Reporting Chuck Carroll
OAKLAND, Calif. (CBSDC) — It started like the first three games of the year, but for the first time this season Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins were able to walk away with a win.
Griffin threw a go-ahead touchdown pass late in the third quarter and David Amerson returned an interception for another score to help the Washington Redskins overcome an early 14-point deficit to beat the banged-up Oakland Raiders 24-14 Sunday for their first win of the season.
The Redskins (1-3) looked ready to extend the worst start for the franchise since 2001 when Oakland jumped out to an early lead after Sav Rocca’s punt was blocked and recovered in the end zone by Jeremy Stewart on Washington’s second drive.
Matt Flynn, who unexpectedly started in place of Terrelle Pryor, orchestrated a 10-play, 81-yard drive that was capped by an 18-yard touchdown pass to Mychal Rivera on Oakland’s next possession to push the lead to two scores.
But the much-maligned Washington defense allowed the Raiders (1-3) no more points, taking advantage of an offense that was without Pryor the entire game and starting running backs Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece for most of it.
Amerson started the comeback when he stepped in front of Flynn’s pass to Denarius Moore and raced in for the touchdown that cut Oakland’s lead to 14-10.
The Redskins weren’t able to score their first offensive touchdown until late in the third quarter when Griffin found Pierre Garçon in the end zone from five yards out.
The Oakland offense struggled to generate much of anything without its entire starting backfield and the Raiders lost a game they led by at least 14 points after the first quarter for the first time since 1998 against Kansas City.
Flynn was sacked seven times during Washington’s best defensive performance of the year. Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Barry Cofield each brought down Flynn twice, while Darryl Tapp added his first sack as a Redskin.
Kerrigan forced a fumble on his second sack of the afternoon that set up Roy Helu Jr.’s 14-yard run to give Washington a 24-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
It was a rare good day for a Washington defense that allowed 1,464 yards of offense through three games — the most through a team’s first three games since the 1951 New York Yanks gave up 1,494, according to STATS LLC. The Yanks folded after that season.
Even the usually reliable Sebastian Janikowski was off his game for the Raiders, missing a 52-yard field goal attempt wide left midway through the third quarter after Logan Paulsen lost a fumble.
Alfred Morris, bottled up most of the game, had three carries for 29 yards on the ensuing drive before leaving with bruised ribs.
The Raiders didn’t settle on a starting quarterback until Saturday night when it was determined Pryor could not go after sustaining a concussion last Monday in Denver.
Washington now enters a bye week before next playing the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.
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