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NFC East: Griffin Continues To Improve As A Runner


This won't solve the litany of other problems besting the Washington Redskins – like their atrocious defense and special teams – but their offense is hitting its stride.

Paced by Robert Griffin III, the Washington attack looked like the one that roared to the NFC East title over the second half of 2012 on Sunday against Chicago. The Redskins put up nearly 500 yards of offense in the 45-41 victory, with Griffin throwing for 298 yards and rushing for a season-high 84.

It's fair to point out that the Bears are dealing with a bit of an injury bug – perhaps an even bigger one than the Cowboys. Chicago's top two defensive tackles and middle linebacker are out for the season, and on Sunday the Bears lost mainstays Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman in the second half.

It's still impressive to see what the Washington offense is capable of when Griffin can get his arms and his legs moving. The second-year quarterback ran for just 72 total yards in the Redskins' four games before the bye week.

In the two games since that break, a loss to Dallas and the win against Chicago, he's carried the ball 20 times for 161 yards. In addition to Griffin's improving running ability, Alfred Morris and Roy Helu Jr. chipped in on Sunday to give the Redskins 209 total rushing yards.

It's evident what that kind of success can mean for the passing game. Griffin threw an early interception to Tillman, but he rebounded efficiently. He only needed to throw 11 passes during a furiously-paced second half, and he completed eight of them for 133 yards and a touchdown.

Unfortunately for RG3 and Co., that balanced, productive offense is coupled with an awful defense. And someone in the District should do some work with the punt coverage team.

Devin Hester is the most prolific punt returner since Deion Sanders, and he proved it when he tied PrimeTime's record for return touchdowns at 19 in the game Sunday. It doesn't change the fact that the Redskins surrendered a punt return touchdown for the second straight week.

Washington has also allowed 407 combined return yards to the Bears and Cowboys in the past two weekend. Yikes. [embedded_ad]

On top of that, the Bears played 75 percent of the game with Josh McCown at quarterback in place of an injured Jay Cutler. The backup was plenty effective, completing 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown.

It's scary to think what the Redskins are capable of if Griffin continues to improve on his slow start. The Redskins are fourth in the league in total yards per game. But they're going to need to do something – anything – about the rest of their team if they expect to climb back to .500.

What's scary for Washington? Probably that looming trip to Denver in six days.

What to watch for tonight:

I'm calling for the Giants to get into the win column at home against Minnesota. With no running game to speak of, I'm guessing Eli Manning bombs away for 350-plus yards. Just a hunch.

Of course, if there was ever a time to take a break from football, it's when the 1-4 Vikings travel to play the 0-6 Giants. I can't say I'd blame you if you took the night off.

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