- During one training camp practice, I remember the quarterbacks, and Robert Griffin III in particular, struggling on the sprint roll-out to their left. And this was against no defense, too. Of the three quarterbacks, Griffin was the least accurate. Part of the problem? He rushed his throws and it wasn’t until he was patient that he dropped one in safely. Flash ahead to Sunday. On the fourth and 3 completion to Santana Moss, Griffin sprints to his left and just before he readies to throw, with no pressure coming at him, he slows his body and gets his hips around and delivers a perfect pass. Also on this play, Griffin had to handle a snap that was high and to his right and then take off to his left.
- One key on the 17-yard pass to Joshua Morgan out of the zone read fake? Griffin’s feet. His base is excellent as he fakes the handoff to Alfred Morris. This enables Griffin to simply hop back around and already have his feet in proper position to make the throw.
- The offseason work making commercials paid off for Griffin. He did a nice acting job on the personal foul in the second quarter. It only drew six yards (half the distance to the goal line). But it resulted in a first down after a second-and-3 incompletion. Linebacker Erin Henderson took three steps and then shoved Griffin at the shoulders. It wasn’t the hardest shove I’ve ever seen. After a step Griffin seems to remember to sell the fake and he then falls back and throws his hands up. The new Griffining perhaps? Hey, it worked.
- Griffin was only hit four times after he threw – and one of those was a nudge and another a shove that drew a 15-yard penalty. He was sacked once. So of the 36 times he handled the ball, Griffin was not hit or barely hit 32 times. When it comes to the passing game, it’s a combination of the line keeping guys off him, Griffin making quicker decisions and the play-calling. Griffin threw off a zone read fake seven times and play-action seven times.
- Griffin completed three of five passes on third down, converting one into a first down. He also gained 99 yards on three third down runs, two of which resulted in first downs. As for the pass, it was a nice throw on third-and-4 to Santana Moss for five yards. It had to be delivered with precision and on time and Griffin came through in both areas. The play design helped as well (usually does) as the Redskins used a tight bunch set to the left, with Fred Davis inside, Leonard Hankerson in the front and Moss on the outside. Hankerson ran straight downfield but the key was Davis, who ran a short crossing route and held the attention of safety Jamarca Sanford. He could not commit to either Davis or Moss, who ran a little hitch just inside corner Antoine Winfield. He showed press coverage vs. Hankerson, then bailed to cover Moss. It could have been trouble, but it wasn’t as Moss ran a good route just inside him. The ball was thrown before Moss broke and arrived just before Sanford did for a successful completion.
- It’s pretty obvious what went wrong on Griffin’s interception. Considering Winfield was all over Morgan it shouldn’t have been thrown.
- Worried about Griffin running? Here’s a look at the 13 times he carried the ball. Some games will not go this worry-free with him, no doubt. But he was rarely hit when he ran. The breakdown:
1. A bootleg run to the left. Griffin keeps his eyes upfield – the Vikings bit big-time inside so the lack of contain buys time — but around the 18-yard line takes off and runs out of bounds for a seven-yard gain. Not hit.
2. From a triple option look, Griffin keeps around left end and cuts upfield. Tough to tell if he was tripped up, lightly, or if it was an awkward slide. Regardless, he gained seven yards and wasn’t hit.
3. Another triple option look and Griffin runs around the left end and cuts upfield and slides after seven yards. Safety Harrison Smith is a step away from a big hit. Instead, nothing.
4. End of the half kneel down.
5. On third and 11, Griffin pump fakes from the pocket, then sees a green on the right side. He takes off for a 15-yard run and gets out of bounds. Not hit.
6. Bootleg to the left, with defensive end Everson Griffen in pursuit, Griffin keeps for three yards. Smith commits a horse collar penalty for another 15 yards.
7. Quarterback draw for a seven-yard touchdown. Griffin’s ability to quickly swerve prevents a big hit. Smith lined up at the goal line on the Redskins’ left, races up, but must avoid Alfred Morris’ block. At the 7-yard line, Griffin cuts back inside – the way his legs are, I’m half-surprised he didn’t lose his balance – as Smith dives at him. There are two other Vikings by him: linebacker Chad Greenway, stepping over Morris, and corner Chris Cook. Greenway misses him because Griffin’s cut is too smooth and fast and Cook is left hitting his upper legs. It’s not a big hit.
8. Bootleg run to the right and out of bounds for four yards. Not hit.
9. After a zone read fake, Griffin keeps left and is tackled from behind by corner Antoine Winfield for four yards. Had he not tackled him, Griffin would have run for a while.
10. Zone read run to the right. Morgan doesn’t block Winfield and he makes a good form tackle at his legs after four yards. Not a big hit, but a good tackle.
11. Griffin takes off from the pocket (after 2.5 seconds as end Brian Robison gets around right tackle Tyler Polumbus) and runs out of bounds for eight yards on third and 11. Not hit.
12. The 76-yard touchdown run against the blitz. If you’re going to blitz him and play man, you can’t allow any gap to be left open as the Vikings did. This was probably the most hits he received all day, but they happened to be from the fans around him after he leaped into the stands.
13. Kneel down, end of game.