooled and ran right at Griffin. As Griffin turned around Johnson was about two yards away. Griffin didn’t panic and flipped a screen to the right to Joshua Morgan.
…I’m torn on the sack with 19 seconds left. Griffin needs to unload the ball in that situation, but it was only 2.6 seconds when he had to vacate the pocket. There needs to be a better internal clock perhaps, but Griffin actually tried to leave. The reason he was sacked? When Carlos Dunlap beat Tyler Polumbus inside, guard Chris Chester helped and popped Dunlap. But that knocked Dunlap right into Griffin’s path as he tried to run right. An unfortunate situation that ended poorly.
…Yes, the Bengals did a good job sending defenders right at Griffin, but the triple option took care of that for a little while. Johnson eventually stopped going right at Griffin because of this. One play before Morris scored his touchdown, Griffin completely fooled Johnson. The Bengals end came upfield as Griffin faked a handoff to Royster. Johnson then turned and looked at Royster as Griffin kept the ball around the left end for seven yards.
…Griffin’s best passes come when he gets rid of the ball quickly, usually off a fake. His 25-yard pass to Hankerson (16 yards in the air) came when Griffin faked a handoff, turned and delivered 2.1 seconds after the snap. It also helped that on the play, tight end Niles Paul blocks the linebacker several yards downfield before the pass and knocks him to the ground, clearing a perfect lane. Griffin also threw a nice in-route to Fred Davis for 30 yards earlier in the half, one of his better throws of the day into a tighter window.
…Griffin did not complete a pass that traveled longer than 23 yards in the air (it was the only pass longer than 20 yards). He attempted just one deep ball – it easily could have been called pass interference on Cincinnati, but wasn’t. He did not attempt a pass longer than 12 yards in the air in the first half.
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