LANDOVER, Md. — Robert Griffin III hobbled through the Washington Redskins’ locker room on crutches, the kind of scene that has become so familiar.
The franchise player was hurt again Sunday, dislocating his left ankle in the first quarter of a 41-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The best-case scenario might have him playing again by Thanksgiving, but there’s more than a decent chance he’s taken his last snap of the season.
“Moments like this,” Griffin said, “you just have to keep the faith.”
X-rays and an MRI will offer more specifics, but the Redskins for now belong to Kirk Cousins, who looked more comfortable in new coach Jay Gruden’s offense than Griffin ever did, Cousins completed his first 12 passes and finished 22 of 33 for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the woeful Jaguars.
“He’s handled being a backup like a pro,” Gruden said. “He’s waited patiently, and now his time is going to come to really take this thing and run with it.”
This was truly a next-man-up game for the Redskins (1-1). After wide receiver DeSean Jackson left in the first quarter with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder — he’s hopeful of playing next week — Ryan Grant (five catches) and Andre Roberts (four) picked up the slack. Niles Paul, playing for sidelined tight end Jordan Reed (hamstring), had a touchdown catch and set career highs with eight catches for 99 yards.
And the defense dominated. Ryan Kerrigan had four sacks, and the team as a whole had 10 — both tying franchise records. Washington didn’t let the Jaguars past midfield until the final two minutes of the first half and took a 21-0 lead on a team that, combined with the previous week, allowed 55 unanswered points until Chad Henne hit Marcedes Lewis for a 63-yard score with 1:40 to go in the second quarter.
The Jaguars gained 148 total yards — and 117 came on two plays. They are 0-2 for the third consecutive season.
“This one hurts now. There’s some pain,” Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley said. “But I think we’ve got to turn these wounds into wisdom.”
The Redskins ended a nine-game regular-season losing streak — the second-longest in franchise history — and gave Gruden his first win as an NFL head coach, but the future is cloudy because of the health of their two most dynamic playmakers.
Griffin has been trying to learn to be more of a pocket-passer under Gruden, but he was hurt while being his typical RG3 self. He said his ankle got stuck in the ground as he made a leaping, across-the-body throw near the sideline and tumbled awkwardly out of bounds. The pass was caught by Jackson for an 11-yard gain.
After his leg was placed in a splint, Griffin wiped his brow and waved, saluted and gave a thumbs-up signal to the crowd as he was carted along the sideline toward the players’ tunnel. The fans chanted “R-G-3!”
“It’s an excruciating pain,” Griffin said. “Anytime you look at your ankle and it’s going in a strange direction, you don’t want to get up.”
It was the latest setback for a promising but injury-marred career. Griffin missed all or part of four games in his record-setting rookie season of 2012 due to various injuries, including a torn right ACL that led to reconstructive knee surgery. He tore the same ACL in college at Baylor.
Two plays after Griffin was hurt, Cousins hit fullback Darrel Young for a 20-yard touchdown pass for the game’s first score.
On the Redskins’ next series, Jackson landed on his shoulder after getting tangled with safety Josh Evans on an incomplete pass. The three-time Pro Bowl receiver was the Redskins’ prized free agency acquisition this year, signing a three-year, $24 million contract with $16 million guaranteed after getting cut by the Eagles.
“This one was a little vicious, the pain right on the bone and things like that,” Jackson said. “So I’m day-to-day.”
Nevertheless, the Redskins soon had a three-touchdown lead after a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs by Alfred Morris. Morris finished with 85 yards on 22 carries on a day of mixed emotions at Washington’s home opener.
“It’s a special day for me, personally, a special day for this team, getting out to a great start with a home victory,” Gruden said. “Unfortunately, a man out there hurt his ankle, but we just have to move on.”
Notes: Lewis suffered a high left ankle sprain on the first play of the third quarter and was carted to the locker room. … The 10 sacks allowed by the Jaguars set a franchise record. … Henne finished 14 of 28 for 193 yards. … Three other Redskins players left the game early: RB Roy Helu strained a quad muscle, G Shawn Lauvao sprained his right knee, and Young sprained his back. Gruden said all three will probably be day to day. … Jaguars rookie WR Allen Hurns injured his left ankle and was scheduled for X-rays.