LANDOVER, Md. - The Washington Redskins lost rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III to a sprained right knee late in the fourth quarter but still rallied to beat the Baltimore Ravens 31-28 in overtime on Sunday at FedEx Field.
Kai Forbath's 34-yard field goal 3:23 into overtime was the game-winner and came three plays after rookie Richard Crawford's 64-yard punt return. Kirk Cousins, subbing for fellow rookie Griffin, had forced overtime with an 11-yard touchdown pass to receiver Pierre Garcon and a 2-point conversion run with 29 seconds remaining in regulation.
"Sometimes you just kind of get on a roll, and right now we're just rolling," said co-captain London Fletcher, one of just six Redskins left from the previous Washington team to win four in a row back in 2008.
By matching that streak, Washington improved to 7-6 as it heads to Cleveland next week while dealing Baltimore (9-4) a second straight loss for the first time in three years heading into next week's visit from AFC West champion Denver.
"It's a hard pill to swallow," said Courtney Upshaw, who started in place of Ravens Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who tore his right biceps last Sunday. "But we're still in the hunt."
Indeed, the Ravens are still in great shape to make the playoffs for the fifth time in coach John Harbaugh's five seasons, because Pittsburgh and Cincinnati also lost, maintaining the Ravens' two-game lead in the AFC North with just three games to play.
"It's always tough to lose when you have games won, but we still have a bright future," said running back Ray Rice, whose seven-yard touchdown run with 4:47 to go gave Baltimore a 28-20 lead.
The 37-year-old Fletcher helped fuel the Redskins' comeback with an interception late in the third quarter at the Washington 13-yard line with Baltimore on the verge of extending its 21-17 advantage.
However, the other critical plays were made by neophytes: seventh-round draft pick Crawford, subbing for Brandon Banks after not playing for six games; fourth-rounder Cousins, whose only previous action came in relief of the concussed Griffin in Week 5; and first-year kicker Forbath, who improved to 13-of-13 in his eight games since replacing ex-Raven Billy Cundiff.
Fellow newcomer Griffin, who missed most of his sophomore season at Baylor with a torn right ACL, said this injury doesn't feel similar.
"[The doctors and trainers] told me that my ligaments all feel good, that my ACL looked good," said Griffin, who was hurt when tackled by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata on a scramble with 1:42 left in regulation.. "I feel pretty good right now about the whole situation, but I'll definitely be praying during [Sunday night's] MRI. As soon I got hit, I screamed - like a man, of course. I told 'em, 'Just get me to the sideline and I'm coming back in the next play.' I knew I wasn't myself, but I felt I could still help the team win. But after I planted [on the fourth play after he returned following a mandatory one-play break], I knew I had to get out. At some point, you have to do what's right for the team. If I had played the rest of that game, I probably would've hurt myself even more."
Griffin (15-of-26, 246 yards) had put Washington ahead 7-0 with a four-yard touchdown toss to receiver Josh Morgan that finished a 10-play, 80-yard march on which rookie running back Alfred Morris carried five times for 46 yards and Garcon caught two balls for 37 yards.
Rice responded with three runs for 63 yards before Joe Flacco and receiver Anquan Boldin teamed for the first of their two touchdowns, a 19-yard score.
Santana Moss jump-started Washington's ensuing possession with a 31-yard catch-and-run. Fellow receiver Leonard Hankerson got free over the middle three plays later for a 29-yard grab that happened two plays before Morgan bulled 21 yards to the Baltimore 1. Morris (23 carries, 122 yards) scored on the next play.
Flacco's 31-yard touchdown pass to Boldin tied the game again and three plays after Morris fumbled at his own 23, Flacco (16-of-21, 182 yards, three touchdowns) found tight end Dennis Pitta for a 21-14 Ravens lead with 8:39 left in the second quarter.
Outside linebacker Rob Jackson stripped Flacco and recovered the ball at the Baltimore 46 just 3:08 into the third quarter. Morris ran three times for 26 yards to set up Forbath's 48-yard field goal.