Redskins Griffin almost won the game by himself Sunday (USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES)
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Jump off the bandwagon. Call the season over. Be the classic Redskins fan who relishes in the agony of the team's mystifying losses.
Whine about how the defense has been one of the worst in NFL history. Complain about how special teams has been non-existent. Protest Kyle Shanahan's play calling, which has been suspicious at best. A record of 0-3 is normally doomsday, even in the joke that's become the NFC East.
But I won't call this a typical Redskins ho-hum, failure of a season -- at least not yet.
I'll blame Robert Griffin III for the largest chunk of blame pie in Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions. He made one of the worst throws of his career on the near sideline in the second quarter, a pass that poisoned a productive nine play, 80-yard drive.
But I'm not going to throw a conniption fit over Griffin's fumble early in the fourth quarter, during his attempted slide. I get that the play was the momentum shift that ultimately put a fork in the Redskins chances. Griffin was an awkward slider before his injury, now add a knee brace to that equation.
I'll actually argue the 21-yard scramble in which he fumbled the ball was one of the best plays that happened all game for the Redskins. Griffin looked fluid avoiding one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. He showed burst while cutting up the field. This play will give Griffin much needed assurance in his athleticism going forward into what has been a somber start to his second season.
If you believed most of Griffin's offseason press conferences -- I tended to agree with what he was saying -- the quarterback is guilty of deceiving us that he'd still be the superhuman rookie of the year from 2012. The pressure he's dealing with and the people who have written off the Redskins are partially right to do so. Griffin brought these heavy expectations upon himself with his mouth and pro bowl rookie season. So far, bounces just aren't falling the Redskins way. Turnovers are now a commonplace.
To me, for the first time in his second season, Griffin knocked off the rust and demonstrated he's almost ready to win games on his own. I'll remind you there was a time last season in November when RGIII was arguably the best quarterback in the NFL. Sunday, Washington came up a few plays short against Detroit. This time, those plays happened to be his fault.
I know the last sentence isn't what Redskins fans want to hear. But this is why I won't write off Griffin and his Redskins just yet.
When asked about the similarities between the 0-3 start this year and the 3-6 start last year, Griffin responded: "Similarities -- it sucks. The good thing about it is we do have a real family-like atmosphere in our locker room...we'll dig ourselves out of this hole."
Historically, the moment when you count Griffin out is the moment the 23-year-old chooses to prove you wrong. He surmounted all odds by beating Andrew Luck out for the Heisman -- remember going into the season Luck was all but a shoo-in for the award. Griffin was the only person in Washington last season who thought the Redskins legitimately had a chance to make the playoffs at 3-6. He even proved his own head coach wrong. And when Griffin tore up his knee against Seattle, many of us thought he'd be out for the entire 2013 season. Even if you don't agree with how his rapid recovery pace played out, Griffin is healthy enough to win NFL games. His rehab was a modern day medical sensation.
So because of his history of being an accomplished underdog and because of Griffin's big run today, plus that near game winning 57-yard deep bomb to Aldrick Robinson, you won't see the white flag of surrender from me. Not yet. But go ahead and dare Griffin if you must.
The last quarterback to lead his team from 0-3 to the playoffs you ask? Doug Flutie and his Buffalo Bills. The Redskins defense will need some serious cosmetic surgery, but remember last season as Griffin reached his peak, so did the defense. I believe Griffin still has more than enough magic left in his tank to make December an interesting football month in D.C.