The Washington Redskins pulled out a dramatic, come-from-behind, 31-28 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday at FedEx Field, a game in which Robert Griffin III exited after injuring his his knee late in the fourth quarter.
There was no shortage of heroes for the Redskins (7-6) as they made their once slim playoff hopes more realistic by winning their fourth straight game. Griffin, Kirk Cousins, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garçon and Richard Crawford all had stellar efforts for Washington. But one of the most important players Sunday was kicker Kai Forbath.
The rookie out of UCLA made all three field goals he attempted, including a 34-yarder for the game winner in overtime. Forbath is having one of the best seasons of any Redskins kicker ever, certainly one of the best in the last 30 years. He's made all 14 of his kicks this year, including seven between 40 and 50 yards.
Griffin had his usual strong game, throwing for 246 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. But late in the fourth quarter with the Redskins trailing by eight, RG3 scrambled and sustained a hit by Haloti Ngata that left thousands of fans in the stands and millions watching on TV holding their collective breath.
Cousins initially came in for just one one play. Then Griffin made it back for four plays, completing two passes before limping off in obvious pain with a sprained right knee.
“After I was already down, my leg got hit. It was a pretty painful experience,” Griffin said at a post-game press conference viewable at Redskins.com. “Prayerfully, I’ll be alright.”
After RGIII exited the game permanently, Cousins completed a 15-yard pass to Leonard Hankerson. Then with :29 on the clock, the rookie fourth-rounder out of Michigan State lofted an 11-yard touchdown to Garçon in the right corner of the end zone. With the Redskins trailing by two, Cousins ran the two-point conversion in himself to force overtime.
In the extra period, another rookie, Crawford, returned a punt 64 yards to set up the winning field goal.
Morris also had a good day against the Ravens, carrying the ball 23 times for 122 yards and a touchdown, although he did fumble once.
That makes five rookies – Griffin, Cousins, Morris, Crawford, and Forbath – who provided huge contributions to Washington’s improbable comeback win.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw three touchdowns in the first half, including two to Anquan Bolden, but the Redskins' bend-but-don’t-break defense held Baltimore (9-4) to just one touchdown in the second half.
Back to Forbath. The Redskins have lost games like this more often than not in the last 20 years because of a succession of mediocre kickers. Whether acquiring Forbath was luck or good personnel management, the Redskins can feel confident now anytime they are in a close game.
“I’m glad he’s on our football team, that’s for sure. He’s made everything,” said Redskins coach Mike Shanahan at a post-game press conference viewable at Redskins.com. “We gave him a game ball in front of the team and it doesn’t surprise me how he handles himself.”
Forbath is having the best season of any Redskins kicker since Mark Moseley won the NFL MVP award in 1982 after making 20-of-21 field goals during the Redskins’ first Super Bowl-winning season.
The NFC-East leading New York Giants (8-5) remained one game ahead of the Redskins with a 52-27 win over New Orleans Sunday.
Griffin said the injury does not feel like a torn anterior cruciate ligament, an injury he sustained his sophomore season at Baylor. However, that injury was on Griffin’s right knee, the same one that was injured against Baltimore. Tests revealed that he was right, and it is only a sprained knee (per NFL.com).