Washington Redskins defeat the Minnesota Vikings: Five Reasons Why
Robert Griffin III leads the Washington Redskins' offense.
During the Washington Redskins’ Week Six game against the Minnesota Vikings, quarterback Robert Griffin III showed absolutely no effects of the concussion he suffered Week Five against the Atlanta Falcons. In fact, he did exactly what Washington expected him to do when they selected him with the second overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft.
The Redskins have lost eight home games in a row. Considering that the Vikings have All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson, as well as prolific wide receiver/punt returner Percy Harvin, a ninth straight home loss was on the horizon for the Washington Redskins.
However, Griffin III has given the Redskins’ offense a swagger that has been missing for many years. Even when Washington is buried deep in their own territory, I never got the feeling that the offense would go three and out with Griffin III under center. He is an exciting player who is a threat to make something happen every time he touches the ball.
Spreading the ball around was very important for the Washington offense. Any receiver out on a route can get the ball at any time. Washington head coach Mike Shanahan and his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, has an extensive playbook filled with plays that utilizes the immense talent of Griffin III. They run option plays, as well as wide receiver reverses in an effort to confuse the defense.
Thus far, the Shanahans’ efforts have worked. The Redskins’ offense currently averages around 30 points a game. During the 2011 NFL season, Washington would be lucky if their offense averaged 30 points a month. The efficient manner in which the Redskins’ offense operated against a good Minnesota defense is testament to the talents of Robert Griffin III.
What concussion? Griffin III knocks out Vikings’ defense.
To watch the man nicknamed “RG3” operate against a Minnesota defense that contains All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen, as well as former All-Pro cornerback Antoine Winfield was nothing short of masterful. Washington Redskins’ fans everywhere jumped to their feet when Griffin III sprinted down the sideline on his 76 yard touchdown run.
He pulled away from the pursuing defender as if the defender was running in quicksand. Griffin III high stepped all the way to the end zone, leaping into a throng of adoring Redskins’ fans. If that’s the way Griffin III plays after a concussion, there may be a scant few fans that hope he has another concussion.
Don’t worry Washington Redskins’ fans. I am not suggesting that Griffin III sustain another concussion. His return to the starting lineup energized the entire Redskins’ team. It also reinforces how special Griffin III truly is.
The Washington Redskins’ offensive line handles things up front.
For Griffin III to be able to do what he does, it all starts up front. Washington ranks second in the NFL in rushing yards, with Griffin III contributing greatly to that total. The front five of Trent Williams , Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, and Tyler Polumbus deserve all of the credit for Washington’s potency in the running game.
The Vikings posed a tough test for the offensive line, with perennial All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen looking for his shot at Washington’s star quarterback. Although Allen recorded one sack of Griffin III, he did not wreck the havoc that he built his All-Pro career on against the sometimes maligned Redskins’ offensive line. This is one of the reasons why Washington was victorious over Minnesota.
Griffin III spread the wealth in the passing game.
Washington Redskins’ wide receiver Pierre Garcon missed another game due to injury. It’ll be hard for Griffin III and Garcon to develop the type of chemistry necessary between quarterback and receiver to succeed if Garcon can’t get on the field.
Undeterred, Griffin III threw the ball to a myriad of receivers against the Vikings. Wide receivers Santana Moss (above), Josh Morgan, and Leonard Hankerson, as well as tight end Fred Davis, averaged over ten yards per reception. Their receptions either converted first downs to sustain drives, or made long yardage downs more manageable. That takes pressure off a Washington defense that won’t remind longtime NFL fans of the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Washington Redskins’ defense remains opportunistic.
An opportunistic defense remains a young quarterback’s best friend. The Redskins’ defense forced three turnovers, with two of them leading directly to fourteen points. One of the turnovers was a fumble recovery by unheralded Washington linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (above, middle).
They contained Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson, who wasn’t afforded the opportunity to burst through Washington’s front line for any substantial yardage. Washington also recorded four sacks of Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder, exhibiting much needed improvement in Washington’s pass rush.
Vikings’ wide receiver Percy Harvin was a non-factor. He did record over 100 yards receiving. But he never was able to use his speed to get by the Washington secondary, who kept Harvin in front of them. The Redskins maintained a sizable advantage on the scoreboard. With the way Griffin III was leading the offense, the defense had the confidence to play with poise and maintain the lead.
Washington Redskins’ placekicking game brings clarity.
Washington signed placekicker Kai Forbath (above, right) before the Week Six game against Minnesota. He made his only field goal, a fifty yard attempt, during the first quarter. Preceding the kick, the Vikings were moving the ball efficiently against a Redskins’ defense whose difficulties stopping opposing offenses were well documented. Considering Washington’s recent issues with field goal kickers, Forbath needed to make that long range field goal to not only build momentum for the Redskins, but to gain some self confidence in his first NFL regular season game.
Washington has played in many close games this season. Most likely, they’ll play in a few more this season. While Forbath did not figure prominently in the game, Redskins’ fans hope his first game will give him the confidence necessary to perform in a more pressure packed situation.