The Rams did a good job of forcing Robert Griffin III to stay in the pocket, where the Redskins’ passing game is still a work in progress. When he didn’t run play fakes, Griffin had less success. It wasn’t just his fault, though some passes were off. At times he couldn’t follow through because of pressure from the interior. For the most part he stayed calm in the pocket, though not every time.
The Rams also late in the game started using their ends on stunts up the middle, collapsing the pocket while the tackles contained on the outside.
On plays where Griffin executed a straight drop-back, he completed 12 of 19 passes for 83 yards, one sack, one interception and an intentional grounding. He also ran twice for 15 more yards. When under duress and passing from the pocket, Griffin completed two of seven passes for nine yards, was called for intentional grounding and threw an interception. His longest completion from the pocket? Twelve yards. His two runs from the straight drop-backs also came when under duress.
Again, this isn’t all about Griffin as the protection needs to give him room. He’s not a short QB, but he’s not 6-foot-4 either so a tight pocket isn’t ideal. When the Redskins ran some sort of play-action, Griffin was eight for 10 for 123 yards and a touchdown. But they need to be more productive on the drop-backs, too (not that it was all bad, but it’s when he got into more trouble).
And check out how many third-and-6 or worse passing situations he faced while dropping straight back in the pocket: nine. Takes away a lot of what the Redskins can do.
Here’s a look at what he did in the pocket on straight drop-backs:
First and 10, 20-yard line, first quarter. Shotgun. Griffin looks right and back to the middle where he hits Aldrick Robinson for 12 yards. Note: There was no pressure; Griffin was calm and threw in 2.4 seconds.
Third and 8, 39-yard line, first quarter. Shotgun. Griffin is sacked in 2.4 seconds when LT Trent Williams is beaten to the outside by Robert Quinn.
First and 10, 20-yard line, first quarter. Shotgun. Griffin throws a bubble screen to the left to Joshua Morgan for 12 yards.
Second and 7, 35-yard line, first quarter. Shotgun. Griffin fakes a bubble screen pass to the right, hoping to then go deep. The Rams rush six defenders as the offensive line slides to the right. The Rams blitz their outside linebacker, who comes untouched. The only reason it wasn’t a sack: the linebacker hesitated on the pump fake. Griffin races back and throws it away and is flagged for intentional grounding. After the play, Rams linebacker Jo-Lunn Dunbar pushes Griffin’s head down as they both get up. Griffin had no chance on this play as pressure came from both sides. The Rams rushed five, but a sixth defender, outside linebacker Rocky McIntosh came late once it was clear Griffin would be unable to break contain.
Third and 18, 24-yard line, first quarter. Shotgun. Left end Chris Long applies pressure, forcing Griffin up. The Redskins’ interior does a good job keeping the Rams’ tackles from collapsing the pocket, leaving an opening for Griffin to run to his right. He runs out of bounds after 10 yards where he is shoved, drawing an extra 15 yards (questionable call).
Third and 3, Rams’ 11-yard line, first quarter. Shotgun. Clean pocket. Griffin throws in 1.6 seconds to Leonard Hankerson. The pass is low and incomplete. Robert Quinn is flagged for a late hit.
Third and 7, 23-yard line second quarter. Shotgun. The Rams rush four, but again leave an opening to the right as the Redskins’ interior again prevents a collapse. Griffin leaves the pocket after 3.0 seconds and remains calm as he hits Morgan for nine yards.
First and 10, 21-yard line, second quarter. Shotgun. The Rams rush four. Chris Long beats RT Tyler Polumbus to the outside, headed right for Griffin. The rookie QB is already starting to throw as Long arrives, but Griffin only raises his arm a little and continues the throw (2.3 seconds) over the middle to Fred Davis. No shoulder turn. Nothing on the ball. Easy interception for Cortland Finnegan. Griffin could have slid to his left. Even without the pressure, this ball might have been picked. Griffin initially looks to his left, then comes back to the middle. Finnegan already had broken to the middle before Griffin starts to throw.
Third and 11, 14-yard line, third quarter. Shotgun. Griffin looks downfield. There’s not much pressure, but Griffin wisely avoids forcing the ball and dumps it off to Niles Paul for four yards.
Third and 6, 24-yard line, third quarter. Shotgun. Griffin looks down the middle, then turns to the right for Dez Briscoe, running an in-route. Long beats Polumbus inside and Chris Chester tries to help. The damage is done as Griffin is unable to step into the throw. He almost steps up on his toes to throw over the line. The pass is a couple yards to the outside of Briscoe and nearly intercepted. Note: Griffin winds up on the play, throwing off the timing and used no shoulder turn, so there’s little zip on the ball. Also, Finnegan was used as a spy on the play, coming from the right slot to the middle as the ball is snapped.
Third and 9, 21-yard line, fourth quarter. Shotgun. Griffin throws the ball in 1.4 seconds, a nice easy throw to Morgan for eight yards.
Second and 14, Rams’ 46-yard line, fourth quarter. Shotgun. The Rams rush three defenders, but Griffin is jittery in the pocket. He looks left, further left and pump fakes and then with no defender within three yards Griffin looks to flee the pocket (after 3.0 seconds). As he runs to the right he takes his eyes off downfield. Griffin dumps the ball to Evan Royster for two yards. Griffin was hit after the play, but he ran himself into any pressure.
Third and 12, Rams’ 44-yard line, fourth quarter. Shotgun. The Rams rush four. Long rushes to the inside, beating Chester. Part of the reason: tight end Fred Davis bumps Long, sending him on a wider path inside than Chester anticipated. Griffin steps up after 2.4 seconds and takes his eyes off downfield about three yards from the line of scrimmage and takes off running. He could have dumped the ball to Davis and let him take the punishment. Instead, Griffin gains five yards and slides – and his hit in the head by Finnegan.
First and 10, 21-yard line, fourth quarter. Shotgun. Griffin throws to Davis in 1.9 seconds. Davis is drilled as the ball falls incomplete.
Second and 10, 21-yard line, fourth quarter. Shotgun. LT Trent Williams is called for holding as Quinn beats him inside. C Will Montgomery is moved back. That becomes important because Griffin sees Leonard Hankerson open on an underneath crossing route. But Griffin can’t finish his follow-through and the ball sails – and is nearly intercepted by Rocky McIntosh. Griffin’s right hand hits Montgomery’s helmet. Quinn hits Griffin as he throws.
Second and 20, 11-yard line, fourth quarter. Shotgun. Griffin slides right to avoid pressure (from Chester’s defender) and is hit as he throws. The tackle hits Griffin in his upper arm, preventing his follow through. Incomplete.
Third and 20, 11-yard line, fourth quarter. Shotgun. Polumbus is beaten inside by Long, forcing Griffin to run to his right. Aldrick Robinson is open deep down the left side, just inside the hash, but he broke free as Long was forcing Griffin to run. Griffin then takes his eyes off downfield and doesn’t look back down for two steps. He dumps the ball to Paul for eight yards.
First and 10, 37-yard line, fourth quarter. Shotgun. Screen to the left for Royster. Five yards.
Second and 5, 42-yard line, fourth quarter. Shotgun. Quick pass to Santana Moss (1.9 seconds) for nine yards.
First and 10, Rams’ 49-yard line, fourth quarter. Shotgun. Quick out left to Davis; the throw is short and low.
Second and 10, Rams’ 38-yard line, fourth quarter. Shotgun. Griffin looks left as the Rams rush four. They clogged the middle by having Quinn run a stunt inside for some pressure. Griffin throws back to the middle to Moss for two yards. To make the throw, Griffin was on his tiptoes.
Third and 8, Rams’ 36-yard line, fourth quarter. Shotgun. Griffin looks over the middle, then back to the right for Morgan. Long stunted inside, pushing the pocket. No one was within two yards of Griffin when he threw, but he did so off his back foot. However, good shoulder turn to get velocity on the throw to Morgan for seven yards. Had Morgan turned inside, it’s a first down.
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