Instant analysis: Redskins 38, Vikings 26

Instant analysis: Redskins 38, Vikings 26
October 14, 2012, 7:30 pm
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If there was any doubt about Robert Griffin III’s health, the Redskins’ rookie put those concerns to rest Sunday at FedEx Field.

Griffin, who suffered a concussion last week, returned to the lineup and engineered a 38-26 victory over the Vikings that snapped Washington’s NFL worst eight-game losing streak in Landover, a drought that stretched back more 13 months.

The quarterback also recorded the top highlight of his young career late in the fourth quarter of a game that had suddenly drawn close. With the Redskins’ 19-point second half lead whittled to 31-26, Griffin took a quarterback draw 76 yards for touchdown, his second of the day. The scintillating score not only brought fans out of their seats, it put the game out of the visitors’ reach.
 
More important than the electrifying run, though, Griffin appears to have returned to the Redskins’ lineup a more mature player.

Griffin elicited smart-alecky cheers in the first quarter when he scooted out of bounds on a scramble. Seven days ago, he might have attempted to turn up the field and, perhaps, left himself open to the type of big hit that knocked him from last week’s loss to the Falcons.

In the second quarter, Griffin tossed the ball away as he scrambled toward the sideline. He took a shot from Minnesota linebacker Erin Henderson anyway, then complained to a nearby official. A second later, the official threw a flag.

Lesson learned? Time will tell, but Griffin certainly exhibited a new wrinkle in his game: concern for his own well being without appearing overly cautious.

Griffin finished the game 17 of 22 for 182 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for a career-high 139 yards and a pair of scores. The two rushing touchdowns were his fifth and sixth, which gives him the most in a single season by Redskins’ quarterback – just six games into the campaign.

Early on, it appeared that they might be in for a long afternoon after yielding Vikings’ field goals on the visitors’ first three possessions of the game.

But they closed the first half on 17-0 run thanks to Griffin and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who recovered a Christian Ponder fumble at the Minnesota 6-yard line with 2:14 left in the second quarter. One play later, Griffin connected with fullback Darrel Young for a touchdown.
 
Griffin stretched the lead to 24-9 on the first drive of the third quarter with a 7-yard touchdown run. Then, early in the fourth quarter, safety Madieu Williams returned an interception 24 yards for a score that put the Redskins ahead 31-12. Williams’ touchdown was the fourth of the season for the Redskins, the unit’s most since 1999. The team also has 49 points on turnovers through six games – six more points than they accumulated all last season.

The Redskins’ new kicker, Kai Forbath, also got off to a promising start, booting a 50-yard field goal. It was the first of the 25-year-old’s career.

The victory was the Redskins’ first at FedEx Field since a 22-21 victory over the Cardinals on Sept. 18, 2011.