With just over 6 minutes left in the third quarter of the Redskins' 24-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Griffin got flushed out of the pocket and tried to create something out of nothing.
Heading toward the right sideline about 7 yards from the Atlanta end zone, Griffin turned down field to see what he could find rather than take the safe journey out of bounds.
With Atlanta defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux closing pursuit, Griffin decided to start a slide at about the 5, but Falcons outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon had already zeroed in.
At the midpoint of Griffin's slide, Weatherspoon delivered a hard shoulder shot that caught the quarterback just under his chin, leaving him struggling to gather himself on the turf.
Griffin stayed face-down as Redskin trainers rushed over to him. He got up after a few moments and was escorted to the sideline.
After a few minutes of examination, he was taken to the Redskins' locker room.
After the game, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan uttered the dreaded word "concussion."
"At the time," Shanahan said, "when [Griffin] wasn't really sure what the score was or what quarter it was, we knew he had a mild concussion, at least according to the doctors.
"He feels good right now, a lot better right now. But that was the situation and why he didn't go back into the game."
Shanahan said Griffin, whom team spokesman Tony Wyllie said was examined by an independent neurologist before being sent home, would go through "a number of tests to make sure he's clear" before his status for the next game is determined.
"We'll find out as time goes by and see how he does on those tests," Shanahan said.
Shanahan is now faced with a situation similar to the one Eagles coach Andy Reid had when he drafted Donovan McNabb second overall in 1999.
McNabb, like Griffin, was a multidimensional quarterback coming out of Syracuse University with an ability to extend plays with his legs.
He possessed a valuable skill, but Reid, perhaps with McNabb's consent, slowly cut back on the running part of McNabb's arsenal, going from a career-high 86 carries in 2000 to just 37 rushes in 14 games in 2009, his final year with the Eagles.
It's still debated whether his ability to run the ball did or did not make McNabb a better quarterback.
This is a huge deal.
Griffin has this added weapon, but he has to understand that this isn't college football anymore.
He needs to understand that Sunday was not a fluke hit.
Defensive players in the NFL are bigger, faster and hit harder than anything Griffin saw in the Big 12 while playing at Baylor and winning the Heisman Trophy.
NFL defenders rarely miss when given opportunities to clock a quarterback.
The Redskins, who traded three first-round picks and a second-round pick to St. Louis for the 2012 No. 2 overall pick, have too much invested in Griffin to see that investment go down the drain because of an avoidable hit while trying to pick up an extra 2 yards in any regular-season game.
Through his first five games, Griffin ranks fourth in the NFL with a passer rating of 103.2, completing 69.4 percent of his passes for 1,070 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He's also rushed for 234 yards and four touchdowns.
Washington cannot afford to have Griffin's career mirror that of Vick's, whose bravado has led to his seasons being measured by 11 or 12 games not a full 16.
Vick has spent a career doing what Griffin did on Sunday. A decade in, he is still reluctant to seek safety over an extra yard.
He has yet to see the big picture, where it's just not worth it a lot of times.
Quarterbacks with the added dimension of athleticism have to find a balance between McNabb locking his running ability away in his back pocket and Vick still exposing himself to hits he should be wise enough not to take.
Even with all of the rules designed to protect quarterbacks getting hit, it is still a part of football.
But taking unnecessary hits is risky. Invariably, they always seem to be a bit more bone-rattling.
"We talked about this from Day 1," Shanahan said. "Each game is to be a learning experience. We've talked about protecting yourself.
"Every game he goes in, he's going to learn and that's why it takes you 2 or 3 years to really feel comfortable with defenses that you play against in the NFL, slow the game down a little bit.
"Robert is going to keep on learning. We have something very special. We've got a guy that competes and tries to make plays.
"Every game he's in it's a learning experience, just like on that last play in the red zone, [when] to take a dive, [when] to throw the ball away, that's all part of the learning experience that he is going to gain as time goes on."
In the meantime, maybe Griffin should get Vick on speed dial. On second thought, make that McNabb.
Contact John Smallwood at firstname.lastname@example.org.