A closer look at Robert Griffin III and the Redskins' last-minute win

Matt Stamey-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

RGIII led the Washington Redskins on a last-minute drive that gave the team a needed win in Tampa Bay.

The final seconds of an early regular-season game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not when legends are born. In fact, this game is likely to be long forgotten by this time next year, when Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III gets a quarter of the way into his second NFL season.

You should still try and tuck the memory of RGIII's last-minute comeback win over the Bucs into the dusty corners of your football-addled brain, somewhere next to the cousin of the famous person who bummed a cigarette from you. Griffin's performance this week was sneak peek of things to come, and you'll want to be able to say that you knew it was going to happen.

With a minute and 47 seconds left in the game, Tampa Bay kicks a field goal to give them a 22-21 lead. Out walks RGIII and the Redskins offense. They need to get close enough to at least kick a field goal for the win.

His headset fails. There's always some technical mishap, a reminder that the human mind and body still trump whatever gadgets we have to improve upon flesh. More fuel for the legend.

RGIII and the Redskins come to the line quickly, moving with purpose. He takes the snap and finds Santana Moss over the middle to pick up another first down.

1-10-WAS 20 (1:42) (Shotgun) R.Griffin pass short middle to S.Moss to WAS 35 for 15 yards (L.David).

Check out the screen shot of the play. He makes the pass from a pocket imploding in on itself. It's quick. It's efficient. It's 15 yards.


The next play looks similar to this one.

1-10-WAS 35 (1:20) (No Huddle) R.Griffin pass short middle to F.Davis to TB 45 for 20 yards (A.Talib).

Tight end Fred Davis is lined up next to the right tackle, and Washington is in a three-receiver set. Tampa sends the blitz, seven men crashing through Washington's line to stop the rookie quarterback. Instead, RGIII finds Davis in the middle of the field, alone, unmolested. It's enough for a 20-yard gain. Washington is now inside the 50-yard line with a minute to spare.

1-10-TB 45 (1:00) (No Huddle) R.Griffin pass short left to E.Royster to TB 41 for 4 yards (A.Talib).

Griffin's receivers are covered, and pressure is coming from Tampa Bay's front. He looks back to his left and finds Royster for the check down. Nothing sexy, but he keeps the ball moving down the field.

2-6-TB 41 (:38) (No Huddle) R.Griffin scrambles right end to TB 26 for 15 yards (M.Foster).

The snap comes and in the span of a second RGIII scans the field for a target. Nothing. In one simple, fluid move, he pulls the ball down and takes off through the right side of the field where there's not a defender to be found. Pure improvisation, and an example of what separates RGIII from so many of his peers in the NFL.


(photo via Matt Stamey-US PRESSWIRE)

1-10-TB 26 (:18) R.Griffin spiked the ball to stop the clock.

2-10-TB 26 (:18) (Field Goal formation) PENALTY on WAS-K.Lichtensteiger, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at TB 26 - No Play.

Trouble. That's false start No. 2 in this game for the Redskins' left guard. A field goal here would have been a 49-yard attempt. Not impossible, but Billy Cundiff is 0-for-3 in this game and a 5-for-9 on the season. They go for one more play to take some of the distance away from Cundiff and the game-winner.

2-15-TB 31 (:18) (Shotgun) R.Griffin pass short middle to S.Moss to TB 24 for 7 yards (B.McDonald).

Moss runs a short route right from the slot, the kind of route that sets up a quick pass from RGIII. It works perfectly, and Griffin again makes the throw with a crowded pocket. His timing is doing more to prevent a sack on this play than his offensive line is.

Washington burns its last timeout. And now it's all on the kicker.

3-8-TB 24 (:07) (Field Goal formation) B.Cundiff 41 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-J.Snow, Holder-S.Rocca


Cundiff makes the kick, giving himself a moment of redemption, but the win is all RGIII, who engineered the late drive that made it all possible.

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