Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and his Seattle Seahawks counterpart Russell Wilson made plays at precisely the same time on Sunday to win their games. Griffin III did it on the east coast with his legs against the Minnesota Vikings. Wilson used his arm out west to beat the New England Patriots.
With time running out in Washington and his team up five, Griffin III was trying to run out the clock. All the Redskins needed were a couple of first downs to wrap up the victory. Washington head coach Mike Shanahan had no thought of throwing the ball.
Griffin III took the snap on third down and tucked it under his arm. He sprinted up the middle then headed left. Griffin III beat the Minnesota defense to the corner and headed up the sideline. He turned on the jets and left everyone behind going 78 yards for the clinching touchdown. When Griffin III reached the end zone he did a Lambeau Leap into the crowd.
At precisely the same time that Griffin III was running down the sideline Wilson took the snap out in Seattle. He calmly rolled right, set up and threw a bomb down the middle to wide receiver Sidney Rice. When Griffin III leaped into the stands Rice made a diving catch in the end zone. It tied the score at 23 and an extra point later Seattle led 24-23.
Seeing these two plays almost simultaneously was electrifying. Here were two rookie quarterbacks making magic right in front of our eyes. One, Griffin III, was expected to make plays this year while the other, Wilson, wasn’t expected to play at all. Today they pulled off victories against teams leading their divisions in the Vikings and Patriots.
When the ball was snapped in both Washington and Seattle, there was nothing that suggested big plays were about to take place. The Redskins were simply trying to get a first down to run out the clock. The Seahawks were trying to get in position to score a touchdown, but no one expected Wilson to take a deep shot against New England. Bill Belichick defenses just don’t allow rookies to beat them this way.
Then Griffin III got outside and turned up field while Wilson set up to throw. Down the field RG3 went as Wilson cut loose. It was a race to the end zone and Griffin III outran the ball. Wilson’s pass may have been a split second behind, but arrived right on time for Seattle.
In 40 years of watching NFL football I’ve never seen anything like it. Two rookie quarterbacks put teams on their shoulders in two different games at the same time. One did it on the east and the other out west.
Griffin III and Wilson gave anyone who saw what they did a moment for the ages.