Rob Woodfork, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - We knew Robert Griffin III was fast. Just not this fast. The man with the 4.4 40-yard dash and the futuristic nickname "RGIII" has managed to do the unthinkable: he's outrun the immense hype that followed him into the National Football League.
Case in point on Sunday, with the Redskins down one point with under two minutes to go, Griffin pulled his team 56 yards into field goal range in seven plays. His stat line on that drive was 4-for-5 passing, 46 yards and a 15 yard scramble.
His one incomplete pass was a spike to stop the clock. That's right, he accounted for all the yards on the drive.
Lost in the epic collapse in St. Louis during Week 2 was the fact that Griffin had a similar final drive to pull the 'Skins into position to the tie the game late and at least send it into overtime.
So that's two impressive last-second drives from a rookie QB in four weeks. Wait, what? The Redskins have a quarterback? And he's clutch? Well, it's about time.
Now that the first quarter of Griffin's rookie season is in the books, it's fair to start assessing what we've seen so far. RGIII has more than earned his nickname. He's been stellar in at least three of his first four games; four games in which he's tallied 1,070 passing yards, 252 rushing yards, 8 total TDs (4 passing, 4 rushing) and just 2 total turnovers (1 interception, 1 fumble). Add it all up, and he's got a 103.4 quarterback rating, which places him fourth among all starting QBs in the NFL.
Let me make sure you got that: not fourth among rookies. Not 4th in the NFC East. I said 4th among ALL starting QBs in the NFL.
Not only is Griffin off to a better start to this season than contemporaries Andrew Luck and Cam Newton, he's off to a better start than championship superstars like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Plus, RGIII has a win/loss record equal to or greater than each of those players thus far.
Now, I'm not saying this is sustainable or that Griffin is already better than those quarterbacks with only four NFL starts to his credit. But, I think we can all agree that his numbers and his immediate impact on an offense that went from one of the league's worst to it's fourth-highest scoring unit (again, through just four weeks) is beyond commendable. It's just short of miraculous.
Here's what we know for sure about Griffin: he's just too smart, too fast, too driven, too good to be a bust. The only way this doesn't pan out is if he can't stay healthy. Even then, he'd probably be remembered more as a modern-day Greg Cook than an actual bust.
The more we see of him, the more we're impressed. We expected this season to be dedicated solely to Griffin's development, but he looks ready to lead a team to the playoffs right now. Despite my nine-win prediction for RGIII and the Redskins, I still have reservations about his supporting cast and their ability to spur a significant run in 2012. Injuries and a steep regression on defense haven't helped either. However, Washington now has something that's been missing for about 20 years: genuine hope for the long-term future.
As for the here and now, the other thing this team hasn't been able to boast is a quarterback that gives you a great chance to win on a week-to-week basis. As well as we've seen Griffin play, 'Skins fans can dream of the vast possibilities knowing that this kid has the overwhelming potential to be even better than what we've already seen.
We're witnessing the future at quarterback, folks. And it's #10 in burgundy and gold. Imagine that. The future is now. Somewhere, George Allen is smiling.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)