The game started out much like the first three weeks have for the Washington Redskins, down by 14 early on.
The Redskins surrendered an early touchdown to the Raiders after a blocked punt from Sav Rocca was recovered in the end-zone.
Matt Flynn, who was unexpectedly making his first start for Oakland in place of Terrelle Pryor, took the Raiders on a 10 play, 81-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Mychal Rivera on the next drive. Little did Oakland know but they would not score again.
The Redskins were able to use the no-huddle offense to spark things in the second quarter which lead to 24 unanswered points. “It gives you a little spark,” Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III said. “I’ve run no-huddle a lot at all levels of football, high school and college and here. It was a spark for us. It caught them off guard. Our team did a good job executing it. It’s a curveball you can throw every now and then. When nothing’s going your way, you’ve got to try something,” Griffin said. “We went to it and it worked. I think the guys responded to it well. It kind of tired their defense out a little bit and we were able to move the ball more consistently and convert third downs. So that was a good thing.”
David Amerson made perhaps the play of the day by intercepting a pass by Flynn and returning it 45 yards for his first NFL touchdown to keep the comeback going.
The Redskins had seven sacks on the day defensively led by the combination of Barry Cofield, Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo, who all had two sacks each. Darryl Tapp also had his first sack as a Redskins player. The Redskins took advantage of injuries to Raider runningbacks Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece allowing only 25 yards rushing in the second half while making the Raiders offense one dimensional.
Alfred Morris suffered bruised ribs in the third quarter and didn’t return to the game. His absence open the door for Roy Helu to show his talents. Helu had 84 total yards on the afternoon. The highlight of Helu’s day was a two-play, fourth-quarter sequence (a 28-yard catch-and-run followed by a powerful 14-yard touchdown carry). Griffin dropped back, looked deep, found nothing, stepped up, executed a spin move, rolled right and hit Roy Helu Jr. in stride about 10 yards downfield. Helu contributed to the highlight quality of the play by hurdling (A move we call the Helu-copter) over a would-be tackler and getting a few more yards down to the 14 (Helu ran the ball in for a score on the next play).
“I talked to the offensive line, asked them to give me a little time because we had a deep concept going. I came out of it,” said Griffin. “No. 1 and 2 (his first and second options) weren’t there so I had to pull it down and try to get to No. 4. They did a good job holding up on the play and then Helu actually did a great job running an off-schedule route as well. You get out that, the backside corner blitzed, that’s what made me have to step up and move out of it. Then I rolled out and got it to Helu.”
After giving up 1,464 total yards in the first three weeks of the season the Redskins defense gave up only 298 to Oakland. The Redskins still had issues with tackling but were able to get the win anyways over the home standing Raiders.
While the victory was by no means pretty, the Redskins players said they will take it. “We had to do whatever it takes to come out of this 1-3 going into the bye week,” said quarterback Robert Griffin III.