LANDOVER, Maryland — After all the negative things Jay Gruden has said about Robert Griffin III, the Washington Redskins' coach found some positives to discuss after the quarterback earned his first complete-game win in more than a year.
So maybe they'll figure out a way to coexist next season, after all.
Back as the starter because of an injury to Colt McCoy, Griffin threw for 220 yards and led the drive that resulted in Kai Forbath's 26-yard go-ahead field goal with 5 seconds left Saturday night. The Redskins beat the Eagles 27-24, pushing Philadelphia to the brink of elimination from playoff contention.
"You have to be impressed with his performance," Gruden said. "I just thought he managed the game extremely well, getting out of the huddle and no delay-of-game penalties. He competed, man, and that's what you want to see a quarterback do — be a 'competer,' be a leader. I told him before the game, 'I don't care if you go 14 for 100, 10 for 10, or 1 for 1, man, just as long as we get the W.'"
Wins have been few and far between in Gruden's first season as an NFL head coach: This victory ended a six-game losing streak for Washington (4-11). Griffin, the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the year, hadn't been in from start to finish of a win since beating San Diego in overtime on Nov. 3, 2013.
"It really isn't about me. This one's about this team. We've been through the wringer a little bit this year. We've been through a lot of adversity, a lot of mess," Griffin said. "Guys have responded."
He was benched a few weeks ago, but regained the job by default because McCoy went on injured reserve this week with a neck injury.
"Everybody's helped me get through this time," Griffin said.
Griffin still looked a bit awkward and unsure at times, and threw an interception in the fourth quarter, but there were flashes of improvement as a drop-back passer. He connected with former Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson for two big gains — 51 yards in the second quarter, and 55 in the third.
"Robert did a great job, getting the ball out of his hands and making good decisions," said Gruden, who earlier this season was publicly critical of Griffin's flaws as a QB.
The Redskins certainly got plenty of help from the Eagles (9-6), who now have lost three games in a row and will be out of the hunt for a postseason berth if NFC East leader Dallas beats Indianapolis on Sunday.
There were a couple of missed field-goal attempts in the third quarter — from 34 and 46 yards, both wide right — by Cody Parkey, who had botched two tries all season, going 29 of 31 until Saturday.
There were three roughing-the-passer penalties by the Eagles, including two in a span of four plays during a drive that ended with one of Redskins fullback Darrell Young's two 1-yard TD runs in the third quarter.
And there were Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez's turnovers. He fumbled on the game's opening possession — setting up a field goal by Forbath — and then threw an interception to Bashaud Breeland with 1 1/2 minutes left that led to Washington's six-play, 50-yard last drive.
"You cherish those moments, those moments when you can go out there and lead your team to victory on that final, last drive," Griffin said. "And everybody was locked in."
Notes: Morris went over 1,000 yards for the season, making him the only the team's second player — along with Stephen Davis — to gain at least that many three years in a row. ... Injured Redskins included LT Trent Williams (re-aggravated right shoulder) and LB Trent Murphy (broken bone in right hand).
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