Rookies shine as 'Skins down Ravens in OT
Landover, MD (My Sportsbook) - Robert Griffin III apparently isn't the only rookie quarterback on the Washington Redskins' roster capable of producing a little magic.
Replacing an injured Griffin, Kirk Cousins threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon with 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter before running in the game-tying 2-point conversion, and the Redskins later came through with a thrilling 31-28 overtime triumph over the Baltimore Ravens at FedEx Field.
Richard Crawford, another member of Washington's 2012 draft class, came through with a pivotal 64-yard punt return in overtime to set up Kai Forbath's third field goal of the afternoon -- a 34-yard kick 3:23 into the extra session.
Griffin completed 15-of-26 throws for 246 yards and a touchdown before being forced out by a right knee sprain on the eventual tying drive, while fellow rookie Alfred Morris rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries to help the resurgent Redskins (7-6) to their fourth consecutive win.
"It was a great victory," said Garcon. A lot of guys stepped up. Kirk stepped up great, ran the ball well, did a lot of great things. The defense played well in the second half and in the first half, and Kirk gave us a chance and it came through when we really needed it."
Joe Flacco threw three first-half touchdown passes -- two of which went to Anquan Boldin -- and Ray Rice put up 121 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 attempts for Baltimore (9-4). Still, the Ravens suffered their second straight defeat following a four-game win streak and missed out on a chance to secure a playoff spot.
The Ravens still hold a two-game lead over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati atop the AFC North with three to play after both the Steelers and Bengals lost on Sunday.
"Yeah, it's always tough to lose when you have games won," said Rice. "But we do still have a bright future in front of us. Hats off to the other team over there, they won. Needless to say, we don't have to worry about them -- they are not in our division -- but we would have liked to get this win today."
Flacco finished an efficient 16-of-21 for 182 yards with one interception in the setback.
Griffin appeared to twist his right knee after taking a hard shot from Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata while scrambling for a first down with the Redskins trailing 28-20 and time winding down. The rookie sensation briefly returned after one play to complete a pair of throws, including a 22-yarder to Garcon that brought Washington to the Baltimore 16 with around a minute left in regulation, but limped off for good after throwing the ball away while under pressure on the next snap.
"I was trying to make a play," said Griffin about the injury. "I got outside and turned inside, and once I turned inside, I said Oh lord, here we go, and got down. I protected myself in that regard. It was just a freak play. My leg got hit while I was going down and after I was already down, my leg got hit again. It was a pretty painful experience, but I will be alright."
On came Cousins, who connected with Leonard Hankerson for 15 yards before lofting a fade pass that Garcon came down with in the right corner of the end zone to cut Washington's deficit to 28-26.
The Redskins then lined up for the necessary 2-point try, with Cousins taking the snap from a shotgun formation and weaving his way across the goal line to bring on extra time.
"That was a great play call," said Redskins center Will Montgomery. "I think that was the last thing (the Ravens) were expecting. They actually dropped one of their defensive ends in coverage. It kind of opened up the middle."
Baltimore would get the ball first in OT, but Washington forced a swift three- and-out and a punt from Sam Koch, which Crawford fielded at his own 12 before finding a seam down the middle before finally being taken down inside the Ravens' 25-yard line.
"It was kind of like the Red Sea [parting]," said Crawford. "I saw where I had to go and I just ran that way. I credit my teammates for blocking. I've just got to finish it and score next time."
Morris ran twice before head coach Mike Shanahan summoned Forbath, who completed the improbable comeback by splitting the uprights from 34 yards out.
Baltimore claimed a 21-14 lead by capitalizing on a Washington turnover in the second quarter, and later extended the margin to eight when Rice's 7-yard run with 4:47 to go accounted for a 28-20 advantage.
Morris had the ball jarred lose by Ma'ake Kemoeatu deep in Washington territory with the contest locked at 14-14 in the second quarter, with Paul Kruger returning the miscue to the Redskins' 14. Three plays later, Flacco fired a 14-yard bullet to Dennis Pitta on a 3rd-and-10 to send the Ravens in front.
Washington would inch closer on a pair of long field goals from Forbath in the third quarter, one from 48 yards out and the other a 49-yarder. Both kicks came as a result of Flacco turnovers, the first a fumble on a sack by Rob Jackson and the other an interception by London Fletcher that thwarted a drive inside the Redskins' 10-yard line.
The Ravens' defense would clamp down afterwards, however, while the offense scored its first points of the second half with an 8-play, 62-drive highlighted by Flacco's 28-yard hookup with Boldin on 3rd-and-4 that gave Baltimore a 1st-and-goal.
Rice punched it in on the following play to give Baltimore a 28-20 lead with under five minutes remaining in regulation.
The Ravens nearly came up with a game-sealing miscue on the ensuing kickoff, when David Reed pounced on a fumble by Washington's Niles Paul but was ruled to be out of bounds while making contact with the ball.
The close call set the stage for a dramatic 13-play, 85-yard series capped by Cousins' heroics.
Griffin, who completed 73 percent of his passes with a 9-to-1 touchdown-to- interception ratio over Washington's three recent wins, continued his outstanding play during the early portions of this game as well. The former Heisman Trophy recipient was a sharp 6-of-8 for 122 yards in directing touchdowns on the Redskins' initial two drives to stake his team to a 14-7 edge.
Washington moved 80 yards in 10 plays on the opening possession, which began with a 29-yard burst from Morris and later featured a 23-yard screen to Garcon to the Baltimore 1. Three plays later, Griffin found Josh Morgan on a secondary read in the end zone for a 4-yard score for the first points of the day.
Baltimore struck back quickly on its first touch, with Rice ripping off consecutive runs of 46 and 12 yards to get the Ravens into the red zone before Flacco capped the 5-play sequence by hitting Boldin along the right sideline for a 19-yard touchdown just past the midway mark of the quarter.
The Redskins countered with an 8-play, 83-yard march that contained three big Griffin passes -- a 31-yard strike to Santana Moss, a 29-yarder to Hankerson and a 21-yard delivery to Morgan in which the wideout bulled his way to the Ravens' 1. Morris plowed across the goal line on the following snap to put Washington ahead 14-7 late in the first quarter.
Flacco and Boldin would again team up to pull Baltimore even, with the veteran receiver beating DeAngelo Hall for a well-executed 31-yard score less than five minutes into the second quarter. Flacco went 4-of-5 for 61 yards in engineering the 9-play, 77-yard series.
Reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs did not play for Baltimore due to a torn biceps sustained during last week's loss to Pittsburgh. It marked the first time since Suggs entered the NFL in 2003 that both he and Ray Lewis (triceps, IR) were both inactive in the same game ... Morris' 100-yard effort was his sixth of the season, and the last 12 Washington players to eclipse the century mark in rushing yards in a game have all been rookies (Morris six times, Griffin once, Roy Helu three times in 2011, Evan Royster twice in 2011) ... Boldin had his first multi-touchdown game since hauling in three scores against Cleveland on Sept. 26, 2010 ... Linebacker Jameel McClain (neck) and guard Marshal Yanda (sprained ankle) both exited the game with injuries for Baltimore.
December 9, 2012, at 08:38 PM ET
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