Robert Griffin III Amazes, Sets Records In Debut
- Updated: September 9, 2012
When the Washington Redskins drafted QB Robert Griffin III, they, as well as their fans throughout the Nation knew they had found something special. During Sunday’s game in New Orleans, the rest of the country was able to see it for the first time.
Robert Griffin III didn’t just play good or great, he was absolutely phenomenal, which only makes sense in a city filled with other phenoms, such as Stephen Strasburg (Nationals), Bryce Harper (Nationals), Alexander Ovechkin (Capitals), John Wall (Wizards) and Dwayne De Rosario (D.C United). Now, you can add Robert Griffin III to that same list.
The Redskins went from the should-be bottom feeder of the NFC East, to a contender for the division with in a matter of minutes due to his play alone. That’s not to say the rest of the offense and defense didn’t have a say in the 40-32 upset win over the Saints, but his leadership and style of play is what has changed the tides in Washington.
Griffin threw for 320 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions on 19 completions, a first by any QB during a debut. His massive 88 yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon was the first time since 1987 the Redskins had a touchdown connection of that length. In addition to that, he was the first rookie to hold a QB rating of 139.9 in his debut.
Not only did he stun the non-believers, but he also stunned the Redskins faithful with his performance. Most Redskins fans, including myself felt that this game would be nearly impossible win. Not because we didn’t believe in Griffin, but because we felt mistakes could happen being he’s a rookie, as well as the explosiveness of the Saints.
You can bet Mike Shanahan, who currently leads active coaches in opening day wins (now 15-4) had a major role in the victory. Being in the league since 1984 (28 years), his experience most certainly would have helped him exploit those of Aaron Kromer who has been in the league for only 11 years and not once was called on for a coordinator position. In a sense this was David vs Goliath, and David didn’t stand a chance.
Mix in the fact that Robert Griffin III is Shanahan’s newest mixture of John Elway and Jay Cutler, there was no chance the Saints defense would have been able to keep up. Which is why if this came down to an aerial showcase, the Redskins would have still managed to win.
They mixed the game up early for Robert Griffin III, short screen bubbles which he ran in college to help warm him in, and then they went for the head. They bullied the Saints on the ground and through the air. In a sense, it looked like Griffin was a veteran QB at times with how he would toy with Saints defenders, such as he did to Malcolm Jenkins while completing a 26 yard strike to Fred Davis.
His dominance was so noticeable that Washington Nationals television color commentator F.P. Santangelo made a comment about it during the game on Sunday against the Miami Marlins (a 8-0 loss). “Redskins taking all the offense away from the Nationals today. They’ve put up 30.” I didn’t watch the rest of the game or even five minutes of it because the Redskins were on, but I’m sure that wasn’t the only time the Redskins were brought up.
So how did Robert Griffin III compare to the other rookies who started on Sunday? Andrew Luck had a rating of 52.9 in a loss to the Bears (1TD 3INT). Brandon Weeden struggled all game against the Eagles and finished with a QB rating of 5.1 (0TD 4INT). Ryan Tannehill came near Weeden with a 39.0 QB rating (0TD 3INT). Russell Wilson, who finished closest to Griffin had a near average 62.5 rating (1TD 1INT).
While three of the four (Luck, Weeden, Tannehill) faced could-be top 10 defenses, none of them came close to having a game through the air as Griffin did in the Superdome, one of the most hostile dome stadiums in the NFL. A place where some of the best offenses in the league have struggled over the last couple of seasons.
A house that Drew Brees had built, the same house Robert Griffin III showed Drew Brees up in, in front of all his fans and family members.
Cam Newton threw for 303 yards (83.3 rating) today in a 16-10 loss to the Buccaneers, as Michael Vick threw for 317 yards (51.0 rating) in a comeback win by the Eagles in Cleveland. Both QB’s threw for more interceptions than Griffin did, the same two QB’s who some fans and experts say Robert Griffin III is identical to.
One thing’s for certain. If Robert Griffin III can continue to dominate the way he did in New Orleans the next three weeks (St. Louis, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay) there’s no reason why we shouldn’t see a 4-0 Redskins team coming back to FedExField to face the Atlanta Flacons. Especially if the defense can back him and the offense up the way they did on Sunday.
As Rev. Redskin said earlier in the year. “Redskins Nation, the ship is sailing….and if you aren’t on the ship right now, don’t jump on the ship later!”