By Schuyler Dixon
The Associated Press
IRVING, Texas — Robert Griffin III, the Texas-bred quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy at Baylor, comes to his home state for the first time as a pro for the most traditional of Thanksgiving rivalries — Cowboys vs. Redskins.
Hold on a minute with all that drama and emotion building for Thursday’s game. The Washington rookie grew up in Central Texas rooting for the Denver Broncos.
“It’s one game and that’s what we’ve got,” Griffin said. “We’ve got the Dallas Cowboys, and that’s what I’m going to play like.”
Hold on another minute before deciding he is completely blowing off the pretty cool idea that he’s coming home for a big game on a unique stage. He gets it.
“It will be fun. I’ll see a lot of familiar faces,” Griffin said. “It’s Cowboys-Redskins or Redskins-Cowboys, whatever way you want to put it. Me being a Texas kid, I know how big the rivalry is and I get my fair shot at it.”
Griffin has practical reasons for approaching Thursday’s game as one Washington needs to win. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo does, too.
The Redskins (4-6) kept themselves in the playoff conversation by coming off the bye with a 31-6 blowout of Philadelphia, sparked by 14 of 15 passing and four touchdowns from Griffin. A win puts the Cowboys (5-5) a half-game behind the New York Giants in the NFC East.
“It started for us two weeks back,” Romo said. “We’ve been putting our head down and grinding, going forward and trying put together win after win.”
The Cowboys have played the Redskins more than any other team in their annual Thanksgiving home game, and Dallas has won all six previous meetings.
But the Redskins haven’t brought a quarterback like Griffin into this game in a long time. Statistically, he’s ahead of the other four rookies who began the season as starters, and he’s right there with most of the veterans. He’s one of six quarterbacks with a rating of at least 100, completing 67 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
The Redskins lost six of eight after Griffin’s remarkable debut in a win at New Orleans, so maybe it was easy to forget about him. He sort of reminded everyone by picking apart the Eagles. He’s also in the top 20 in rushing in the NFL with 613 yards.
“You can’t really go into a game worried about this guy scrambling because it will slow you up and probably put you in a worse situation than just trying to go after him,” said Dallas defensive end Marcus Spears. “Obviously, we have to have awareness of where he is and where he can escape.”
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