Robert Griffin III took his already spectacular rookie performances to new heights in Week 6, as he almost single-handedly destroyed the Minnesota Vikings' defense. In doing so, Griffin proved he is the game-winner the Redskins hoped they were getting when they traded away a bounty of draft picks to select him.
Griffin inspired the Redskins to a 38-26 victory by posting exceptional numbers, both through the air and on the ground. He rushed for 138 yards on 13 carries and also threw for 182 yards.
Griffin threw for a touchdown and added two more scoring runs to his growing list of accomplishments. The second of those runs was a breathtaking 76-yard sprint down the left sideline that ended a Vikings comeback and sealed the Redskins win.
It was the second-longest scoring scamper by a quarterback in NFL history, trailing only the 80-yarder managed by Kordell Stewart in 1996. Griffin's performance confirmed that he is now the Redskins' game winner..
That makes him look worth the large trade price the Redskins paid to move up and select him with the second-overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen gambled big when they dealt a second-round pick this year and first-round choices in the next two drafts, to the St. Louis Rams.
Paying that kind of price, sent a clear message that Shanahan and Allen are staking everything on winning with Griffin and winning now. Dealing away the team's prime picks in consecutive drafts, limits the means for regenerating the roster and building around areas of strength.
Griffin has been acquired to turn the current squad into winners and Mike Shanahan's team will now only go as far as his rookie quarterback can take them. For years the Redskins have sought a true playmaker at the position, with little success.
Instead they have had to rely on complementary passers, tasked with managing a game and not undermining either a productive rushing attack or a stout defense. Griffin gives them a true athlete at the position who can make the big plays that decide games.
He engineered a game-winning drive against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4 and killed off the Vikings' rally on Sunday. He has received help from running back Alfred Morris, but against Minnesota it was all Griffin.
It was Griffin who exploited gaps between the Vikings' linebackers and secondary, on the play action pass. It was Griffin who fled the pocket and scrambled for vital gains in clutch situations and it was Griffin who accounted for 21 of Washington's 38 points.
Teams who can rely on their quarterback to win games are few. The Green Bay Packers have Aaron Rodgers and the New England Patriots have Tom Brady. The New York Giants have Eli Manning, while the New Orleans Saints have Drew Brees.
After that privileged quartet, there aren't many teams who can trust that their signal caller will win them a game. Griffin could well join that rather exclusive club by the end of his rookie campaign.
He is establishing a John Elway-like aura, that when the game is on the line, he will somehow manufacture the plays that bring the Redskins victory. How far the Redskins can go with a formula that relies so much on the particular skills of one man, remains to be seen.
However, Griffin's knack for delivering in the clutch, is a priceless quality that is beginning to make him look worth every one of those draft picks the Redskins gave away.757161