Robert Griffin III won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in a landslide. And he should have.
Griffin shot out of the gate with a 320-yard passing performance in the season opener as the Redskins upset the Saints in the Superdome. He kept rolling with highlight-reel plays like a 76-yard touchdown run to clinch a win over the Vikings and a jaw-dropping scramble to convert a fourth and 10 situation against the Giants. When the Redskins needed to put together a winning streak after they were 3-6 going into the bye, Griffin became the first rookie to throw four touchdown passes in back to back games.
Griffin’s performance did tail off somewhat at the end of the season after he injured his right knee while scrambling in a Week 14 game against the Ravens. But he had already done enough to clinch the award, as the vote totals indicated.
However, he merited the award for more than numbers and highlight-reel plays. The Redskins had gone 4-12, 6-10, and 5-11 in their previous three seasons and they lacked excitement. Maybe they weren’t moribund but they were close to it.
RG3 came in and did all the right things and said all the right things. The veterans on the team quickly began to believe that he could take them to places they had never been. After the bye they took the extraordinary step of voting him a team captain.
Perhaps coincidentally but probably not, the seven-game winning streak that moved the Redskins from what looked like another failed season to their first NFC East title since 1999 ensued.
To be sure, Griffin had plenty of help from the likes of running back Alfred Morris, who also was also considered a candidate for offensive rookie of the year, an improved receiver corps, and a healthy offensive line.
But make no mistake about it, the division title doesn’t happen without Griffin. And, assuming that he can come back strong from the knee injury he suffered in the team’s playoff loss, there seems to be little doubt that bigger things are on the way for Griffin and the Redskins.
Griffin received 29 of the 50 votes to 11 for Andrew Luck and 10 for Russell Wilson. This gives him a sweep of the major rookie of the year awards. It was previously announced that he had won the Professional Football Writers of America/Pro Football Weekly award, voted on by the members of the PFWA, and the Sporting News award voted on by 800 NFL players, coaches, and executives.