- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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A weekly analysis of the Washington Redskins’ quarterback play.
Rewind: Robert Griffin III continues to up his game a little bit as the season progresses. He still makes mistakes; he still fails to pull the trigger at times. Just like last season. He’s still developing as a passer. But he’s starting to incorporate his legs, and that made enough of a difference against the Raiders. He carried the ball in the zone read twice for 8 yards. Another 9-yard carry was negated by a hold, but on the play Griffin showed quickness and shiftiness he did not show when the season started. Griffin completed 18 of 31 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown, good for a 91.7 passer rating. Griffin made a couple of plays with his legs but more by avoiding the rush, sliding in the pocket or stepping up in the pocket. He did each of those, and in each case it resulted in positive gains, none bigger than the 28-yard dump-and-run to Roy Helu after Griffin sprinted from pressure.
Fast-forward: The more Griffin plays, the more he starts to show glimpses of his pre-knee-injury self. He’s not the only one who needs to improve for the offense to excel, or for the Redskins to turn their season around. After the bye week, Griffin will face three defenses currently ranked 20th or worse in Dallas (20th), Chicago (21st) and Denver (25th). All three are ranked 24th or worse against the pass.
Inside the numbers: The Redskins did something rare Sunday. They won a game in which Griffin attempted 30-plus passes, something they had done only once in his young career. When Griffin has attempted at least 30 passes, the Redskins are 2-6. The most passes he threw last season was 39 in a loss to Carolina. But he attempted 30 or more passes only four times last season, a number he’s already matched in 2013. One reason the Redskins won this game was the defense sacking quarterback Matt Flynn seven times and holding the Raiders’ offense to one touchdown. It allowed Griffin and the offense to gather momentum after a sluggish start.
Prediction: Griffin will continue to run a bit more after the bye week. There’s a belief that it would take him approximately two months of playing -- and gaining confidence in his knee -- before he fully returns to normal. That means he’d be a month away, but it also means Griffin is a month removed from the start of the season when neither he nor the coaches wanted him to run. The more mobile he becomes, the more Griffin excels. It’s not just about running, it’s about extending plays, and he’s starting to do that more.
602dMichael C. Wright