Grade vs. Vikings: A
Comment: Robert Griffin III and Co. got off to a sluggish start Sunday, producing a three-and-out and an interception on the first two drives, respectively.
The next four drives, however, each resulted in points as the Redskins opened a 24-9 lead they would not relinquish.
A week after being sidelined by a concussion, Griffin responded with a performance he called the most complete of his young career. The rookie accounted for three touchdowns – one in the air and two rushing. In all, he amassed 320 yards of total offense, including an electrifying 76-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Griffin was the star, but he received plenty of help from a supporting cast that was minus injured wide receiver Pierre Garçon (right foot).
Left tackle Trent Williams did an admirable job slowing four-time Pro Bowl end Jared Allen (one sack), Santana Moss (four catches for 46 yards) helped offset Garçon’s absence and Josh Morgan threw a key block on Griffin’s victory clinching scoring sprint.
The coaching staff's game plan also derserves praise. The Redskins returned to the triple option, and that, combined with Griffin gaining chunks of yards on designed runs, kept the Vikings’ vaunted defense off balance all afternoon.
“Anytime people have to account for a quarterback you can put in a number of positions, it presents a problem for a defense,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. "If you always know where a quarterback is at, obviously you can isolate on that one position. If a quarterback is able to roll out, possibly run an option or drop back and pass, there’s some question where he’ll be.”
The only concern on the offensive side of the ball was Alfred Morris’ production. Although the rookie scored, he was limited to 47 yards on 16 carries (2.9 yards per carry.) In the season’s first five games, Morris averaged 98.2 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry.
A year ago, the Redskins' anemic offense average 18 points per game. Now, it ranks among the elite thanks, in large part, to Griffin's versatility. In fact, the unit currently is tied for third in points per game (29.7) with the Giants, next Sunday’s opponent.