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Griffin up, down in Redskins’ loss at Cowboys
STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Robert Griffin III displayed several flashes of that mobile, accurate quarterback that helped the Washington Redskins win the NFC East title during his rookie year.
Then there were the plays Sunday night that showed he’s still trying to return to the high standard he set last season before major knee surgery.
Griffin had turnovers on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter, and the Redskins returned from their bye week with a 31-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Redskins (1-4) had 433 yards, more than doubling the 213 for Dallas.
Griffin completed 19 of 39 passes for 246 yards. He also ran nine times for 77 yards, after rushing for only 72 yards in the first four games.
But the Cowboys (3-3) had to go only 3 yards for a touchdown after Griffin’s fumble. They also got an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown from Dwayne Harris, who added a 90-yard kickoff return to set up another score.
Griffin was under tremendous pressure when he was hit by linebacker Kyle Wilber, who reached in from behind and ripped the ball away as the quarterback went to his knees.
Two plays later, Joseph Randle scored from a yard out to put the Cowboys up 31-16.
When the Redskins got the ball back, Griffin had a 26-yard pass to Santana Moss and was trying to hit him again when the receiver was tripped up and fell down without a flag being thrown. Orlando Scandrick backpedaled for the interception and fell on his rear-end in the back of the end zone, barely in bounds.
Washington was coming off an early open date, and Griffin said he was rejuvenated and feeling great. And he looked it early.
RG3, who won the Heisman Trophy two years ago playing for Baylor only about 100 miles from the Cowboys’ stadium, threw a 19-yard pass on his first snap and ran for 15 yards on the next play.
After Dallas (3-3) scored on its opening drive for the fifth time in six games this season, the Redskins responded by going 78 yards on 13 plays in more than 7½ minutes. They had to settle for the first of Kai Forbath’s three field goals after Griffin was tackled at the 2 on a third-and-goal scramble from the 9.
Griffin was 3-of-4 passing for 45 yards on the opening drive, the lone incompletion a drop by running back Alfred Morris that likely would have been a touchdown.
Morris busted loose for a 45-yard TD late in the third quarter, trimming Dallas’ lead to 21-16 a play after safety Barry Church was penalized for unnecessary roughness when he hit Griffin as the quarterback scrambled out of bounds.
It was the second time in the quarter that Church was penalized for a hit on Griffin along the sideline.
This was much different than Griffin’s first pro game against the Cowboys, when he threw for 301 yards and four TDs in a 38-31 victory on Thanksgiving last year.
That was part of a seven-game winning streak for the Redskins that included a winner-take-all regular-season finale against Dallas for the division title.
There were flags along the Redskins sideline after Harris’ punt return with 2:26 left in the first half. But the penalty was for someone not in uniform on the Redskins bench inadvertently bumping into an official during the play. The score stood and the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was enforced on the kickoff.
Another Washington penalty provided Harris with a second chance at a return. The Redskins were flagged for illegal motion, and Dallas accepted the penalty that forced them to kick again, setting up the fifth-longest punt return in Cowboys history.
After Forbath’s 33-yard field goal in the third quarter, Harris took the ensuing kickoff 5 yards deep in the end zone. He took off down the right sideline — again racing past the Washington bench — before finally being pushed out of bounds by E.J. Biggers at the 15.
Two plays later, Tony Romo threw a 15-yard TD to rookie Terrance Williams, who made a nifty catch to get both feet in bounds in the back corner of the end zone.
A week after having the first 500-yard passing game in Cowboys history during a 51-48 loss to Peyton Manning and Denver, Romo finished 18 of 30 for 170 yards.