Robert Griffin III Will Turn Season Around with Big Game in Week 4
It's panic time in the nation's capital, but Robert Griffin III will lead the Washington Redskins to a victory over the Oakland Raiders and put the team back in contention.
Starting the season 0-3 was not what team expected after it made an impressive run to the postseason in Griffin's rookie season. The Redskins won the NFC East last year, but they have started off worse than anyone could have imagined.
Griffin looked rusty in the first two games, and the Redskins defense has been historically bad. Through three games, the defense has allowed 1,464 yards, more than any team had ever allowed. That puts them on pace to be worse than New Orleans' defense from a season ago.
Part of the reason the defense has been so bad is the offense's performance. It took the offense until the second quarter of their Week 3 matchup for the unit to score in the first 30 minutes of a game.
Even after the offense finally scored, the defense has still outscored the offense 14-7 in the first half this season.
Although the offense has struggled in the first half of games, Griffin has been good in the final two quarters of games. He has finished each game with anywhere from 320 to 329 yards, but he has also already thrown four interceptions this season after throwing only five all of last season.
Running back Alfred Morris has 225 yards and two scores this year, but the Redskins need Griffin to be able to run the ball when he can. He has only 15 attempts for 62 yards thus far, so he hasn't pushed the running game this season after having a second major knee injury.
Oakland's pass defense currently ranks third in the NFL, allowing only 180.5 yards per game through the air. That has been helped by its last opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will expose the Raiders defense on Monday night.
While his legs get a lot of attention, Griffin has the arm to torch the Raiders, and his receivers have done a good job of putting up quality numbers this season.
Pierre Garcon leads the team with 23 receptions for 280 yards and a score, Santana Moss has 172 yards with a touchdown and Leonard Hankerson has 136 yards and has found the end zone twice.
The prolific quarterback will be able to have his way with the Oakland defense. At 0-3. there will be a sense of urgency in Griffin. He knows that the season is virtually over with a loss, but after last season, he knows that all it takes is one win to start a huge winning streak.
Week 3 is coming to an end, so it's time to look at the big picture.
There's no denying how bad the team's start has been. Griffin has a chance to get the team its first win and make a run at the division. Getting a Wild Card is unlikely at this point, but the NFC East is still within reach.
As Mike Sando of ESPN.com (InsiderAccess required) noted, only three teams out of 115 have started a season 0-3 since 1990 have made the postseason. So you're saying there's a chance?
Indeed, there is still a slight chance that the Redskins can make the playoffs.
If they are going to make a run, it has to start this weekend. They were 3-6 last season and three games out heading into their bye week. The team ran off seven straight wins after its bye week to win the division.
Perhaps the biggest reason the Redskins are still in the race is because of their division. Dallas leads the NFC East at 2-1, Philadelphia is in second with a record of 1-2 and New York is tied for last at 0-3. The Cowboys are the only team to win a game outside of the division.
Can the Washington Redskins still make the playoffs despite starting the season 0-3?
The standings show that Washington is two games back of the Cowboys. However, the two teams have yet to meet head-to-head yet, so if the Redskins can sweep their rival for a second straight season, they will have made up the ground in just those two games.
Denver started last season 1-2 and went to 2-3 before running off 11 straight wins. Griffin is no Peyton Manning, but the Broncos didn't get off to a great start either last season and fought back. Coach Mike Shanahan needs to have his team focus on one game at a time and keep hope alive.
After a sensational rookie season, it would have been crazy to expect Griffin to be the same player that he was after his latest knee injury. However, the team now faces a must-win game in Week 4. Losing to the Raiders would be a bad sign, and there is no way that Griffin will let that happen.
Neither defense is great, so the best offense will win. Griffin has more talent around him and will lead his team to a victory.
Dallas has to go to San Diego for a tough game in Week 4, so it's very possible that the Redskins could be only one game out after four weeks.
Washington's season will be saved with a win on Sunday, and Griffin will do whatever it takes to get his team its first win.
*All stats are courtesy of NFL.com
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