With zero help from his offensive line, Robert Griffin III repeatedly wound up on the turf until leaving with a stinger and possible head injury after being sacked three times and fumbling twice Thursday night in the Washington Redskins' 21-17 exhibition victory over the Detroit Lions.
Griffin went 2 for 5 for 8 yards on four possessions for Washington (2-0). On his final play, early in the second quarter, he started to scramble but dropped the ball despite no contact. As the quarterback went to the ground to try to corral the loose ball, Lions defensive end Corey Wootton landed on Griffin.
For Detroit (1-1), Matthew Stafford looked good, going 6 of 8 for 78 yards and leading one scoring drive that ended with Matt Prater's 49-yard field goal.
When Griffin got hurt, he stayed down on the field for about 5 minutes and was tended to by trainers, while some teammates kneeled nearby. When Griffin eventually rose, he slowly stepped to the sideline, then kept going until he left the field and entered the tunnel that leads to the Redskins' locker room. Griffin gave a thumb's up to spectators as he trudged away.
The 2012 NFL Offensive Player of the Year's career has been marked by injuries and, the past two seasons, benchings. Despite public critiques from head coach Jay Gruden last year, Griffin was named the starting QB in February.
Gruden repeatedly said during training camp that he had seen progress from Griffin, but there was little evidence of that Thursday, thanks in part to little pass protection. Washington's offensive line was without Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams but did include the other four starters, including No. 5 overall draft pick Brandon Scherff at right guard.
Griffin's first fumble was recovered by the Redskins after a strip-sack on their opening possession. Early on, he had one pass batted down by linebacker Tahir Whitehead. Griffin later was driven to the turf by linebacker DeAndre Levy on a delayed blitz, and he was slammed down by defensive end Phillip Hunt, who blew past backup left tackle Willie Smith.
It capped a rough week for Griffin, who caused a national "firestorm," to use his word, with comments in a television interview about striving to be the best quarterback in the NFL. He complained that his remarks were taken out of context, saying after practice Tuesday: "It's unfortunate that my name keeps getting used for headlines for people to click on stories."
The Redskins have not scored a touchdown with Griffin in the game this preseason -- and they didn't last preseason, either.
His backups, Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins, each threw a touchdown pass Thursday. McCoy, though, fumbled away the ball from Detroit's 1 right before halftime.
Dan Orlovsky made a strong case for earning the Lions' No. 2 QB job, going 13 for 17 for 118 yards and two TD throws as rain fell off and on.