Robert Griffin III blames ‘dumb rule’ for his critical fumble
Robert Griffin III does not like to slide. Most scrambling quarterbacks are either fast enough to get out of bounds or used to breaking tackles, so RG3 has never really perfected the art of giving himself up to avoid contact. Had he slid during a crucial possession of Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Lions, the Redskins would have maintained possession of the ball.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter with the score tied 17-17, RG3 took off and ran for 21 yards — his longest rush of the season. Instead of sliding, he dove head first and fumbled the ball without being touched. Because he dove, the ball was still live.
“Yeah, it’s the rule,” Griffin said after the game, via DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg. “And it’s a stupid rule. You’d think if you declare yourself down that you’d be down. I mean, I wasn’t falling. I was trying to get down to avoid a hit, slide, be out there for my team. Knee down, elbow down, and then the ball comes out. According to them, it’s a fumble. That’s just the way it goes. It just sucks.”
The concept was the same as sliding, but the rule book does not see it that way. Once a quarterback slides, the play is dead. That means as soon as his backside touches the ground he cannot fumble. However, a player must be touched in order to be ruled down after diving head first. RG3 hadn’t been touched, so the ball was free for the Lions to recover.
The simple solution here? Griffin needs to learn to slide. For starters, it will protect him from taking any unnecessary hits. As an added perk, he might not be able to cough up the ball as easily.