Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III had his fair share of run-ins with the St. Louis Rams defense in his first NFL loss in Week 2.
Repeated hits and bone-crushing tackles on the Redskins quarterback prompted RG3 to say after the game (via Redskins.com), "If teams want to get physical with us, or per se me, bring it on."
In doing so, did Griffin make himself a target of opponents' defenses?
Although RG3 was only sacked once against St. Louis, he rushed for two touchdowns on 11 carries, totaling 82 yards. However, once Griffin was on the move, the Rams defenders made sure that if he was going to bring his run game, they were going to make him remember the tackle and not the yards gained.
On several running plays by Griffin and subsequent tackles by St. Louis defenders, as well as hits on the quarterback after pass attempts, Griffin seemed a bit out of sorts and even slightly off as he regathered himself and made his way back to the huddle.
The St. Louis Rams celebrated every hit, tackle and lone sack made against Griffin throughout the game.
After the loss to St. Louis on the road, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan responded (via ESPN.com) to the overall physicality on display by the Rams defense throughout the game.
"Everybody is going to be physical in the NFL, but I thought the physical (play) went to a different level today. That wasn't a typical NFL game."
Two plays during the first half serve as examples of the overly aggressive style of play exhibited by the Rams defense.
On the Redskins' second drive of the game, RG3 scrambled out of the pocket for a 10-yard gain, only to be pushed forcibly out of bounds by Rams' defensive end Eugene Sims—prompting a 15-yard personal foul penalty against the Rams.
On what would be the Redskins' final drive of the first half on a 3rd-and-10 play, RG3 slashed through the middle for 15 yards only to get gang tackled by Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis and safety Craig Dahl. After some presumed trash talking and posturing by the Rams' defense, Griffin followed the next play with an interception.
With the brawn and bold rushing style displayed by Griffin throughout the early part of the Redskins' 2012 season, did RG3 merely put himself in the crosshairs of opponents' defensive players wanting to teach the Heisman Trophy winner a lesson should they try to "bring it" their way?
That much we don't know. What is known is that Griffin suffered a concussion a few weeks later against the Atlanta Falcons after trying to gain enough yardage on third down instead of ducking for safety out of bounds. Repeated similarities to Michael Vick and his injury-related scrambling began immediately.
Fast forward to the knee injury sustained by RG3 against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14 and the play in which he crumpled under his own weight in the NFC wild-card loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and we have a blueprint for a player's career ending far too early.
While Griffin recuperates from surgery on his right knee during the offseason, one thing is for certain: Robert Griffin III, even with his Superman socks, will not and cannot continue to play in the same manner he did in 2012 if he wants longevity in the NFL.
He has proved himself in his rookie year while garnering every major "Rookie of the Year" award, with the most distinguished AP/NFL announcement coming Feb. 2.