Cowboys-Redskins: Comparing the QBs

December, 26, 2012
Four days, nine hours and something like 20 minutes until kickoff of the NFC East title game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, and there is much to break down. Pro Football Focus has this Insider look Insider at the two quarterbacks in the game and concludes that the Redskins' Robert Griffin III gives them a slight edge over the Cowboys' Tony Romo:
It's not a slight on Romo, who ranks 10th in the league in our QB rankings, but rather a reflection of just how effective RG III is in the Redskins' system.

"The Original 88" Drew Pearson joins Tim MacMahon and Landry Locker on the Ben & Skin Show to give his perspective on the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry.

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Washington's running game feeds off RG III's versatility, and in turn, he feeds off the success of the running game to destroy opponents with play-action. He has the highest percentage of play-action drop-backs (39.2 percent) among all quarterbacks, and it's no surprise that he's thrown nine touchdowns and is averaging 12.2 yards per attempt while doing so.

Dallas has the defensive ability to slow down RG III and has an offense that can score quickly. But considering the season that RG III has had, I wouldn't bet against him.

The breakdown that leads to that conclusion from Khaled Elsayed gives the edge to Griffin in the categories of playing under pressure and handling the blitz, and the edge to Romo in the category of throwing deep. Both of these quarterbacks are playing at a high level right now, and it would not be a surprise if either or both had big games. Assuming everyone's 100 percent, I would agree with PFF's conclusion here that Griffin gives the Redskins an edge because of the unusual Redskins offense. But there's the rub, right? Griffin ran for 4 yards on two carries Sunday against the Eagles, and if he's not a threat to run because of his knee injury, he could be a great deal easier for the Cowboys to defend than he was in that astounding second quarter on Thanksgiving.

Another week to heal should help the knee and could have Griffin back to something like full strength. But if he's a half-step slow, that could be the kind of thing that pushes a game like this the other way.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter



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