The 10 Days with No. 10 series continues on Redskins Nation and Redskins.com, with Redskins quarterback
Even though the team sat at 2-2 after four games last season, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was taking the NFL by storm and rewriting the rules on rookie starters.
It was not until Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons that Griffin III finally showed a degree of vulnerability, taking a shot to the head that left him sidelined with a concussion.
Earlier this week, Robert Griffin III revealed to Larry Michael of Redskins Nation that he was sincere about his promise to play smarter, but genuinely believed he was protecting himself appropriately at the time of injury.
“At that time, I thought it was a natural thing,” he said. “When people ask, ‘Are you still going to play the same way?’ yeah, you still play with the same tenacity. You still play with the same edge, but you also play smarter.
“Not only for yourself, but also for your team, the fans and everyone involved in your organization.”
Griffin III was cleared for contact before the Week 6 game against the Minnesota Vikings, and showed his commitment to running the ball, doing so for 62 yards through the first three and a half quarters.
“I [protected myself] in the Minnesota game, just to know that there is a lot of attention put on the quarterback, just know that you have to protect yourself,” Griffin III said. “I thought I did a much better job protecting myself for the rest of the season.”
With a five point lead in the final moments of the game, the Redskins offense needed one more first down to secure the third win of the season.
Griffin III took the snap out of the shotgun, looking to pass downfield. A hole opened up on the left side of the line and he raced toward the sideline, streaking past the first down marker and turning it upfield.
“It wasn’t that big [of a hole], I was just running for the first down. All I needed was the first down and we could kneel and end the game,” he said with a grin. “Everyone along the sideline is yelling to get down, get down.”
But Robert Griffin III was only just reaching his stride.
“I get to the sideline and I think, ‘I’m going to keep going,’” he recalled. “I took off, made the safety miss, and obviously the rest is history. It went from ‘get down’ to ‘keep going, keep going!’
“It was a lot of fun. It was a special moment. You never try to downplay anything, and as a quarterback, you obviously want more throwing touchdowns than rushing. But any time you can have the second-longest rushing touchdown by a [quarterback since 1996] that’s pretty special. So you appreciate that, you move forward.
“As long as I’m alive, people will come to me and say ‘I remember that 76-yard touchdown run against the Vikings.’”
The win put the Redskins at 3-3 on the season with a chance to gain some momentum before the team’s bye week.
The team would actually lose the next three contests, but the power of Griffin III’s run opened things up for the offense down the stretch of the season, as teams were forced to defend against it.
“We knew we needed to get on a roll ASAP. At that point we’re just starting to get on that roll and we feel good,” Griffin III told Redskins.comTV. “It was just really good to do it at home, the way it happened, even after something unfortunate happened to me the game before.
“To come back and end the game with a run, at a time when everyone’s talking about I shouldn’t run, was kind of pretty cool.”