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WAS-ATL: Third Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Andrew Walker on October 7, 2012 – 3:21 pm

(AP photo)

Well, this game just got interesting — and Redskins fans everywhere are holding their collective breaths.

Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III took a nasty hit by an Atlanta defender in the third quarter as he tried to go down near the sideline. Griffin III walked off the field with the help of team trainers and was taken to the locker room for evaluations. His backup — fellow rookie Kirk Cousins — immediately began warming up on the sidelines

The next play after the Griffin III injury was a made field goal by kicker Billy Cundiff, extending the Redskins’ lead to 10-7. Their defense, meanwhile, forced a punt on the next Atlanta drive, setting up Cousins’ first drive as a professional football player.

But first …

The Redskins’ offensive woes continued into their first drive of the second half, even after Griffin III was able to get into a little rhythm with tight end Fred Davis. They were forced to punt on that drive, which was downed at the Atlanta 2-yard line.

The Falcons, in turn, had a three-and-out of their own, highlighted by a first-down-saving tackle by Perry Riley when Matt Ryan found Tony Gonzalez on third down. The Falcons’ punt was returned 14 yards by Brandon Banks to the Atlanta 39-yard line, setting the Redskins up with prime field position to start a successful drive and to take the lead.

On the very first play of that drive, Griffin III found wide receiver Pierre Garçon open across the middle. The officials ruled, however, that Garçon fumbled the ball while he was being brought down and the Falcons reccovered. Because there was a turnover, however, the play was reviewed, which resulted in a reversed call and a touch of good luck for the Redskins.

The next play was a 10-yard completion from Griffin III to Davis to the Atlanta 29-yard line. On the next play, Griffin III took off — his first rush attempt of the game — for a 7-yard gain to the 22. Alfred Morris then rushed for 13 yards, giving him 107 yards rushing on the day.

The next play was another touch of luck for Garçon and the Redskins. Griffin III found him four yards away and zinged a pass his way, and though the ball initially popped out, Garçon caught the ball as he fell to the ground. Two plays later, Griffin III was flushed out of the pocket and began to go down near the sideline when he was popped by an Atlanta defender who lowered his shoulder. Griffin III — who took some time getting up — was helped off the field by members of the team’s medical staff.

The play set up a 23-yard field goal for Billy Cundiff, who had missed a 31-yard attempt earlier in the game. Cundiff came through this time, giving the Redskins a 10-7 lead with 5:56 remaining in the third quarter.

But the attention turned to the Redskins’ sidelines, where Griffin III was being evaluated by doctors and backup Kirk Cousins — also a rookie — was getting his arm warm. Could Washington face its first offensive situation without its’ star rookie quarterback?

The answer — yes. Cousins came in with 2:19 remaining in the quarter and immediately found receiver Josh Morgan for a quick four-yard reception. But the Redskins couldn’t get anything going on their next two plays, setting up another punt by Sav Rocca.

The third quarter ended with the Falcons driving into Redskins territory at the 23-yard line, where they face a 3rd and 5 when play resumes.

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