The 5 Most Super Plays of Robert Griffin III's Career
The quarterback class of 2012 was one of the most dynamic in recent NFL history.
RGIII did not have much success in his second season, as he was slowed by recovery from ACL surgery and a bulky knee brace that limited him. The quarterback has vowed to shed that encumbrance as he prepares for the 2014 season.
A healthy RGIII promises to be an explosive performer. He demonstrated his talent with a series of eye-catching plays in his rookie season, and new Redskins coach Jay Gruden is a creative offensive mind who should be able to help the quarterback recapture his playmaking ability.
Here's a look at five of the most eye-catching plays in RGIII's first two seasons.
RGIII Says Hello to the NFL
It didn't take long for the No. 2 selection in the 2012 NFL draft to show the football world just what he was capable of doing.
The Redskins opened the 2012-13 season against the New Orleans Saints, and it seemed they would have to engage in a shootout if they wanted to get the best of Drew Brees and his teammates.
The Redskins were trailing 7-3 in the first quarter, and RGIII was not about to let the Saints run away from his team. On a 1st-and-10 play from the Washington 12-yard line, he dropped back and got excellent protection from his offensive line. RGIII took advantage of that blocking and stepped into a throw, where he found wide receiver Pierre Garcon over the middle and hit him in stride (video above).
Garcon got by the defense, quickly cut upfield and raced into the end zone past defensive back Patrick Robinson for an 88-yard TD pass. Griffin would thrown for 320 yards, two TDs and no interceptions, as he led the Redskins to a 40-32 victory.
It was a stellar debut that left Redskins fans wanting even more.
A Dangerous Running Man
As a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Baylor, RGIII was used to making big plays with his legs as well as his right arm.
While running quarterbacks eventually restrict their activity as they establish themselves in the NFL, RGIII had not read that part of the script when the Redskins hosted the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6 of the 2012 season.
The Vikings were trying to rally in the fourth quarter, and when Kyle Rudolph caught a one-yard TD pass from Christian Ponder, the Vikings were in position to catch Washington, as they trailed 31-26 with 3:36 to go.
RGIII did not have to lead the Redskins to a touchdown, but he did have to help them maintain possession. On a 3rd-and-6 play from the Washington 24-yard line (video above), RGIII dropped back in the pocket for an instant before seeing a huge crease up the middle.
He took off and quickly got up to full speed. He angled toward the sideline and then accelerated upfield. There would be no catching him, and RGIII would clinch the game for Washington with a 76-yard TD run.
Touch Pass to Santana Moss Burns Giants
Most rookie quarterbacks need time to develop the nuances of their game. Elements like arm strength, quick release and foot speed may be there from the start, but the ability to read defenses and throw the ball with touch take a bit longer to come to fruition.
RGIII demonstrated his ability to confound defenses and drop the ball into a perfect window for his receivers in a Week 7 road game against the New York Giants.
The Redskins trailed 20-16 with 1:32 remaining in the fourth quarter, but RGIII was fully prepared on a 3rd-and-6 play from the New York 30-yard line (video above). He read a Giants blitz, and the Washington offensive line gave him solid protection. RGIII spotted speedy Santana Moss running upfield against single coverage, and he dropped a high-arching pass over the receiver's inside shoulder for the go-ahead touchdown.
While the Giants would come back to win the game, RGIII showed his ability to lead a late drive and make the perfect touch pass in a late-game situation.
RGIII Surge Turns Cowboys into Turkeys
RGIII had enjoyed a scintillating rookie season, and when the Redskins rolled into Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, he had chance to put on a memorable show before a national audience.
The rookie quarterback was not about to let the homestanding Cowboys ruin his holiday. He put on perhaps his best performance of his rookie season when he completed 19 of 27 passes for 304 yards with four touchdowns.
One of those scoring passes was a 68-yard strike to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson (video above). On the play, RGIII used a play-action fake to freeze the Dallas secondary, and then he delivered a perfect ball to Robinson that the receiver caught easily before cruising into the end zone.
There would be no stopping of the rookie quarterback on this day, as the Redskins earned a memorable 38-31 victory.
Escape Act Helps Rally Redskins Against Birds
The 2013 season was a struggle for the Redskins and RGIII. Head coach Mike Shanahan's job was hanging in the balance throughout the majority of the season, and the atmosphere around Redskins Park was quite tense.
RGIII was rarely in top form, as he played while still recovering from the ACL surgery that closed out his rookie season. While he struggled regularly, he flashed his form at several points during the year.
One of those flashes came in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles. With Washington trailing 24-0 early in the fourth quarter, RGIII showed he was not about to give up. After taking the snap, he was quickly pressured by the Philadelphia defense.
RGIII escaped to his left (3:59 mark of video above) and sprinted toward the sideline. As he was running, he spotted fullback Darrel Young downfield, and he flicked his wrist and delivered the ball.
Young caught it, and two Eagles defenders crashed into each other and fell to the ground. Young cruised into the end zone, and the Redskins began an impressive comeback.
While it fell short, as Philadelphia took the game 24-16, RGIII demonstrated his ability to get the most out of his teammates.