Robert Griffin III gave Washington Redskins fans all he could in the team’s home opener, but even a 300-yard outing and two touchdowns from the rookie quarterback sensation couldn’t overcome a hot Cincinnati Bengals offense as Washington fell, 38-31, at FedEx Field on Sept. 23

Cincinnati piled up nearly 500 total yards as second-year quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 385 passing yards and three touchdowns, and held off an inspired Washington comeback from a 24-7 first-half deficit.

Washington tallied 17 straight points to even the game at 24-24 late in the third quarter, topped off when Griffin found receiver Santana Moss for a three-yard score. But Cincinnati answered with two straight scoring drives, pushing their lead to 38-24 behind two touchdown passes from Dalton. Washington simply couldn’t generate pressure on the Bengals quarterback with top pass rushers Brian Orakpo (pectoral muscle) and Adam Carriker (quadriceps tear) out for the season with injuries suffered Sept. 16 against the St. Louis Rams.

Griffin found the end zone one more time on a short draw play to cut Washington’s deficit to a single touchdown, but the ensuing onside kick was recovered by Cincinnati.

Griffin had another chance when Cincinnati had to hand the ball back to Washington with just under two minutes left in the game. A 15-yard sack and two penalties on the following play, one a 20-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, drove Washington into a 3rd and 50 situation. Griffin’s last attempt fell incomplete and Cincinnati (2-1) celebrated their first road win of the season.

Washington (1-2) will try to rebound next Sept. 30 on the road against Tampa Bay (1-2).

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO