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Robert Griffin III impresses coach, might start again

Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins looks

Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins looks to pass the ball during a game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 14, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: Mike Stobe

Robert Griffin III's time as Washington's starting quarterback might not be over yet.

After all the drama surrounding Griffin this season, and coach Jay Gruden's decision to start Colt McCoy over Griffin against the Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, Griffin was called upon in the first quarter after McCoy aggravated the neck injury that knocked him out of last week's game against the Rams.

Griffin looked good for much of the game and Gruden said he was proud of the way the quarterback competed in Washington's 24-13 loss. With McCoy's status unknown, Gruden said Griffin is definitely "in the mix" to start at quarterback Saturday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"We've got to get [McCoy's neck] checked out, make sure he's right before he attempts to come back again," Gruden said. "But Robert's definitely in the mix. He came out here, he competed, which I liked. Made some good throws, made some great plays with his legs."

Gruden did have some reservations. He was frustrated by Washington's lack of success on third down (4-for-14, including 3-for-12 with Griffin in the game) and with his team's struggles in the second half.

Gruden said some of those difficulties could be attributed to protection problems (Griffin was sacked seven times), but he also noted that most of Griffin's success came on plays in which he rolled out rather than on straight dropbacks.

"Eventually we are going to have to drop back and throw," Gruden said.

Griffin completed 18 of 27 passes for 236 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran five times for 46 yards (a 9.2 average), though he fumbled three times, losing one.

Washington seemed to be deflated after Griffin appeared to score on an 8-yard run on the final play of the first half, only to have it overturned after a replay determined he lost control of the football before he dived across the goal line.

"I feel like we shouldn't have let that play alter the game for us, but ultimately, it did," Griffin said. "It's a touchdown. That's how we all felt . . . I just don't understand, if the ball passes the plane and you have control of the ball, it's a touchdown in every game that I've ever seen. But they decided it wasn't today, obviously. So it's unfortunate."

Washington's Santana Moss picked up a pair of 15-yard penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct and was ejected after the call, and the Giants wound up kicking off from the Washington 35 to begin the second half. They recovered their onside kick and wound up with a field goal that tied the score at 10-10.

Washington was outscored 17-3 in the second half and managed only 107 yards of total offense after the break.

Griffin acknowledged making some mistakes -- he failed to get a pass away on a fourth-and-2 play early in the third quarter and was sacked -- but said "it was an honor" to get a chance to play in the game.

As to whether he thinks he played well enough to regain the starting job, Griffin said that is strictly up to Gruden.

"That's Coach's decision," Griffin said. "No matter what he decides, I'm going to be ready."

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