Without any question or without a doubt—a win is a win in the NFL. In the case of the Washington Redskins' 31-28 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14, a win could be a loss to the 'Skins in the long run if the knee injury sustained by rookie QB Robert Griffin III is significant.
The Redskins' rookie QB sustained a hit with less than one minute remaining in the game that caused him to leave the game. The 'Skins were driving and trying to score to tie the game. An attempt to return to the game by RG3, limping and favoring his right knee, was futile. QB Kirk Cousin led the 'Skins to a touchdown and two point conversion to send it the game to overtime.
RG3 said after the game his knee was sore and he would await the results of an MRI before determining the severity of the injury.
QB Kirk Cousins, who had only played in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons this season, entered the game with statistics that were less than promising. As a rookie quarterback Cousins had only 11 passes on the season—five completions including a 77-yard TD and two interceptions. He would not be deterred.
Cousins connected with WR Pierre Garcon for an 11-yard TD with :36 remaining in the game. He then ran the ball into the end zone for the 'Skins first two-point conversion of the year, sending the game to overtime.
After the Ravens' unsuccessful possession in OT resulted in a punt, 'Skins CB Richard Crawford fielded the punt from the 'Skins 12 yard line and burst through the special teams coverage for a 64-yard return.
With the ball on the Ravens' 24 yard line, the 'Skins ran a few plays to have the ball in place as kicker Kai Forbath connected on a 34-yard game-winning field goal. Forbath went 3-for-3 in the game and has not missed a field goal for the 'Skins all year.
The Redskins move to 7-6 and have a four-game winning streak. There are a few lessons learned from the game that certainly are noteworthy.
1. Redskins' QB Robert Griffin III needs to realize that when he scrambles or is in the open field he is putting himself in harms way. On a run and subsequent tackle that was not illegal, questionable or out of the ordinary—he is putting a young career in jeopardy when he's not in a passing situation away from the protected pocket.
2. Redskins' RB Alfred Morris continued his eye-opening rushing season as he gained 122 yards on 23 carries, one touchdown and a fumble which was recovered by the Ravens. The fumble was Morris' fourth on the season.
Morris' rushing total (122 yards) is the sixth 100-plus yard rushing game this year. He continues to carry a significant portion of the 'Skins total offense and he has been instrumental during the four-game winning streak.
3. Ravens' RB Ray Rice finished the game with 20 carries and 121 yards. Rice is only the third player this season to surpass the 100-plus yard mark rushing against the Redskins this year. The Ravens' team rushed for 176 yards; 70-plus yards more than the top-ranked Redskins defense in rushing yards allowed per game.
4. Redskins' QB Kirk Cousins entered the game and immediately proved he was worth the fourth-round draft pick when the 'Skins selected him in 2012. He continued the momentum left on the field following RG3's injury and certainly made a mark in the come-from-behind win for the 'Skins. He showed no sign of uncertainty, nervousness or lack of playing time in his stand in role for RG3.
Conclusion. It has been said that the Redskins are not a playoff caliber team nor a contender this season. Wrong. The Redskins have turned their second half of season into a winning streak with prospects of winning out and capturing the NFC East.
The re-energized and re-focused team have turned fair weather fans, skeptics and haters into believers. NFL analysts, commentators and announcers note they are the team to watch come playoff time.
With remaining games against the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys the once 3-6 Redskins could quickly become the team to beat come playoff time. Based on their continued determination, will to win and limited mistakes on the field the Redskins should be around for their first postseason appearance since the 2005-06 season.
***Statistical information provided by NFL.com***
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