The fact that the Washington Redskins had just lost to the Atlanta Falcons seemed moot as fans exited FedEx Field in Landover, Md.—the greater loss was that of star rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III to a concussion.
Griffin had the Redskins in prime position to take control of the game, but a crushing blow by Atlanta linebacker Sean Witherspoon as Griffin ran towards the sideline ended his day, as Washington fell to Atlanta, 24-17, on Oct. 7.
Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins, also a rookie taken by the Redskins in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, entered in place of Griffin and hit a wide open Santana Moss for 77 yards to put the home team up 17-14 early in the fourth quarter. But Atlanta, which started 5-0 for the first time in franchise history, rallied with 10 unanswered points to close out the game.
Griffin wobbled off the field after laying face down on the turf for a few moments. Under new NFL rules, a player is restricted from returning to the same game after incurring a concussion, so Cousins had to finish the game.
Cousin’s touchdown connection with Moss excited the crowd, but his two interceptions in the final five minutes deflated it just as quickly.
Griffin finished with just 98 total yards, only seven of them on the ground. The offensive star of the afternoon was rookie running back Alfred Morris, who rushed for 115 yards, often carrying Atlanta defenders along the way.
Morris will have to be leaned on heavily once again by the Skins (2-3) on Oct. 14 against the Minnesota Vikings (3-1) if Griffin is unable to play.