Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III took the NFL by storm this season, living up to the hype surrounding his selection. The Redskins are NFC East Champions for the first time in a generation, and enter the postseason riding a seven-game winning streak.
Here is a look back at each 2012 game that helped and hurt the Redskins along the way:
Week 1: Redskins (1-0) 40, Saints (0-1) 32.
Defining Moment: Big time offseason acquisitions Robert Griffin III and Pierre Garçon teamed up for the first of several highlight reel plays this season, this one in the form of an 88-yard touchdown to open the 2012 season. The Redskins never looked back in this contest, as Griffin III earned his first NFL win in emphatic fashion. Unheralded sixth-round draft pick Alfred Morris gained 96 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns.
Week 2: Redskins (1-1) 28, Rams (1-1) 31.
Defining Moment: The Rams played a physical brand of football from the opening whistle, causing tempers to flare as the game wore on. The Redskins had the ball in field goal range during the final minute of the game, but receiver Joshua Morgan drew a personal foul penalty for throwing the ball at cornerback Cortland Finnegan. The 15-yard penalty pushed the Redskins out of field goal range, and kicker Billy Cundiff was short and wide right on a desperation attempt. Redskins lost more than the game, as outside linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker were placed on injured reserve.
Week 3: Redskins (1-2) 31, Bengals (2-1) 38.
Defining Moment: The Bengals came out with a razzle-dazzle approach, lining up quarterback Andy Dalton at wide receiver and putting rookie receiver Mohamed Sanu under center. In the ensuing chaos on defense, A.J. Green got behind the Redskins secondary and hauled in a 73-yard touchdown for the quick-strike score. The Redskins tried to keep pace, but the Bengals outlasted them, handing the Redskins’ their second-straight loss. This pushed the Redskins’ home losing streak to seven games.
Week 4: Redskins (2-2) 24, Buccaneers (1-3) 22.
Defining Moment: Clinging to a two-point lead in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, Robert Griffin III and the Redskins’ offense watched the Buccaneers’ offense move down the field for a field goal and the lead. Griffin III then led his team 56 yards in the final 1:39, calling a few of his own plays when the radio in his helmet cut out. His efforts set up a game-winning 41-yard field goal from Billy Cundiff, who was one-for-four on the day, giving Griffin III his first NFL fourth-quarter comeback.
Week 5: Redskins (2-3) 17, Falcons (5-0) 24.
Defining Moment: Griffin III struggled against the Falcons’ defense, completing 10-of-15 passes for only 91 yards before being knocked out of the game with a concussion. Rookie backup Kirk Cousins found some magic in the form of a 77-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss, and had two opportunities to lead the team on game-tying or winning drives. Unfortunately, two errant passes were intercepted in the game’s final two minutes to seal a Falcons’ victory. This was the Redskins’ eighth-consecutive loss at home, the longest active streak in the NFL.
Week 6: Redskins (3-3) 38, Vikings (4-3) 26.
Defining Moment: The Redskins scored a decisive victory against the NFC’s second-best team, breaking a Redskins’ streak of eight-straight losses at FedExField. Griffin III led his team in passing (182) and rushing (138) yards, including an electrifying 76-yard scamper for the game-sealing touchdown. The Redskins’ defense held MVP candidate running back Adrian Peterson to under 100 yards (78) for only the fifth time this season, and nearly 50 yards below NFL-leading 126.5 yards per game.
Week 7: Redskins (3-4) 23, Giants (5-2) 27.
Defining Moment: A 30-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss gave the Redskins the go-ahead score with less than two minutes remaining, but the Giants didn’t needed only 19 seconds to reverse their fortune. On second down from the Giants’ 23-yard line, Eli Manning found Victor Cruz over the middle, who streaked past double-coverage for a 77-yard touchdown. The loss negated strong performances by Moss and Alfred Morris, who rushed for a career-high 120 yards and was named the NFL Rookie of the Week.
Week 8: Redskins (3-5) 12, Steelers (4-3) 27.
Defining Moment: The Redskins’ offense turned in a miserable performance on a rainy afternoon in Pittsburgh, illustrated by 11 drops on offense and a missed extra point on special teams. The Steelers played it close until halftime, but the Redskins’ never threatened in the second half. Without injured receiver Pierre Garçon in the lineup, the Redskins were struggling to move the ball consistently, lacking both his speed and sure hands downfield.
Week 9: Redskins (3-6) 13, Panthers (2-6) 21.
Defining Moment: Celebrating Homecoming Weekend, the Redskins came out flat in front of more than 150 Redskins Alumni and a soldout crowd. The Redskins’ secondary struggled again, as they gave up their second 75-plus yard reception in three weeks, this time an 82-yard bomb to Armanti Edwards. The Redskins never led after the opening field goal, and entered the Week 10 bye week with their third-straight loss.
Week 11: Redskins (4-6) 31, Eagles (3-7) 6.
Defining Moment: Teeing off on an injury-depleted Eagles offense, the Redskins’ defense had a hallmark game, keyed by the debut of safety Brandon Meriweather. He would be lost for the season later in the game, but tallied seven tackles, two passes defensed, and an interception in only 37 plays on defense. The Redskins’ offense found their early-season stride, as Griffin III efficiently picked apart the Eagles, 14-for-15 for 200 yards and four touchdowns.
Week 12: Redskins (5-6) 38, Cowboys (5-6) 31.
Defining Moment: Looking for an encore performance on the national stage, Griffin III broke three franchise records in route to a Thanksgiving Day victory in Dallas. The Redskins leaned on a 28-point second quarter and some timely defense at the end of the game outlast the Cowboys. Despite yielding 145 yards and two touchdowns to Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, the Redskins held on for their first consecutive victory of the season. This was the Redskins’ first win on Thanksgiving in 40 years, the first win on Thanksgiving in Dallas, and the first win ever at Cowboys Stadium.
Week 13: Redskins (6-6) 17, Giants (7-5) 16.
Defining Moment: After allowing the Giants to convert eight-of-10 third-down conversions and control the clock for more than 20 minutes in the first half, the Redskins’ defense held strong in the second half, limiting the Giants to just three points and only one third-down conversion. The defense also responded to the offense’s go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter with two straight potential go-ahead drive-killing performances to seal the victory and give the Redskins three straight divisional wins for the first time since the 2005 season.
Week 14: Redskins (7-6) 31, Ravens (9-4) 28.
Defining Moment: The Redskins needed two quarterbacks and 64 minutes to secure their fourth-straight victory, shocking their neighbors 40 miles to the north. The Ravens entered the game having not lost consecutive games in their previous 15 opportunities, but the Redskins mounted a fourth-quarter comeback with Kirk Cousins at the helm and Robert Griffin III hobbled with a knee injury. After finding Pierre Garçon in the corner of the end zone, Cousins ran a quarterback draw for the game-tying two point conversion. Then, after the defense held the Ravens in overtime, Richard Crawford’s 64-yard punt return set up a 34-yard game-winning field goal by Kai Forbath.
Week 15: Redskins (8-6) 38, Browns (5-9) 21.
Defining Moment: The Redskins took their four-game winning streak on the road, with major uncertainty at the quarterback position. On Saturday night, Griffin III was ruled out and fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins got his first NFL start. After a dismal opening, Cousins found his stride with a 53-yard touchdown pass to receiver Leonard Hankerson. An interception by Rob Jackson to start the third quarter gave the Redskins the ball in the red zone, and they never looked back. Cousins won Rookie of the Week for his performance, throwing 26-for-37 for 329 yards and two touchdowns.
Week 16: Redskins (9-6) 27, Eagles (4-11) 20.
Defining Moment: Griffin III returned to the lineup against the Eagles, still limited in his ability to run and wearing a knee brace for protection and support. He needed just 198 yards and two touchdowns through the air, as the Redskin employed a balanced offense for their fourth division victory. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was sacked five times, and running back LeSean McCoy was held under 50 rushing yards again. With a victory, the Redskins closed out their road record at 5-3, their first winning road record since the Super Bowl season of 1991.
Week 17: Redskins (10-6) 28, Cowboys (8-8) 18.
Defining Moment: Morris put the Redskins on his back and carried them to their first NFC East crown since 1999 in the win-or-go-home Week 17 matchup against the Cowboys that was seen by millions on "Sunday Night Football on NBC." Morris ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns, and, in the process, broke Redskins great running back Clinton Portis' single-season rushing record with a 10-yard scamper in the third quarter. The Washington defense also intercepted Dallas quarterback Tony Romo three times, including outside linebacker's pick late in the fourth quarter that allowed the Redskins' final score and sealed the big victory, sending Washington to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.