If you follow the Redskins closely at all you are well aware of that the first-team offense has not scored a touchdown in two preseason games this year. They didn’t score one in three preseason games last year either (the starters don’t play in the 4th preseason game). So, doing the math, that makes five straight preseason games without a touchdown for the starting offense, led by Robert Griffin III.
The drought was a topic of conversation around Redskins Park this week and Jay Gruden and the players were well aware of it. Did the no-TD skid play a role in Griffin sustaining a concussion in the second quarter against the Lions last night?
Had the offense put a touchdown on the board this year perhaps Gruden would have felt OK with pulling Griffin and the starters after two or maybe three rocky series last night. But Gruden perhaps gave them the fourth series to give them one last shot at getting over the goal line.
The series did not start well, with a penalty and a sack setting up third and 16 at the Redskins 14. Griffin knew it was his last chance to get something going. When Griffin dropped back to pass he had nothing open that would have led to a first down. He did have a few options underneath. Under normal circumstances, the ball goes to one of the players short of the sticks. If he can break and tackle and get the first down, fine. If not, the offense needs to get what it can and punt the ball away.
But Griffin didn’t see the second option as an option at all. He wanted to keep the drive alive. Griffin moved up in the pocket to try to make something happen. The ball slipped from his grasp and he was injured in the ensuing scramble for the ball.
The combination of him being in the game in the first place and his desire to stay in the game and get the team into the end zone added up to a level of desperation that was borderline dangerous.
You have to wonder if Griffin would have been in the game this week had Pierre Garçon caught the long pass that surely would have been a touchdown a week earlier in Cleveland. Or, if he had been in the game if he would have tried to force the issue. Had they mustered a preseason TD at some point since 2013 the proverbial monkey would have been off of Griffin’s back.
Fortunately it appears that Griffin’s concussion is not serious. But making decisions out of desperation can lead to disastrous results. Gruden and Griffin dodged the bullet last night.