Robert Griffin III has started eight NFL games and has finished seven of them. For the first time, he didn’t either lead his team to a win or have the ball at the end with a chance to do that.
Griffin certainly put up the worst numbers of his young career. The rookie completed 16 of 34 passes for 177 yards and one touchdown. His rating was a very pedestrian 72.8.
It is safe to say that the mediocre stats were not all Griffin’s fault. The Redskins dropped 10 passes during the game. To put that in perspective, they came into the game with just 11 drops in their first seven games.
Yes, the ball was wet due to rain that was light in the early going and got heavier and steadier as the game went on. But the Steelers were playing in the same rain with the same balls, Ben Roethlisberger threw 33 passes, and they only suffered a few drops.
"A lot of people will blame the elements but as players we can't do that,” said Griffin.
Not all of the drops were exactly on target as sometimes receivers dropped a pass that was a little behind him or led him into a defender. Griffin certainly was willing to take responsibility for that aspect of the issue. “I’m going to have to look at it on film and say I need to give that guy a better look here, a better look there,” he said.
It started to get ugly in the second quarter. On the same series, Leonard Hankerson and Dezmon Briscoe both dropped sure touchdown passes. Finally, on fourth down Griffin stuck one in to Santana Moss and he caught it to make it 10-6.
That was as close as the Redskins would get. The extra point was blocked. Roethlisberger was sharp and the Steelers scored in each of their first four possessions. Meanwhile, the drops helped torpedo drive after drive and the Redskins found themselves down 20-6 at halftime.
Griffin did not make up for the lack of productivity through the air with his legs. After rushing 20 times for 227 yards in the previous two games, Griffin carried just three times (he had six official attempts but three of those were attempts to run out the clock) for eight yards.
But if you can’t get much going on offense because nearly a third of your pass attempts are on target but dropped, it’s hard to make up for it with the quarterback running.
Griffin didn’t run much but he did go out on a pass pattern. He handed the ball off to Josh Morgan on an end around. Morgan pulled up and heaved the ball deep to the quarterback, who was double covered. The pass fell incomplete and Griffin was called for pushing off a defender. He also gook a pretty good shot by Ryan Clark in the process.
But at least he didn’t drop the pass.