- Washington Redskins
- Robert Griffin III
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By Ira Miller, The Sports Xchange August 19, 2012 12:00 AM
CHICAGO -- The skills that led the Washington Redskins to select Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick in the NFL draft were clearly on display Saturday night, but it was just as clear that it's going to take considerably more than his deft ballhandling and mobility to revive a Washington franchise that has had only two winning seasons in the last dozen years. Offensive line inadequacies caused Griffin to be sacked three times in the first quarter, and only his legs prevented more damage. Meanwhile, when most of the regulars were playing, Washington's pass rush and its tackling also were inadequate. The Bears, who had been embarrassed 31-3 by Denver in their first exhibition game, dominated with the regulars, piling up 262 yards by halftime. Nonetheless, it took a 57-yard field goal by Robbie Gould with 31 seconds remaining to give Chicago a 33-31 victory after another rookie, fourth-round draft choice Kirk Cousins, threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes for the Redskins against Bears backups. Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler, making his first appearance of the summer, completed 7 of 13 passes for 122 yards, including a 41-yard bomb to Brandon Marshall, his former Denver teammate, on the Bears' first play from scrimmage. Backup running back Michael Bush, showing off some nifty moves, ran for the game's first two touchdowns. Griffin, who played less than one quarter in his preseason debut a week earlier -- when he completed 4 of 6 passes for 70 yards and the game's only touchdown -- played the entire first half this time. He completed 5 of 8 passes for 49 yards, lost a fumble for the second game in a row and was sacked three times. "I think we did a lot better (than last game)," said middle linebacker Nick Roach, playing for the (knee) injured Brian Urlacher for Chicago. "We got a lot of pressure on them, which was the goal." That all three sacks came in the first quarter -- while throwing just two passes -- only underlined a rocky start for Griffin. After two runs by sixth-round rookie Alfred Morris gained 27 yards on the first two plays, Griffin dropped back for his first pass. He locked in on a single receiver, even while scrambling, and eventually threw the ball away while being chased out of bounds -- but not before the Redskins were penalized for holding. This led to the first of several gaffes by the crew of "replacement" officials led by referee Jim Wintenberg. He marched off 17 yards for the 10-yard penalty. As it turned out, the Redskins gained only 74 more yards on 24 plays during the rest of the first half, while Griffin played. Griffin, however, did a nice job on the second series, throwing a 15-yard completion to Santana Moss on a third-and-3 bootleg. But on the third series, Griffin showed both the good and bad, scrambling to escape a safety blitz and then, carrying the ball loosely, getting it stripped and recovered by Chicago. The only Washington points with Griffin in the game came on a field goal following a 34-yard pass interference penalty called against Charles Tillman, who may have been guilty of something, but probably not interference since he and the receiver, Pierre Garcon, both were several yards out of bounds at the point of the foul. Later on that drive, Griffin hit a nifty 11-yard throw to Leonard Hankerson off a rollout and scrambled 14 yards around end after showing patience in the pocket on third-and-5. Washington made just five first downs on six possessions while Griffin was in the game, scoring its only touchdown on a 91-yard punt return by Brandon Banks. The Bears matched that when Lorenzo Booker returned the second-half kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown. Two Redskins defensive starters -- linebacker Brian Orakpo (shoulder) and safety Brandon Meriweather (knee) -- left the game with injuries during the first half.