Robert Griffin III gave the Washington Redskins everything he had.
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Problem was, the Cincinnati Bengals defenders pounded the electric rookie every chance they got. And Griffin wasn't good enough by his beat-up self to overcome a leaky defense and complete a second-half comeback that fell just short in Sunday's 38-31 shootout loss to quarterback Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals in the Redskins' home opener at FedEx Field.
Last year's rookie star who led the Bengals to a playoff berth, Dalton lifted Cincinnati to a 2-1 start with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes after Griffin rallied the 1-2 Redskins to a 24-24 tie. All told, the Bengals scored on touchdowns of 73 yards -- on a first-play direct-snap wildcat throw from rookie receiver Mohammed Sanu to A.J. Green -- to support Dalton strikes of 59, 48 and 6 yards.
"We knew we had to keep scoring," said Dalton, who threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns. "With the way they play their offense and the guys that they have, they can put the ball in the end zone quickly.''
The reason was Griffin, the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner and second overall pick in the April draft who ran for 85 yards and one score and threw for 221 more yards and another touchdown.
Griffin's 2-yard sneak with 3:35 left cut Cincinnati's lead to the final margin.
But his last-play heave with six seconds left from Washington's 41-yard line fell incomplete after the Redskins were penalized for a 20-yard unsportsmanlike penalty after the Bengals had half their team on the field.
"They threw the flag on us,'' Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said of the replacement officials. "They called it unsportsmanlike conduct.
"At the end of the game, there were two officials on the sidelines who said the game was over. And you saw most of their coaches and players on the field. They thought there was a 10-second runoff.''
Which there wasn't.
"Obviously, when you kill the clock, which we did before that, it's a 5-yard penalty and there's no loss of 10 seconds,'' Shanahan said. "They threw the flag at us and there was half of the football team on the field.
"I was disappointed in that.''
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SOURCE: USA Today