Last season if the Redskins defense allowed 32 points they would have lost. Looking back at seasons before that and if the Redskins defense didn’t shutdown the opponents offense they lost. The most points scored by the Redskins in 2011 were the 28 they scored against the Giants in their first game of the season. This is a different year and a different team. Robert Griffin III showed exactly why he is trusted above the veteran presence of Rex Grossman and why his talent isn’t the most impressive thing about him.
Early on in the first quarter there was a muffed exchange between Robert Griffin and Alfred Morris. RGIII didn’t panic or try and do too much. He simply picked up the ball, looked down field, and when he found no one he protected himself as much as possible and took the tackle. It goes down as a fumble and a rush for no gain in the score book, but keeping possession of the football is something that the Redskins struggled with last season. Robert Griffin was able to hold onto the ball and while the Redskins gained nothing on the play they lost nothing either. In total the Redskins turned the ball over zero times and forced the Saints to turn it over three times.
Winning the take-away/give-away battle is important when facing an offense as dynamic as the Saints, but just as important is winning the time of possession battle. The Redskins were able to run for 153 yards compared to the Saints 32, and this is a big reason why the Redskins were able to control the ball for 39:10 and the Saints only had possession for 20:50. The Redskins almost doubled the Saints time of possession and this helped to keep Drew Brees on the sidelines and limit the opportunities the Saints had to comeback in this game.
The real story of the game aren’t the little thing RGIII did. It is the big things. Griffin became the third rookie QB to throw for over 300 yards in his debut. The others, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton. Robert Griffin wasn’t just impressive for a rookie QB he was impressive all around. It should be mentioned that the Saints don’t have an overwhelming defense and if they were going to win this game it was going to be with their offense, but taking advantage of bad defenses is what good quarterbacks do, and while the story of Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins is just getting started it is off to a good beginning.
Look at how Griffin responded when his primary target, Pierre Garcon, had to leave the game. He found another one in Aldrick Robinson. Griffin not only displayed the vast amount of talent that made him the number two overall pick, but he also showcased the pose of a top notch NFL quarterback. It is hard to not get excited about how Griffin looked, or how the defense swarmed around Drew Brees and limited the Saints offense to 25 points. This could be an exciting season for the Washington Redskins, but one game, even if it is one very impressive game, isn’t what decides a season. Don’t forget the Redskins last season had an impressive week one and started the season off 3-1. This is a different team with better talent, but it behooves no one to start expecting anything more or less than was expected before Sunday’s game.