Robert Griffin III hasn’t looked quite like himself this season, but he has shown flashes of the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
On Sunday, Griffin had one of those moments early in the fourth quarter of a tie game, juking and jiving his way through the Lions’ defense for 21 yards, his longest run of the season. The run would have put the Redskins in prime position for the go-ahead score at the Detroit 29-yard line in what was then a 17-17 game, but a not-so-surehanded Griffin fumbled the ball as he dove to the ground, and the Lions recovered.
Griffin, who was giving himself up on the play with the forward dive, was upset about the costly fumble, which helped the Lions re-take the lead. His frustration was understandable, but where he directed it may have been a bit off-target.
“Yeah, it’s the rule,” Griffin said, according to the Washington Post. “And it’s a stupid rule. You’d think if you declare yourself down that you’d be down. I mean, I wasn’t falling. I was trying to get down to avoid a hit, slide, be out there for my team. Knee down, elbow down, and then the ball comes out. According to them, it’s a fumble. That’s just the way it goes. It just sucks.”
Griffin might have a point about a quarterback being considered “down” when giving himself up, but what he fails to realize is that he could have just slid and avoided the error altogether. Quarterbacks are typically taught to slide when giving themselves up on a play — something Griffin has never been particularly fond of — but sometimes avoid it to gain extra yards or ensure a first down. On that play, though, Griffin was already well past the first-down marker and made the conscious decision not to slide.
Maybe he was a little too concerned about protecting his surgically repaired knee and should have been more concerned with protecting the ball.