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RG3, Redskins glad to take ugly win over Raiders

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It wasn’t pretty and it was closer than the final score looked but the Redskins surely don’t care. They got their first win of 2013 by rallying from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to beat the Raiders 24-14. They don’t care that the Raiders played their backup quarterback as Terrelle Pryor missed the game with a concussion and that starting running back Darren McFadden left the game very early with a hamstring strain.

“We had to do whatever it takes to come out of this 1-3 going into the bye week,” said quarterback Robert Griffin III. Like the game, Griffin’s performance was not a thing of beauty. Some passes were off target, he made a few key mistakes, and he still doesn’t seem to have his scrambling legs under him. But he made some plays when he had to and he helped the Redskins rally.

For the first time this year, Griffin did not throw an interception. His final stat line was 18 for 31 for 227 yards with one touchdown and a passer rating of 91.7. Griffin gained 10 yards rushing on three carries. It was the first time in four games this season that Griffin did not throw for more than 300 yards. It is not a coincidence that this was the Redskins’ first win of the year. The offense works best with a balance of passes and runs. They achieved that today with 32 pass plays and 32 runs.

His most highlight-worthy play came midway through the fourth quarter with the Redskins clinging to a 17-14 lead. The Redskins had just recovered a Matt Flynn fumble on the Oakland 42. On first down Griffin dropped back, looked deep, found nothing, stepped up, executed a spin move, rolled right and hit Roy Helu Jr. in stride about 10 yards downfield. Helu contributed to the highlight quality of the play by hurdling over a would-be tackler and getting a few more yards down to the 14.

It turns out the play involved some improvisation by both Griffin and Helu. “[I] talked to the offensive line, asked them to give me a little time because we had a deep concept going. I came out of it,” said Griffin. “No. 1 and 2 (his first and second options) weren’t there so I had to pull it down and try to get to No. 4.

“They did a good job holding up on the play and then Helu actually did a great job running an off-schedule route as well. You get out that, the backside corner blitzed, that’s what made me have to step up and move out of it. Then I rolled out and got it to Helu.” On the next play Helu dashed up the middle into the end zone to give the Redskins some breathing room.

After the Raiders initially took command of the game by scoring one touchdown on a blocked punt and another on Flynn’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Mychal Rivera, the Redskins started to climb back into it. They got the offense moving by going no-huddle on a drive that got the Redskins on the board. After the Redskins moved to second and goal at the Raiders four, Griffin made one of his errors. Facing pass rush pressure up the middle, he just heaved the ball away and was flagged for intentional grounding. The Redskins had to settle for a 25-yard John Potter field goal.

“It’s just to give you a little spark,” Griffin said of the no-huddle attack. “It caught them off guard. It’s a curve ball you can give them every now and then.” The next points came courtesy of the Redskins’ defense. David Amerson picked off a Flynn pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown and all of a sudden it was 14-10.

The two teams then reverted to what may have been good defense but probably was inefficient offense until midway through the third quarter. After Sebastian Janikowski missed a field goal, the Redskins took over on their own 42. In a drive that was some Alfred Morris running (3 carries for 29 yards and some Griffin passing (3 of 4 for 26 yards), the Redskins moved in. The payoff came on a quick third-down dart to Pierre Garçon, who made the catch and fell into the end zone.

That gave the Redskins their first second-half lead of the season at 17-14. The defense did the rest, stopping Flynn on an attempted quarterback sneak on fourth and inches to snuff out the Raiders’ last threat.

- Rich Tandler, CSN Washington, Real Redskins

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