Griffin III strong, but Redskins fall short

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) runs past St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford on his way to a touchdown run during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in St. Louis. /Photo: Tom Gannam/AP
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) runs past St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford on his way to a touchdown run during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in St. Louis. /Photo: Tom Gannam/AP

ST. LOUIS — Despite his second consecutive strong game, Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III was disappointed with his team’s finish.

He accounted for 288 total yards and three touchdowns, but the Redskins didn’t score in the final 20 minutes of a 31-28 loss to the Rams on Sunday.

“I don’t feel good after a loss and no one should,” Griffin said. “The day you do is the day you should quit.”

He completed 20 of 29 passes for 206 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson in the second quarter, and one interception. He also had 11 carries for 82 yards and two scores.

“I thought this was a tough environment and I thought he made some plays,” Washington coach Mike Shanahan said. “I was very impressed with how he handled himself. It will keep on being a learning experience, every game he goes into he is going to learn from it just like he did today. He made a number of plays.”

It looked as if the No. 2 overall draft pick from Baylor might produce some late-game heroics against the team that traded that pick to Washington before the draft.

Washington (1-1) recovered a fumble with 2:40 remaining at its 37 and trailing 31-28.

The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner had one final opportunity to rally the Redskins.

Griffin drove Washington down the field without any timeouts. He threw a 5-yard pass to Evan Royster, then a 9-yard pass to Santana Moss.

He scrambled out of bounds after 11 yards to stop the clock with 1:53 left. Following an incomplete pass, he hit Moss again for 2 yards and then connected with Josh Morgan near the right sideline for a 7-yard gain to move the Redskins within field goal range at the 29.

But Morgan reacted after being tackled by Cortland Finnegan, tossing the ball at the Rams cornerback and drawing an unsportsmanlike penalty to push Washington back 15 yards.

“I just got to keep my cool, be the bigger person,” Morgan said.

Shanahan said the team talked before they game about not losing poise in situations such as that.

“Obviously there was a lot of chirping in the first half and a lot in the second half, but you can’t lose your poise,” Shanahan said. “When you lose your poise like that too often it will cost you games.”

After a St. Louis timeout with 1:18 remaining, the Redskins called on Billy Cundiff to attempt a 62-yard field goal — 6 yards beyond the career-long 56-yarder he had in 2005 — and the kick was several yards short.

“We lost the game so I didn’t make enough plays to help the team win,” Griffin said. “That’s the bottom line. You’re judged on wins and losses and we didn’t win the game.”

The Rams (1-1) rallied behind quarterback Sam Bradford, who threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns, and Danny Amendola, who caught 15 passes for 160 yards.

Running back Steven Jackson sat out most of the last three quarters after drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for spiking the ball, but coach Jeff Fisher said it was because Jackson had a groin strain.

“It had nothing to do with the spike,” Fisher said. “His groin was real tight and we just didn’t want to subject him to it. I didn’t think he’d be 100 percent.”

Jackson said he thought he’d be able to re-enter the game, but said the groin tightened on him.

Griffin led the Redskins to a 21-6 lead, but the Rams came back thanks to Amendola. The receiver tied an NFL record 12 first-half receptions, and caught a 1-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 21-16 at the half.

Bradford had second-half scoring passes of 34 yards to Brandon Gibson and 1 yard to Matthew Mulligan.

The Redskins got a final shot after DeAngelo Hall recovered running back Daryl Richardson’s fumble at the Washington 37 with 2:40 to go.

The Rams took the lead on Bradford’s TD pass to Mulligan in the fourth quarter, and Richardson ran it in on a 2-point conversion for a 31-28 lead. Mulligan had partially blocked Sav Rocca’s punt to give the Rams the ball at the Washington 24.

Jackson spiked the ball after getting ruled short of the goal line on a third down carry from the 1. It came a play after the Rams successfully challenged a lost fumble call on Jackson.

Amendola had a rough start, fumbling after a 13-yard catch on the Rams’ first snap, with Josh Wilson returning it 30 yards for his fifth career defensive touchdown.

Amendola recovered nicely, matching the first-half NFL record set by the Colts’ Reggie Wayne in 2007, while tying his career best game total.

The Redskins lost defensive end Adam Carriker and outside linebacker Brian Orakpo to injuries early in the first quarter, while Rams offensive tackle Rodger Saffold was helped off with a right knee injury. Carriker injured his right knee on the Redskins’ second snap on defense.

— Associated Press