The rookie quarterback was sharp, completing 77 percent of his passes. In rushing for a game-high 138 yards and two touchdowns, he also showed no reluctance running the ball after the concussion he suffered in last week’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Griffin promised his family, teammates and coaches he would no longer take unnecessary chances. True to his word, Griffin ran out of bounds Sunday, instead of trying to gain a few extra yards, whenever the defense closed in on him.
Griffin was at his most effective when the Redskins lined up as if they were going to run a quarterback option; the Vikings’ defense often seemed confused about whether to attack Griffin or running back Alfred Morris.
Again without injured wide receiver Pierre Garcon, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan effectively relied on tight end Fred Davis and veteran wide receiver Santana Moss to create matchup problems for the Vikings’ secondary.
The offensive game plan and play-calling were a plus for the Redskins.
On defense, the Redskins had more good moments than bad despite giving up 421 yards.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder passed for 352 yards but the Redskins also picked off two of his throws. Safety Madieu Williams’s 24-yard interception return was the Redskins’ fourth defensive touchdown this season. The Redskins have 14 takeaways in the first six weeks. Last season, they had 21.
In another encouraging early development, the defense held the Vikings to three short field goals on their first three drives. The offense wasn’t doing much early and the defense kept Washington in the game. The defense did, however, experience another late-game letdown.
Griffin’s big comeback was the Redskins’ best news. Let’s examine how the Redskins helped him make it happen.
In a groove on offense
After watching Griffin get banged around like a piñata, Coach Mike Shanahan and his son Kyle scaled back on designed runs in the previous two games. But the offense is at its best when Griffin runs, or hands off to Morris, out of option formations.
In relying heavily on option plays again Sunday, the Shanahans trusted Griffin not only to make the right decisions with the football, but also with his body. Essentially, the three had this understanding: If presented with a choice between gaining an extra yard and getting crushed or going down, Griffin would hit the ground every time.