What you are looking for in a quarterback like Robert Griffin III is progress. That is usually measured in weeks and months but it also can be tracked from game to game. And it’s safe to say that Griffin did better in his second complete game of the season than he did in his first.
It should be noted right off the bat that the Redskins didn’t win either game. They dropped a 17-6 decision to the Texans in Week 1 and they fell to the Vikings 29-26 in Week 9. The Redskins have not won a game that Griffin started and finished since November 3, 2013. Also, as you know, the two games this year were separated by eight weeks due to the dislocated ankle Griffin suffered after just a handful of snaps in Week 2.
That said, here are the stat lines for Griffin’s two complete games in 2014.
At first glance it looks like he had a better game against Houston. He had a higher completion percentage, threw for more yards, and had a higher completion percentage. But he threw for more than a yard and a half more per attempt in Minnesota. The improvement from Week 1 to Week 9 just starts there.
The website Football Perspective tracks a number they call failed completions. These are passes that may help the quarterback’s stats but really don’t do much to help his team move the ball down the field. For example, on first and 20 late in the game, Griffin hit Roy Helu with a pass that gained four yards. That added a completion and some yards to Griffin’s ledger but the team wasn’t much better off on second and 16 than it would have been on second and 20. That’s a failed completion.
Football Perspective considers a failed completion to be a completion that fails to gain a first down on 3rd or 4th down, a completion that fails to gain at least 60% of the distance needed on 2nd down, or a completion that fails to gain at least 45% of the needed yards on 1st down.
Against the Texans, 12 of Griffin’s 29 completions, 41.4 percent, were failed completions. The Redskins scored just six points. Last Sunday in Minnesota, only four of his 14 completions were failed, 22.2 percent. Washington put up 26 points.
This is a hidden aspect of the game that we’ll track from time to time as the season goes on. It doesn’t help if they are spinning their wheels while Griffin completes a lot of passes that don’t really help move the chains.