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RG3 talks about ‘demons’ after 27-6 loss to 49ers

November 26, 2013

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — After what probably qualifies as the lowest of the many low points in his second NFL season, Robert Griffin III sat on a folding chair in the locker room and chatted with his father for several minutes.

There was much to discuss.

Griffin and the Redskins lost 27-6 to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night, a third consecutive defeat that dropped last-place Washington’s record to 3-8 one season after winning the NFC East.

“We’ve got to conquer some of the demons that we have going on as an offense,” Griffin said, “and just as a team in general.”

He started the evening with four incompletions. When he finally completed his fifth pass, the play lost a yard. His sixth attempt was intercepted.

What was, at least on the scoreboard, a close game at halftime — the 49ers led 10-6 — became a rout in the second half, when Washington compiled 30 total net yards. The Redskins finished with only 190.

“What am I supposed to do, come up here and talk about how bad we are? That’s not my job,” Griffin said at his news conference, his gold jersey pants covered with splotches of grass stains thanks to four sacks and more than a half-dozen other hits.

Griffin finished 17 for 27 for 127 yards passing and the interception, following a week chock-full of even-greater-than-usual scrutiny for the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

His use of pronouns was parsed (as in, how often he says “I″ or “me” as opposed to “we”), and so it was fascinating to hear him say Monday: “Right now, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot way too often. It’s a team game and we have to play better team football.”

His relationship with head coach Mike Shanahan was interpreted plenty, too.

“People are trying to character assassinate me,” the man known as RG3 said, “and it’s unfortunate.”

The Redskins are on pace for what would be a third last-place finish in four seasons under Shanahan, who is 24-36 (a .400 winning percentage) in Washington, including the playoffs.

The exception was a year ago, when the Redskins overcame a 3-6 start by winning their last seven games of the regular season to win the division.

But that was when everything Griffin did turned to magic, it seemed.

He is not the same player this season. Not even close.

And it’s about more than the state of his famous right knee, which was repaired after ligament damage in last season’s playoff loss and carries a cumbersome black brace nowadays.

Griffin’s passing touch is not nearly what it was in 2012. Throws hit the dirt short or wide of the mark or sailed over receivers Monday.

His interception on the last play of the first quarter — San Francisco turned that into a field goal — was Griffin’s 11th pick this season, more than double his total of five for all of 2012. He still is without a rushing TD this season. He had seven last season.

On Monday, Griffin ran six times for 22 yards.

“We expected him to run around a little bit more,” 49ers running back NaVorro Bowman said.

Washington had plenty of other problems, including a defense that allowed San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick to turn his best game in quite a while.

He completed 15 of 24 passes for 235 yards — the first time in five games he’s topped 200 — along with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Over and over, Kaepernick found receivers open near cornerback Josh Wilson.

“Probably wasn’t one of his better games,” Shanahan said about Wilson.

There was a sloppy sequence at the end of the first half for Washington’s offense, including a timeout called while the clock was already stopped on a hurry-up drive.

And there was the chance for momentum, and perhaps a lead, when the Redskins recovered a fumble on the third play of the second half.

That gave Washington the ball in San Francisco territory, but on fourth-and-2 at the 41, Washington gave the ball to backup tailback Roy Helu — generally used as a change-of-pace back — and he was stopped short.

The Niners took over the ball on downs there and drove 60 yards for a TD.

That, basically, was that.

Shanahan said the Redskins got “embarrassed.”

He added that his team hadn’t been “dominated like that since I’ve been here.”

Notes: The Redskins last played a home game with zero TDs and fewer than 200 total net yards in 2003, during a 27-0 loss to Dallas, according to STATS. ... RB Alfred Morris ran 14 times for 52 yards.


Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich


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