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Robert Griffin III: Eagles Game 'A Great Team Win'

Robert Griffin III wasn't in the mood to deliver any Christmas cheer to the Philadelphia Eagles' sideline Saturday afternoon at FedExField.

After he was named the Washington Redskins' starting quarterback in the week leading up to Saturday's game, Griffin III knew what kind of challenge he had ahead of him to keep up with a high-octane Philadelphia offense.

But with lots of confidence and a little bit of swagger, anything is possible.

Griffin III had an efficient day leading the Redskins' offense, completing 16-of-23 passes for 220 yards – including two long bombs to wide receiver DeSean Jackson – in Washington's 27-24 victory over Philadelphia.

The win snapped the Redskins' six-game losing streak and gave the team its fourth win of the season, eclipsing last year's total.

"I thought it was a great game – big game for us as a franchise," Griffin III said. "That locker room, every phase came out and stepped up to the plate, and helped us get the win today. That's all you're looking for. We wanted to spoil their Christmas and send them home, and we did our part."

Griffin III has certainly had a topsy-turvy season, but has showed the past two weeks that he's regaining the confidence he had in 2012, when he took the league by storm as the league's offensive rookie of the year.

He suffered a gruesome ankle injury Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars that forced him to miss seven weeks, and, upon his return, he struggled at times with his mechanics and with finding the open receiver.

Three games into his return, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden elected to go with veteran Colt McCoy under center. But McCoy injured his neck late in Washington's Week 14 loss to the St. Louis Rams, and although he started the next week's game against the New York Giants, he quickly exited after re-aggravating the injury.

Since that time, Griffin III has performed much better than he did during that middle stretch of the season. In the last two weeks, he has completed 34-of-50 passes (68 percent) for 456 yards and a touchdown.

After Saturday's game, Gruden said he's "been impressed with Robert."

"I think Robert did a great job – I think No. 1, getting the ball out of his hands and [No. 2] making good decisions," Gruden said. "Overall, I thought he did an outstanding job of managing the football game, not only in the passing game but he did a lot at the line of scrimmage in the running game, which his very, very important."

Gruden said one area in particular that stands out about Griffin III's performance of late is his command in the pocket.

With his offensive line offering quality protection Saturday at FedExField – only allowing two sacks to the league's top unit in that category – Griffin III delivered a few darts on three- and five-step dropback passes.

"I thought there was a couple throws – especially the first drive, I think, where he hit Andre Roberts across the middle, he stood in there tall and made a great play," Gruden said. "He made another great throw to Andre that Andre he couldn't hold onto on the deep out route on third-and-long where he stood in the pocket. It was great to see Robert compete and play and he looked like he had a lot of fun out there and the players responded to him and [it's] huge to get a win for him."

Griffin III said the best part of Saturday's game, of course, was leading the offense on a game-winning drive.

With the game tied at 24, rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland made a huge interception on Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was trying to find wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on what they hoped would be their own game-winning drive.

Instead, Griffin III and the Redskins' offense took over from their own 42 with 1:31 left in the game.

The very first play was a 23-yard pass and catch from Griffin III to Pierre Garçon, who, as usual, got plenty of yards after the catch. After a roughing-the-passer penalty on the Eagles, the Redskins were in business, facing a 1st and 10 at the Philadelphia 20.

From there, all Griffin III had to do was hand it off to his running back Alfred Morris. After five handoffs, Gruden sent out kicker Kai Forbath with 10 seconds left to attempt the potential game winner from 26 yards out.

The kick split the uprights, and, after a botched squib kick and failed Hail Mary heave by Sanchez, the Redskins escaped with an elusive victory.

"I, personally, and the team in general cherishes those moments. Those moments when you go out there and lead your team to victory on that final last drive and everybody was locked in," Griffin III said. "When Pierre catches that ball, the line helps slow the fight up so I can set on my back foot and deliver my good ball. It's a great feeling when you see him running down, you're like, 'Hey, we're in field goal range. Oh yeah, and we got a personal foul.'

"Those things are great and you feel that joy inside when you go get those wins," Griffin III continued, "but you cherish those moments late in games when you can make a play."

The Redskins will certainly take a day or two to celebrate Saturday's victory, but they have one final goal on the docket before wrapping up the 2014 season: sweeping the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys – who, thanks to the Redskins' victory over the Eagles could clinch the NFC East title with a win Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts – come to FedExField next Sunday, hoping to avenge their 20-17 Week 8 overtime loss to Washington in their building on Monday Night Football.

Griffin III said there's no doubt "we will be focused on Dallas."

"The guys will obviously enjoy this and we'll come back next week ready to work," he said. "You know, that's the beauty of this game – every Sunday or Saturday or Monday or Thursday, you get to go out there, play the game that you love. Guys in that locker room have a lot of passion for this game and every time you suit up, it's an opportunity.  That's the way you have to view it, no matter what your record is."


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