They came out in their dangerous new running formation this season – with RG3 in the short shotgun (pistol), rookie running back Alfred Morris directly behind him, fullback Darrel Young in the backfield to Griffin’s left, and tight end Logan Paulsen to his right.
Only two wide receivers were in use: Leonard Hankerson, far left, and rookie Aldrick Robinson, far right.
The Cowboys were in a simple 5-2, with corners matching up on each of the wideouts, and two deep safeties.
RG3 took the snap and faked a handoff to Morris. Preceding Morris into the hole, off left guard, are fullback Young and tight end Paulsen.
Both of Dallas’ inside linebackers bite hard on the run fake, and both safeties freeze briefly.
That’s all it takes for the super-speedy Robinson to sprint past Danny McCray on a deep post. And Robinson already had left cornerback Brandon Carr in the dust.
Griffin dropped back, had time, and from his own 24-yard line effortlessly zipped a long, high spiral deep down the field. Robinson caught the ball at the Dallas 16 – a 60-yard pass – and jogged into the end zone, with Carr and McCray 5 to 10 yards behind him.
What a play.
This is why RG3 is so dynamic. The Cowboys’ two deep safeties had to be thinking run-support on first down, and one hesitation by one safety allowed a touchdown.
This is also why Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan and his offensive-coordinator son, Kyle, aren’t getting enough credit. They’re drawing up schemes with plays, such as this one, that utilize all of Griffin’s immense talents – and make defences pay for not respecting either Griffin’s ability to run (such as when he fakes a handoff and bolts around end), or his ability to throw accurate passes all over the field.
Griffin is 11 games into his career, folks. This is gonna be fun.
Vikings kicker Walsh practically perfect
NEW BIG PLAYER - Blair Walsh, placekicker, Minnesota Vikings
Earlier this season we profiled St. Louis Rams’ rookie placekicker Greg Zuerlein.
At that point, Zuerlein had been perfect on his field goals, and his Rams coaches apparently have as much confidence as he does that he can make kicks from 60-65 yards out – or even longer.
There’s another rookie placekicker who through 10 weeks has a leg as powerful as Zuerlein’s. Now Blair Walsh’s even more accurate than Zuerlein (who has cooled off to 18-of-22).
The Vikings rooke has made 23-of-24 field goals so far. His only miss was in late September, a 46-yarder when Minnesota was up by two scores late in a victory at Detroit.
Only Cleveland’s Phil Dawson, who’s perfect on 19 attempts, has a better success rate than Walsh’s 95.8%.
And get this: Walsh was terrible in his final season at the University of Georgia.
He made only 14-of-35 kicks as a senior. Among the misses were two in overtime of his last game, a 33-30 loss to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl this past Jan. 2.
So how does that guy become this guy 11 months later?
A lot of the credit goes to the Vikings – first for trusting that the kid had the potential to be a success in the NFL, and then for correcting his flaws.
Walsh’s biggest issue? He rushed everything.
“We knew from the (February scouting) combine, and from all of the film study, that when he did step back and slow things down, he was much more effective, much more consistent,” said Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer.
When Priefer pointed out Walsh’s woes after the Vikes drafted him in the sixth round in April, Priefer said he “saw the results early” and that it “really helped his confidence early on.”
In a game in Seattle, he lobbied his coaches to let him try a 67-yarder – four yards longer than the long-standing NFL record.
“In his mind he’s going to make (a field goal some day) from 70,” Priefer said. “That’s a young kid with a bunch of confidence – and maybe he would (make it). I don’t know, but I’m not going to put anything past him right now.”
In that Seattle game, Walsh made a 55-yarder that passed over the crossbar about three-quarters of the way up the uprights.
Priefer said he’d never seen a 55-yard field goal clear so high.
“That was unbelievable.”
What’s more, Walsh’s kickoffs generally sail at least halfway into the end zone, and often through it, which helps Minnesota’s coverage team.