Skip to main content

Robert Griffin III Has a Blast Winning in First Start in Three Years


The pose said it all.

A downpour. A tough Steelers defense. Five Pro Bowlers missing from the offense. None of that mattered.

Robert Griffin III had a blast in his first start in three years.

The Ravens' backup quarterback, stepping in with soon-to-be MVP Lamar Jackson resting, helped Baltimore secure a 28-10 win in the regular-season finale.

Griffin finished the game 11-of-21 for 96 yards. He also ran eight times for 50 yards. He didn't throw a touchdown, but he also protected the football until a meaningless tipped interception on his last snap. Against the NFL's No. 4-ranked defense that led the league in takeaways, in a sometimes-driving rain at M&T Bank Stadium, that's literally a win.

Griffin's best pass was a 20-yard rip to tight end Hayden Hurst on third-and-12, which put the Ravens in scoring range for a third field goal that put them ahead for good.

After the throw, Griffin struck a pose as if to say, "Yup, still got it!"

"I don't know what that pose was," Griffin said with a laugh. "Knowing what I can do and my ability, I wanted to show it. And on that play, it happened."

Griffin wasn't perfect, but he completed passes to move the chains in some tough situations, and showed he can still make teams pay with his speed as a runner, and more.

"He played really well," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "These were tough circumstances. It was muddy, it was rainy. It wasn't an easy game to throw the ball. He made some clutch throws. He made some big runs for us, operated the offense … against a defense that's really creative and was doing a lot of different things out there to stop us. So he just played the position excellent."

The last time Griffin started a game was on Jan 1, 2017, also against the Steelers. He was a member of the Cleveland Browns then, and it was his last game for quite a while. Griffin spent the entire following season out of football before Baltimore brought him back into the NFL in 2018.

Griffin has done everything right since then, advising Jackson whenever appropriate and desired. He's given the Ravens' defense a stiff test in practice each week, taking his job of emulating the opponents' quarterback with the utmost seriousness.

Sunday night was his chance to shine again, but he still reveled in his teammates' success (and had fun with his own as well).

"All week I talked about, 'It's not about me,' and it's not about me," Griffin said. "But we were able to finish the season with the best record in Ravens history at 14-2. That means everything. To keep our win streak going, that means everything. To play like that in those conditions, that means everything."

With that said, there was no doubt that it had a lot of personal significance to Griffin, who hasn't been shy about saying he wants to be a starter in the NFL one day. The former No. 2-overall pick and Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 was once one of the league's hottest stars. His career hasn't followed the script he once envisioned.

But Griffin proved Sunday night that he can still be a relied-upon quarterback in this league. A lot of quarterbacks have looked quite bad against this Steelers defense, even when surrounded by fellow starters.

"He's done a great job as a team member first," Harbaugh said. "And here's a player that's been at the pinnacle. To come in here and contribute to the team the way he does, it just speaks to his character."

"We just wanted to win it for 'RG,'" wide receiver Willie Snead IV said. "He's been through so much. He's a great dude in the locker room, a hard worker, and he deserves it. Getting this victory for him and for everybody, it means a lot."

Griffin put the exclamation point on his night with a 10-yard run that picked up a first down in the final minutes. After getting up, he prowled down the field and gave an emphatic first down signal.

And with that, fans at M&T Bank Stadium chanted, "RG3! RG3!"

"I wanted to savor this moment because I don't know when I'll get an opportunity to start again. That's why I wanted to have fun," Griffin said. "I've never really been a first-down signal guy, but I was today."

On the very next play, after handing the ball off, he got pushed face-first into the turf by a Steelers linebacker.

The only bummers of Griffin's night were the late interception and the Steelers' late hits. Time after time, Steelers defenders hit Griffin after he handed the ball off.

"They're basically trying to go out there and punk me, hit me every play and see if I can take that," Griffin said. "I think I showed them that I'm built for that. I can take any hit – clean, dirty or whatever. I think I got their respect after the game."

It wasn't just the Steelers' respect that Griffin earned on a night to remember.

Related Content