Redskins rally to beat Raiders

Eric Gilmore, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Washington Redskins entered their game Sunday against the Oakland Raiders with an 0-3 record, and, by late in the first quarter, they had already dug themselves a 14-0 hole.
"I don't think anybody was down," Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III said. "I think the leaders on the team, it was our job to make sure guys know we've got to fight. We can't turn over.
"I think we got a lot of brothers on this team and everybody sticks together, and that's what we did when we were down 14-0, and that's what we've got to do the rest of the season."
Instead of folding, the Redskins roared back to score 24 unanswered points to beat the Raiders 24-14 and record their first victory of the season.
Griffin passed for 227 yards and a touchdown, completing 18 of 31 passes. Alfred Morris rushed for 71 yards on 16 carries before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a rib contusion, and backup Roy Helu Jr. carried 11 times for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Washington's defense came into the game ranked last in the league, giving up 488 yards per game. The Redskins held the Raiders to 298 yards, forced three turnovers and sacked quarterback Matt Flynn seven times.
"No disrespect to Oakland -- I think Oakland's one of the most underrated teams in the league -- but we refused to go home and get on a plane with a loss," said Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo, who had two sacks and four tackles and broke up two passes. "That's something we emphasized. We're still in the race, it's still early and guys came out here and played with a lot of passion and a lot of intensity. Regardless of all the adversity we faced in the first half, we came back and just stuck in there, hung in there. I can only speak for the defense, but defensively we really did a phenomenal job."
Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter Monday night against Denver, was inactive Sunday. Pryor was cleared to play Friday, and, according to multiple reports Saturday night, was expected to start. But the Raiders apparently switched gears Sunday.
Flynn made his first start of the season and first overall since Jan. 1, 2012, against Detroit when he was Aaron Rodgers' backup with the Green Bay Packers. Flynn completed 31 of 44 passes for 480 yards and six touchdowns with one interception that day, a performance that helped him secure a huge contract with the Seattle Seahawks in 2012.
This time, Flynn wasn't nearly so sharp. He completed 21 of 32 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown. But he threw an interception that rookie cornerback David Amerson returned 45 yards for a touchdown. Flynn also lost two fumbles and was repeatedly booed by Raiders fans in the second half.
"I felt fine," Flynn said. "We just didn't do the things we needed to do, and it started with me."
The Raiders had a chance to pull to .500 but fell to 1-3 after blowing their big early lead.
"I look at it as we played well, I guess, in spurts," Raiders safety Charles Woodson said. "We played some dominant football at times, but you've got to be dominant all the time, so we allowed a couple of touchdowns and a couple of times they came out in a hurry-up offense and we weren't able to get off the field, and we've got to be able to do that. We played well at times, but it wasn't a full game where we did what we needed to do."
The Raiders built a 14-10 halftime lead, but Washington moved ahead for the first time, 17-14, on Griffin's 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon with 2:58 left in the third quarter.
The go-ahead score came after Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed a field goal attempt from 52 yards. The Redskins then marched 58 yards in eight plays to take the lead. Garcon beat rookie cornerback DJ Hayden's man-to-man coverage with a quick inside move, and Griffin hit him with a strike.
The Raiders grabbed a quick 7-0 lead, thanks to their defense, which forced a punt deep in Redskins territory, and their special teams. Rashad Jennings blocked Sav Rocca's punt in the end zone, and Jeremy Stewart recovered for a touchdown with 10:40 still left in the first quarter. It was the first time the Raiders had blocked a punt since tight end Brandon Myers blocked one on Oct. 10, 2010, against the Chargers.
The Raiders doubled their lead to 14-0 on Flynn's first touchdown pass as a Raider, an 18-yard dart to rookie tight end Mychal Rivera, who made his first career touchdown grab, capping a 10-play, 81-yard drive.
"We started out pretty well," Flynn said. "It was a good drive. We were executing, doing the things we needed to do. They made the adjustments on defense. After that we just weren't converting third downs, and that was obviously a big issue."
The Redskins answered with 10 straight second-quarter points. Using a hurry-up offense, Washington marched 73 yards in 11 plays, setting up John Potter's 25-yard field goal. That cut Oakland's lead to 10-3 with 14:23 left in the first half.
Moments later, the Redskins' defense found an even quicker way to score. Amerson stepped in front of a Flynn pass for an interception and raced 45 yards for a touchdown, cutting Oakland's lead to 14-10 with 10:59 left in the first half.
Flynn tried to hit wide receiver Denarius Moore on a quick out on the right side, and Amerson cut in front for his first career interception, then outran Moore to the end zone.
"I knew he was going to do an over route, so I was just making sure I was close to the receiver, and I was able to get a step on him and step right in front of him," Amerson said.
NOTES: Raiders fullback Marcel Reece suffered a knee injury in the first half and did not return to the game. ... Raiders running back Darren McFadden suffered a hamstring injury in the first half and did not return. ... Redskins wide receiver Joshua Morgan suffered a right hamstring injury early in the second quarter while covering a kickoff and walked slowly off the field after being examined by the team's medical staff but returned to action. ... Redskins nose tackle Chris Neild suffered a right calf strain midway through the second quarter and limped off the field. He did not return. ... Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall limped off the field after being injured late in the first half but returned in the second. ... Washington rookie tight end Jordan Reed was on the inactive list with a bruised thigh. Reed, a third-round draft pick out of Florida, has 13 catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. ... Veteran tight end Fred Davis suited up after missing one game with a sprained ankle, but Logan Paulsen started for the Redskins. ... Redskins kicker Kai Forbath (groin) was inactive for the third straight game. Potter filled in again. ... Raiders starting defensive left end Jason Hunter (quad) was inactive. Brian Sanford started for Hunter. ... Three other Raiders starters, in addition to Pryor, were inactive: offensive left tackle Menelik Watson (knee), left guard Lucas Nix (ankle) and strong safety Tyvon Branch (ankle). Brandian Ross started for Branch. Andre Gurode started for Nix, while right tackle Khalif Barnes moved to left tackle, and Tony Pashos started at right tackle.

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