Robert Griffin III’s longest run of the day against the Detroit Lions ended in disaster. With the score tied 17-17, Griffin ripped off a 21-yard scramble but fumbled the ball on the play as he dived head first instead of sliding (GIF here). The Lions recovered the fumble and marched down the field to take a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Griffin spoke after the loss about the fateful play. While he didn’t deflect responsibility for the error, he did indicate that he found the rule “sucky.” Here’s what Griffin had to say:
I was trying to declare myself down, avoid the big hit from the safety coming from the middle, knee down, elbow down. But it’s the rule. It can be a sucky rule, but it still one of the NFL rules. And they said it’s a fumble. … I’ve just got to make sure if I dive forward, hold onto the ball. And then if I slide feet first, then it’s not a fumble (USA Today Sports).
Here’s the rule Griffin was referring to: “[If] a runner slides feet first, the ball is dead the instant he touches the ground with anything other than his hands or his feet.” Since Griffin dove instead of slid, the ball was not rule dead when he made contact with the ground.
Despite the blunder, Griffin still had a solid statistical day, throwing for 326 yards on 32-of-50 passing and running for an additional 37 yards on six carries. Still, the performance was not enough to secure the win, and Washington is now 0-3 on the year.
[Source: USA Today Sports]