Drive to Victory: RG3 Sets Up Redskins' Win
Why must there always be controversy or a sacrificial pig, even in a clean victory?
Robert Griffin III was delivered something to complain about this week, but it wasn't botched penalties or Greg Schiano's patented kneel-down bull rush.
He and Billy Cundiff didn't leave any time for that hogwash.
Down 22-21 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) with one timeout and 1:42 remaining, the Washington Redskins (2-2) and their wondrous rookie quarterback drove 56 yards in seven plays, as Billy Cundiff ultimately converted a 41-yard field goal with three seconds left on the clock.
The No. 2 overall draft pick's stat line (26-of-35, 323 yards, and zero interceptions) and first fourth-quarter comeback of his NFL career are made to look considerably more impressive once you factor in all of the running to and from the sideline late in the contest.
Much like his Nike wardrobe, RG3's headset malfunctioned, and the claim backed up by his teammates is that the tapped out equipment in his helmet wasn't much of a coincidence on the road.
It is a accusation only worth exploring because Schiano has made it resoundingly clear that he will do anything to win, such as blitzing the V formation when all rational hope seems lost.
Of course, it was all for naught. While Josh Freeman valiantly led the Bucs from an 18-point deficit and Connor Barth recaptured the lead on the previous play, Tampa's Cover negative-2 defense couldn't stop a mere man's underrated poise, IQ, play-calling ability, and gifted intangibles.
Rather than sulking over a lost box of fig Cam newtons, Griffin finds ways to thrive - standing firmly and efficiently in the pocket.
RG3 doesn't get trigger-happy, frantic feet, or selfish urges to scramble. Comfortably in the shotgun and out of the no huddle, he quickly releases the ball from his hand for consecutive first-down strikes to Santana Moss over the middle (who in due time can be an all-around Steve Smith for his Cam Newton descendant) and Fred Davis abandoned in space (4 receptions for 70 yards and steadily increasing production).
He then showcased his swift reads of the opposition and progression through his receivers with pressure in his face, and found Evan Royster underneath.
On the following 2nd-and-6, the Baylor product reminded us all that he still likes to run. With defensive end Michael Bennett barreling past the offensive line, RG3 nonchalantly rolls to his right and through the wide open lane for a 15-yard scamper. Then the reception in his face mask must have changed the channel to Philadelphia, because Michael Vick forgot to slide and was pummeled by Mason Foster.
Washington needs their franchise quarterback - who added 43 rushing yards and a score on seven attempts - to minimize the amount of hits his body takes, despite him being able to handle it.
After spiking the ball at Tampa Bay's 26 with 18 seconds to go, and an ensuing false start, Griffin coolly collects seven more yards for Cundiff with a rifle to Moss. The well-protected timeout was called, and the placekicker had to shake off the three early misses and an AFC Championship blunder weighing down his right leg.
It caught more of the inside of the upright then Baltimore successor Justin Tucker did a week prior, but it was certainly good enough to redeem Cundiff, at least on this day of growth for the nation's capital football franchise.
The youthful Buccaneers, meanwhile, have suffered three close and heartbreaking defeats in a row, in spite of both offensive and defensive spurts of promise moving forward. Perhaps future practices should preserve more focus towards two-minute coverage instead of pirate tactics of gullying and mutiny.
The Redskins' defense could use more attention themselves after surrendering an 18-point comeback in the first place, but as long as RG3 is at the helm of the Hispanola, this dog that plays the piano will hold up nicely next to Eli Manning in the NFC East.
That Gatorade sweat must be damaging those speakers, anyway.
Play catch up on all of this season's Drives to Victory: