Giants, Ravens fall; Skins now 7-6, still in playoff hunt
The Washington Redskins draft dynamos Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris both set records while helping lead the team to victories over the first place NFC East (8-5) New York Giants and the first place AFC North (9-4) Baltimore Ravens. The two players have helped the Redskins win four straight games but they are not the only rookies who are having an immediate impact on the team and the season.
In the Monday night victory over the Giants, RGIII broke Cam Newton’s rookie rushing record by a quarterback. He finished the game with 714 rushing yards for the season, besting Newton’s 706 yards set in 2011.
Sixth-round pick from Florida Atlantic, Alfred Morris, finished the Giant game with 124 yards on 22 carries which gave him a team rookie rushing record of 1,106 yards for the season. The old record was 1,063 yards set by Reggie Brooks in 1993.
The following week these two first year players and other rookies also helped propel the team to a dramatic 31-28 overtime victory over the nearby Baltimore Ravens. This impressive win improved their record to 7-6 in a game where rookie quarterback sensation Robert Griffin III sprained his right knee and had to be helped off the field.
The rookie class of 2012 has helped Washington reverse a season that looked dismal after a defeat to the lowly Carolina Panthers on November 4th, which was part of a three game losing streak and a 3-6 record.
Rookie fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins from Michigan State replaced RGIII with 29 seconds left in the Ravens game and calmly hit Pierre Garcon with an 11-yard touchdown pass. He then ran a quarterback draw to make the two-point conversion and tie the game at 28-28.
Rookie cornerback Richard Crawford, a seventh-round pick out of Southern Methodist University, returned a punt for 64 yards and helped set up the game-winning field goal in the Ravens game.
Morris overcame a fumble and added to his rookie rushing record by gaining 122 yards on 23 carries and scoring one touchdown in the Ravens victory. He now has a record 1,228 yards for the season. He also broke the record for carries by a rookie. Mike Thomas held the record of 235 carries in 1975. Morris has 253 carries for the season. He also has six 100-yard rushing games. The last Redskin to do that was Clinton Portis in 2008.
Rookie field goal kicker Kai Forbath was on injured reserve with the Dallas Cowboys before he was added to the Redskin roster before the sixth game of the season. He connected on a 34-yard game winning field goal in the Ravens game. He went undrafted out of UCLA last year. Forbath is now 14-14 on field goals this year, with nine of the kicks over 40 yards. He received a game ball after the Ravens game.
Rookie RGIII, the second pick in the draft, has inspired the team with leadership and determination. Earlier in the season, RGIII said he would look to improve as a quarterback and said the playoffs were still in the picture in spite of their disappointing 3-6 record. He has backed up his words with an MVP caliber year. For the season he has thrown for 2,906 yards while completing 66.4 percent of his passes. He has thrown 18 touchdowns while only giving up four interceptions. He has also rushed for a record 748 yards and his 104.3 quarterback rating leads all rookie quarterbacks.
The Ravens victory gave the Redskins a record of 7-6. The last time the Redskins had a record above .500 in the month of December was 2008. Washington’s rookie class has the team headed in the right direction for this season and years to come as the team continues their pursuit of a now attainable playoff spot.