Robert Griffin III came back from suffering a concussion last week and rushed for 138 yards to lead the Redskins past Minnesota, 38-26.
LANDOVER, Md. — Robert Griffin III dropped back, waited a beat, then quickly took off. A first down on third-and-6 might have been enough to put the game away.
Instead, the Washington Redskins rookie left the Minnesota Vikings defense behind as he streaked down the left sideline for 76 yards. He didn’t stop until he took a seat on the front row, performing what is quickly becoming known as the “Landover Leap.”
He might have suffered his first NFL concussion the week before, but RG3 was still RG3. The Heisman Trophy winner rallied his team from an early hole, ran for 138 yards and threw for 182 on Sunday in a 38-26 victory that snapped the Vikings’ three-game winning streak as well as the Redskins eight-game run of futility at home.
The Redskins fell behind 9-0 and were outgained 148-7, but came back to take control.
The Redskins (3-3) responded with 24 straight points during a stretch in which they outgained the Vikings 225-14. Minnesota (4-2) paid the price for promising drives that produced 3s instead of 7s, with four field goals from Blair Walsh accounting for all their points through the first three quarters.
The Vikings finally found the end zone on Michael Jenkins’ 9-yard catch with 8:02 to play and Kyle Rudolph’s 1-yard snag — set up by Josh Wilson’s pass interference penalty — with 3:36 to go to cut the Redskins’ lead to 31-26.
But Griffin, sporting a huge gray bandage on his chin, responded with the longest touchdown run by an NFL quarterback since Kordell Stewart scampered 80 yards for the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Carolina Panthers in 1996. The Vikings had started to use their timeouts, hoping to get the ball back with a chance to win, but Griffin dispelled that notion to put the Redskins up by 12 with 2:43 remaining.
Griffin left last week’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons when he was hit in the head in the third quarter while trying to get some extra yards on a third down scramble. He passed the NFL’s post-concussion tests over the following days and was cleared to play, but coaches and teammates hoped that he had learned a lesson about when to keep running and when to get out of bounds.
Accordingly, the fans cheered when he darted to the sidelines on the first play of the second series, but by no means did it indicate that he had gone soft. He still ran the option. He still looked for the extra yard when it meant something. He had two rushing touchdowns to give him six on the year, already surpassing the previous single-season franchise record of four. And he’s just six games into his career.
During one stretch, Griffin ran on six straight times, starting with a 15-yard scramble. Then he scrambled for three more before being brought down by a horse-collar tackle, adding a half-the-distance-to-the-goal penalty to the gain.
Why mess with what’s working? On the next play, Griffin took off for the end zone, running for 7 yards and stretching the ball over the goal line with his right hand as he was tackled by cornerback Chris Cook.
He also drew penalties. In addition to the horse collar call, he turned a slight shove from Erin Henderson into a roughing-the-passer call, the flag emerging from the official’s pocket only after Griffin had tumbled to the turf and appealed for the call.
And, yes, Griffin can throw as well. He completed 17 of 22 passes with one touchdown and only his second interception of the year. Fellow rookie Alfred Morris added a 1-yard scoring run, fullback Darrel Young caught a 6-yard TD pass, and former Vikings safety Madieu Williams returned an interception 24 yards for Washington’s fourth defensive touchdown of the year. The Redskins scored only 43 points off turnovers last year; they already have 49 this year.
The Vikings hadn’t allowed more than 23 points in a game this year, one of the reasons they’ve been an early season surprise. In this game, they were let down by both sides of the ball.
The offense made it look easy on Minnesota’s first three possessions — until it hit the red zone. Drives that got inside the 10 yielded field goals of 20, 27 and 27 yards. There was another field goal in the third quarter.
Christian Ponder completed 35 of 52 passes for 352 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions and was credited with a lost fumble when the ball slipped out of his hand as he went back to pass. The ball floated into the hands of linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, setting Young’s touchdown in a sequence in which the Redskins scored 14 points in 13 seconds.
Adrian Peterson, who at times appeared to be limping on his sprained left ankle, had 79 yards on 17 carries for the Vikings.
Lions 26, Eagles 23:Jason Hanson kicked a 45-yard field goal in overtime and the Detroit Lions rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 26-23 on Sunday.
Held in check most of the game, Matthew Stafford led Detroit to 17 points in the fourth quarter. He threw a TD pass and ran for a score.
Detroit had two shots from the Eagles 1 after a pass interference penalty on Colt Anderson with 13 seconds left in regulation. But Stafford misfired on both passes and Hanson kicked a 19-yard field goal to send it to overtime.
The Lions (2-3) sacked Michael Vick on the first two plays of the extra quarter, forced a punt out of the end zone and started at midfield.
Stafford hit Calvin Johnson for a 17-yard gain to the Eagles 27 on first-and-20. A few plays later, Hanson nailed the game-winner.
The Eagles (3-3) head into their bye week with two straight losses.
SEAHAWKS 24, PATRIOTS 23: Russell Wilson found Sidney Rice behind the secondary for a 46-yard touchdown with 1:18 remaining, and Seattle rallied for 14 points in the final 7:31.
The matchup between the Patriots' No. 1 ranked offense and Seattle's No. 1 defense instead turned in to a starring performance for Wilson — and a shocking rally.
Wilson hit Braylon Edwards on fourth down for a 10-yard TD to get the Seahawks' within 23-17. After a pair of holds by Seattle's defense, Wilson found Rice open on a double move. Steven Hauschka's extra point gave Seattle the lead.
Tom Brady and the Patriots (3-3) were then stopped on fourth down at their 28 when Wes Welker came up 2 yards short, and the Seahawks (4-2) were able to celebrate the unlikely comeback.
GIANTS 26, 49ERS 3:Antrel Rolle intercepted two passes by Alex Smith, Prince Amukamara picked off another for New York in a rematch of last season's NFC championship game.
After outscoring the Bills and Jets by a combined 79-3 the last two weeks, the 49ers (4-2) met their match again with Eli Manning and New York's top team. No overtime needed this time, and not much of Manning either.
Manning threw for 193 yards and one touchdown, Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 116 yards and a score and the Giants (4-2) rode a dominant defense and four field goals by Lawrence Tynes to hand outspoken 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh the most lopsided loss of his tenure.
RAVENS 31, COWBOYS 29: Jacoby Jones tied an NFL record with a 108-yard kickoff return and Baltimore won its 14th straight regular-season home game
Dallas ran for 227 yards, most ever against the Ravens, and totaled 481 yards offense. But the Cowboys (2-3) missed a 2-point conversion after closing to two points with 32 seconds left.
Dallas recovered the onside kick, and Dan Bailey was wide left on a 51-yard field goal try with 6 seconds left.
Ray Rice scored two touchdowns and Joe Flacco threw for a score to help the Ravens (5-1) secure their fourth consecutive victory and enhance their grip on first place in the AFC North. Baltimore's home winning streak is the longest current run in the NFL.
BUCCANEERS 38, CHIEFS 10: Josh Freeman threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns and Ronde Barber scored on a 78-yard interception return.
Freeman teamed with Mike Williams on a 62-yard scoring play in the first quarter and threw TD passes of 19 and 17 yards to Vincent Jackson in the second half as the Bucs (2-3) stopped a three-game losing streak.
The Bucs intercepted Brady Quinn — starting for the Matt Cassel (concussion) — twice in the Kansas City quarterback's first start in nearly three years. They also limited NFL rushing leader Jamaal Charles to 40 yards on 12 carries.
BROWNS 34, BENGALS 24: Rookie Brandon Weeden threw two touchdown passes and Cleveland snapped an 11-game losing streak that dated to last season.
Cleveland had not won since Nov. 20, matching a franchise record for consecutive losses. But for the first time this season everything fell into place for the Browns (1-5).
Montario Hardesty, filling in for injured rookie Trent Richardson, scored on a 1-yard plunge and cornerback Sheldon Brown intercepted Andy Dalton and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Browns outscored the Bengals (3-3) in the second half 27-10.
JETS 35, COLTS 9:Shonn Greene ran for a career-high 161 yards and three touchdowns, Mark Sanchez was efficient and Tim Tebow made a few big plays.
Even the Jets' maligned defense was able to shut down Andrew Luck and the Colts' offense as New York snapped a two-game losing streak that had many wondering if the season was about to spiral out of control.
For a week, at least, Sanchez was in total control and the Jets (3-3) had their best overall performance — save for a handful of personal foul penalties — since an opening-week rout of Buffalo.
Indianapolis (2-3) trailed 21-6 at halftime and couldn't erase a big deficit for the second straight week after coming back from 18 points and beating Green Bay last Sunday.
DOLPHINS 17, RAMS 14:Ryan Tannehill threw two touchdown passes and Miami withstood a late rally.
The Rams faced a fourth-and-8 at the Miami 48-yard line with 30 seconds left, and rather than go for a first down, coach Jeff Fisher sent out rookie Greg Zuerlein to try a 66-yard field goal, which missed wide left.
Zuerlein made two field goals to improve to 15 for 15 this season, but then missed three times in a row, including from 48 and 32 yards in the first half.
The Rams outgained the Dolphins 461-209.