RG3 heeds call to (play) action

December, 4, 2012
12/04/12
12:38
AM ET
Robb Carr/Getty ImagesRobert Griffin III ran by and threw over the Giants' defense in Monday's win.
The Washington Redskins have had their share of bad memories on "Monday Night Football" recently, but Robert Griffin III did his best to create some new ones of a much more positive nature.

Griffin’s arm and legs combined to put the Redskins in the thick of the NFC East race with a 17-16, come-from-behind win over the New York Giants on Monday night.

It marked the first time the Redskins beat the Giants on "Monday Night Football" since the famous 1985 game in which Lawrence Taylor ended quarterback Joe Theismann’s career by breaking his leg on a sack.

Jay Schroeder would come on in relief and throw the game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Griffin had some fourth-quarter magic of his own going on Monday.

Let’s take a look at some of the statistical highlights from the Redskins' win.

The history
Two notable records, one an NFL mark and one a Redskins club mark, fell Monday.

Griffin broke a short-lived record: Cam Newton’s mark for rushing yards by a rookie quarterback in a single season. He’s at 714 and counting.

Running back Alfred Morris, who finished with a career-high 124 rushing yards, broke the Redskins' record for rushing yards by a rookie in a season. His 1,106 yards surpass the previous mark of 1,063 by Reggie Brooks in 1993.

The Elias Sports Bureau tells us the Redskins are the first team in NFL history to have a rookie quarterback throw for 2,000 yards and a rookie running back run for 1,000 yards in the same season.

Key to victory: play-action passing
Griffin was 9-for-11 for 122 yards and the game-winning touchdown throw on his play-action passes Monday night.

Griffin has thrown nine touchdown passes on play-action this season, one shy of the NFL lead.

But among those quarterbacks on the leaderboard, noted in the chart on the right, Griffin is the most reliant on that aspect of his game.

Play-action has played a huge role in Griffin's recent hot stretch. In his past three games, he's 23-for-28 for 445 yards with six touchdown throws on play-action passes.

Griffin finished this week with a Total QBR of 86.5, the third straight week he's had a Total QBR of 85 or better (the only other quarterback to do that this season is Tom Brady). He now ranks fourth in the NFL in Total QBR (73.6), trailing Peyton Manning, Brady and Matt Ryan.

Redskins' look suits them well
The Redskins ran 32 of their 52 plays (62 percent) from a formation in which Griffin was lined up in shotgun, with a running back stationed behind him (this is often referred to as the “pistol” formation).

Those 32 plays gained them 259 yards (including 180 of their 207 rushing yards), an average of better than 8 yards per play.

The Redskins are the most reliant team in the NFL on that look. Their 223 plays in that formation lead the NFL and are more than five times the number for the team with the next most (Buffalo Bills, 44).

The play that works so well for them in that formation is the zone-read option, in which Griffin has the ability to make a choice on what he’ll do as he runs to a sideline.

That netted the Redskins 101 yards the seven times they ran it.

Elias Stats of the Night
The Giants had won 26 straight road games in which they had a halftime lead, the longest road winning streak of its kind in NFL history.

The Redskins snapped a 10-game home losing streak on "Monday Night Football," the longest losing streak of its kind in NFL history.

For a visual look at RG3's success, click here.

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