RG3, McCoy, Megatron look for big second halves
Robert Griffin III spun away from a defender, eluded a sack, rolled out and tossed a 24-yard pass to keep a drive going.
Yes, RG3 is back.
Griffin threw for 251 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and ran for 24 yards in his first game since dislocating his left ankle in Week 2. The Washington Redskins (3-6) lost at Minnesota 29-26 on Sunday, snapping a two-game winning streak led by third-string quarterback Colt McCoy.
But now they have their dynamic playmaker under center and the rest of the season will help determine whether Griffin has a future with the team.
“Let me play football, man. Let me play football,” Griffin said. “That’s our job to go out there and have fun and be the players we can be.”
Griffin was The Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 when he helped the Redskins overcome a 3-6 start to win seven straight games and the NFC East title. But he tore his ACL in a playoff loss to Seattle and has had three major leg injuries over six college and NFL seasons.
Griffin is under contract through 2015, and the Redskins next spring will have to decide whether to exercise a team option for 2016. He has to prove he fits into coach Jay Gruden’s offense and can be a productive pocket passer and all-around player.
Other players you should hear from in the second half:
LeSean McCoy: After leading the NFL with a franchise-record 1,607 yards rushing in 2013, McCoy ran for only 192 yards and averaged just 2.7 yards per carry in the first month for Philadelphia.
Critics said he lost a step. Some wondered why veteran Darren Sproles, who was running effectively, didn’t get more carries.
But McCoy responded with 430 yards in the next four games, including 117 in Sunday’s win at Houston. With Mark Sanchez taking over for injured quarterback Nick Foles, expect the Eagles to ride McCoy down the stretch.
“Every time I get 100 yards it’s a big deal,” McCoy said. “I’m used to just doing it.”
A.J. Green: The three-time Pro Bowl receiver caught a touchdown pass in Cincinnati’s win on Sunday after missing three games with an injured big right toe.
Green has only played in four games for the Bengals (5-2-1). He has 20 catches for 358 yards and three TDs. Getting Green healthy and more involved in the offense should help Andy Dalton get going. Dalton only has eight TD passes.
Expect Green to team with Mohamed Sanu to bolster Cincinnati’s passing attack for a playoff push.
“They wanted to work me in slowly,” Green said after playing half the offensive snaps against the Jaguars. “I’ll be ready.”
Calvin Johnson: The three-time All-Pro wide receiver has only 22 catches and hasn’t played since Oct. 5 because of an ankle injury.
Johnson started with a typical monster performance in Week 1, catching seven passes for 164 yards and two TDs in Detroit’s rout over the Giants. But he caught 15 passes for 184 yards and no TDs over the next four games.
The Lions (6-2) have won three straight games without Johnson. Look for Megatron to return to form in the second half.
Jadeveon Clowney: The No. 1 overall pick has only played two games after sitting out the first six following arthroscopic knee surgery and missing the last one because of an unspecified illness.
Clowney hasn’t been on the field much since Houston drafted him in May. The outside linebacker had sports hernia surgery in the offseason and suffered a concussion during training camp before injuring his knee in the season opener.
Clowney should give the Texans (4-5) a boost, providing another fierce pass rusher to complement two-time All-Pro J.J. Watt.
Mark Ingram: The former first-round pick has emerged as the go-to back in New Orleans. He became the first Saints running back to have back-to-back 100-yard rushing games since Deuce McAllister in 2006. Ingram is averaging 4.9 yards per carry and has a team-high six touchdowns. Figure to see Drew Brees giving Ingram the ball more as the Saints (4-4) try to stay atop the NFC South.
Some players don’t have a promising outlook after being busts in the first half. They are:
Geno Smith: The second-year quarterback committed 12 turnovers (10 interceptions, two fumbles) before the New York Jets (1-8) turned to Michael Vick. Smith capped his dismal performance by throwing interceptions on three straight possessions in a loss to Buffalo on Oct. 25. He’s nursing a shoulder injury and will be carrying a clipboard when he returns.
Doug Martin: Since running for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie in 2012, Martin has 622 yards rushing and two TDs in two seasons with Tampa Bay. He’s missed 13 games because of injuries and is trending downward.
Zac Stacy: After a promising rookie year, Stacy has fallen to third behind Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham on St. Louis’ depth chart. He has 257 yards rushing and didn’t get a carry in Sunday’s win over the 49ers.
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