Robert Griffin III has been waiting a long time to get a chance like he had Sunday in Atlanta.
The veteran quarterback spent last year out of the NFL, watching games from home and wondering if he'd ever get another chance to play. The Ravens gave him an opportunity by signing him in the offseason, and he earned his spot on Baltimore's roster with an impressive training camp.
But he'd spent nearly the entire 2018 season watching from the sidelines, preparing for the moment to prove himself, and that's exactly what he did in Sunday's 26-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Griffin entered the game in the third quarter as Lamar Jackson was evaluated for a concussion, and he orchestrated a 14-play drive that ended in a field goal to extend the Ravens' lead to 16-10.
"Personally, it's emotional because a year ago no one thought I'd be playing in the NFL ever again," Griffin said. "That was a special moment for me, but I tried not to make that the focal point of what was going on. We were in the heat of the game and we needed to get the win."
The Ravens stuck with their run-heavy game plan when Griffin entered the game, but he still looked sharp throwing the football. He completed two-of-four passes for 21 yards, and the Ravens took 8 minutes, 8 seconds off the clock on the field-goal drive.
"I just tried to stay calm and let everybody know that I've been preparing and studying the gameplan, so I felt like there was no difference when I get out there," Griffin said. "We took a lot of time off the clock and shortened the game. I think that drive was instrumental in helping us secure the win."
Griffin hadn't thrown a pass in a regular season game since Week 17 of the 2016 season with the Cleveland Browns, but he didn't look rusty or flustered when he entered the game. The calm demeanor from the 28-year-old quarterback rubbed off on his teammates and helped keep the Ravens from getting into a bad situation while Jackson was sidelined.
"I don't think anyone really thought twice when we saw him in there," tight end Nick Boyle said. "I really admire him because of everything that he's been through. He comes in here and he's not playing all the time, but the way that he goes out and practices and prepares is like he is. That's something I really look up to him for, and that's why when he went in the game, nobody really flinched or thought anything because of how he holds himself on a daily basis."
"He didn't blink," veteran right guard Marshal Yanda added. "It's next man up and he's our backup quarterback right now, and I think he did well."
Griffin saw only one series of work because Jackson was cleared from the concussion protocol before the Ravens offense went back on the field. But his performance Sunday showed that he's more capable of stepping into the lineup if the Ravens need him, which is exactly why the Ravens opted to keep him on the roster throughout the season.
"It just goes to show how hard I've been working and how much I've been in tune with what we're doing, to make sure that when I go out there, there's no difference," Griffin said. "I was able to allow the emotions to come out on the sideline once Lamar came back, but in the heat of the game it was just, go out there and execute the game plan and let the guys know that everything was going to be fine. And I think that we showed that."
Check out the best shots from Sunday's Week 13 game in Atlanta.