How important is it for the Redskins to be 1-3?
Game Recap: The Raiders didn’t have their starting quarterback and lost their star running back early in the second half.
And the Redskins still struggled to pull out a victory at O.co Coliseum. But Robert Griffin III and Co. made just enough plays in the second half to escape with a 24-14 victory and breathe life back into their season.
At 1-3, the Redskins still have much work to do. But they can now head into the bye week savoring a season-saving victory.
The afternoon couldn't have gotten off to a more discouraging start for the visitors.
On Washington’s second possession, Sav Rocca had a punt blocked by Rashad Jennings. The ball was recovered by Jeremy Stewart in the end zone for an early 7-0 lead. Jennings used a simple stunt to beat Perry Riley and gain a clear path to Rocca.
Seven minutes later, the Raiders had a 14-0 lead and the Redskins’ season was on life support.
But that’s all the magic Matt Flynn and the Raiders could muster against a maligned defense that came alive right on cue. Flynn started in place of Terrelle Pryor, who was sidelined with a concussion.
Rookie cornerback David Amerson returned an interception 45-yards for a touchdown that pulled the visitors to within 14-10 early in the second quarter. After allowing the Raiders to convert 4 of 5 third downs to start the game, the Redskins snuffed out the next four as they seized control.
In the third quarter, Washington got exactly what it needed. First, Raiders’ running back Darren McFadden went out with a hamstring injury. Then, the Redskins’ star tailback went off.
Alfred Morris carried the Redskins deep into the Oakland territory and then Griffin (18-of-27, 227 yards, TD) hit Pierre Garçon for a five-yard touchdown that put the Redskins ahead 17-14.
Then the game took two critical turns. Roy Helu Jr. fumbled in the fourth quarter, but the play was reversed because of defensive offsides. The Raiders would have had the ball inside the Redskins’ 30-yard line.
Moments later, Ryan Kerrigan recorded a sack and forced fumble on Flynn. The ball was recovered by Barry Cofield and Helu punched the ball in from 14 yards out to put the Redskins ahead 24-14.
Key Moment: Amerson’s interception return in the second quarter. The Redskins were trailing 14-3 when the rookie cornerback stepped in front of a Matt Flynn pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown that sent the Redskins’ into halftime behind a much more manageable 14-10. It was the first of what the Redskins hope will be many interceptions for the playmaking rookie. It also marked the Redskins’ third defensive score of the season and second straight week the unit returned an interception for a touchdown.
Player of the Game: Cofield, who has been playing with a broken right hand, had a career-best two sacks and the pivotal fumble recovery in the fourth quarter.
Injury Update: Alfred Morris (71 yards on 16 carries) left the game in the second half with what the team described a rib contusion. Morris had played an integral role on the third quarter scoring drive that put the Redskins ahead 17-14, gaining 29 yards on four carries. The second-year running back suffered the rib injury on his final run on that drive, a 9-yarder that set up the Redskins at the Oakland three-yard line.
Kai Forbath missed his third straight game because of a groin muscle strain, leaving kickoff and field goal duty to John Potter. Forbath now has until Oct. 13 in Dallas to get healthy.
Tight end Jordan Reed missed the game with a bruised quad muscle. Although the rookie had been hopeful of not being sidelined, he did not attempt to test the leg out pre-game.
From the Locker Room:
-Coach Mike Shanahan said Morris’ ribs were sore but he didn’t suffer any breaks. Morris did not speak to reporters but looked considerably stiff as he ambled toward the team bus.
-Logan Paulsen was wearing a bulky brace on his left knee. The tight end said he’s scheduled to see the doctor on Monday morning and is hoping for “great” news.
-Cofield on the Redskins’ seven sacks: “We feel like we can pin our ears back against anybody. We have a great pass rush. Secondary did a great job forcing Flynn to work through his reads and when we’re in that situation, we feel like we can get after anybody.”
-Helu, a native of Danville, Calif., said he had 50 friends and family members in the crowd. He also said his fourth quarter fumble (that was negated by a defensive penalty) might not have been a fumble after all. “I don’t know if I fumbled. No I’m serious. I don’t know if it was a catch or not,” he said with a laugh. “Because of the offsides, it didn’t matter. So we’ll go with that.”
-Riley on missed assignment on blocked punt: “That was my fault. What they did was an outside twist stunt. It was my fault totally. Good call on them, bad play on me. No excuse for it.”
-Brian Orakpo (two sacks) on the pivotal win: “We haven’t done anything yet. You have to be happy about this win. But we have to come back [from the bye] focused. This is something to build [on]. It’s progress.”
-Amerson on his interception: “It felt good. It was a like a dream come true, to get your first interception and have it be a pick-six. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”