Robert Griffin III's Option Attack Almost Beats Giants

4:31 PM, Oct 21, 2012   |    comments
Griffin is still on pace for 1,070 rush yards in 2012. (US Presswire)
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Should you be devastated as a Redskins fan? Not at all. Read my take on Washington's 27-23 loss to the New York Giants, arguably the best team in the NFL.

1) Have you ever been that excited during a Redskins game?

This loss will sting Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. RGIII's talent and mindset honestly has his team believing they are now competitive enough to win every game they play. Washington has proved throughout the entire 2012 season they are finally no longer an easy win. All four of their losses are by a touchdown or less. And each loss has come down to the final minute. With some more experience, these close games are one recipe for how successful football teams are built.

The superhuman Griffin did everything in his willpower to ensure Washington had a chance to win the game. He threw for 258 yards on 20-for-28 attempts and notably rushed for 89 yards on nine carries.

It's the individual plays that'll stand out the most about Griffin's day, which will be considered a failure in his eyes. The three fourth quarter fourth down conversions -- especially the 4th and 10 where bobbed and weaved around the pass rush like a snow skier, finding tight end Logan Paulsen for 19-yards -- are football plays Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning make, not something a 22-year-old is already supposed to be able to do. Later on in that drive Griffin galloped for 24-yards down the sidelines before he launched a an MVP-caliber touch pass to Santana Moss for a 30-yard touchdown.

Hang in there Redskins fans. More exciting games, with finishes you'll like better, are coming in the future.  

2) The Redskins could make the playoffs if they had an average defense

Eli Manning had a below average game by his standards (26-for-40, 337 yards, one game-winning touchdown, two interceptions) yet he was still able to hammer the Redskins secondary. The 77-yard touchdown to Victor Cruz was heartbreaking, but it wasn't an accident. Throwing the football is a pretty upfront way in torturing the Redskins. The last four Redskins opponents have thrown the ball at least 39 times, all with much success.

Some will say the Redskins didn't address the secondary woes because of the $35 million fine the NFL laid on the franchise. Fine, do that. But in a league where the best team's have elite quarterbacks and speedy receivers, ignoring your secondary will cost you wins. The front seven didn't help much either. Manning was sacked just once, and often looked like a statue in the pocket due to the lack of pressure.

Hindsight is obviously 20/20, but you wonder if the 'Skins front office brass could do it over again, would they have pursued an upper echelon cornerback over Pierre Garcon? Or even using draft picks higher than the seventh round on secondary help.

3) Washington was due for a sloppy game

The Redskins 3-3 record was largely that good because of the team's ability to protect the football -- just five turnovers in the first six games was phenomenal for a rookie lead offense. Sunday in the Meadowlands, that streak crashed and burst into flames. In the second half alone, Mike Shanahan's dynamic backfield rookie duo coughed the football three times, and Santana Moss' fumble sealed his team's fate with under a minute to play.

And, still, despite all these offensive gaffes, Washington had the ball with a chance to win the game at the end. It's quite reassuring for the Shanahan's that their offense didn't unravel after several would-be disastrous plays.

4) The option was the most effective it has been all season against one of the best defensive line's in the entire NFL

I will tweet out the total number of pistol plays later in the evening when I re-watch the game tape, but the amount the Redskins relied on the option fake was borderline obsessive. For the most part, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan called an undeniable gem of a game. Washington finished the day with 248 yards rushing on 38 carries -- good for 6.5 per play. Those are vindicating statistics to prove this "East Coast Offense" is working.

5) How much will the newest injuries hamper the team?

Logan Paulsen, four catches, 76 yards, had a career day following Fred Davis and his season ending Achilles tendon injury. But is he really the best option at the number one tight end spot? Reserve tight end Niles Paul looked abysmal in pass coverage situations. The Redskins may have to phone in a call to the bullpen and ask Chris Cooley for help. But will he be in tip-top shape?

As far as London Fletcher is concerned, this may be a blessing in disguise. The 37-year-old has noticeably been less impactful this season (an Ahmad Bradshaw run comes to mind from Sunday). It may give Perry Riley, and/or Keenan Robinson a chance to develop into a more important player for the Redskins future. 

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