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Commentary: Griffin's Now Playing Smarter

Charles E. Sutton | 10/22/2012, 2:24 p.m.

The Washington Redskins are feeling good about themselves again, and for that matter, so is Robert Griffin III.

Griffin suffered a concussion against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 7. He spent the next seven days fighting off speculation about whether he'd be ready to play against the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 14. While some questioned his readiness, Griffin continued to pass every test.

Once the game started, Griffin appeared to be his usual dynamic self, guiding the Redskins to a 38-26 victory over the Vikings on Sunday at FedEx Field.

After he experienced several hard collisions over the first five weeks, Griffin played a much smarter game against Minnesota. He got over the notion of trying to be the toughest guy on the field, and chose to protect himself by opting out of collisions when he could.

Griffin slid on one carry and kept his head up on another. On his conversion of a short third-down run, he turned his back to oncoming defenders. He decided to step out of bounds a yard earlier to avoid being hit. The only play where Griffin risked a head-on-collision was when he stretched across the goal line on a 7-yard touchdown run.

It was the ideal way to keep Griffin productive, yet healthy. He was 17-for-22 passing for 182 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Coupled with his 13 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns, Griffin kept the Vikings off balance as the Redskins took control of the game, scoring 24 points over four possessions.

Now that Griffin is learning to protect to himself, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. He will continue his quest for NFL rookie of the year honors, and the Redskins can pursue the goal of achieving their first winning season since 2007. Washington is only one game behind the New York Giants as they enter their matchup Sunday.

The Redskins have scored thirty points or more three times this season. It has quietly become the team's new benchmark. Last year, Washington didn't score thirty points a single time, but when the defense allowed the Vikings to come within 31-26, Griffin quickly turned a pass play into a run. He dashed 76 yards into the end zone to put the game away.

So, the expectations for Griffin remain high, and after Sunday's performance we have reason to believe that he'll meet those expectations.