Sunday, September 9, 2012
Halftime thoughts: RG3 makes a splash
By Dan Graziano
NEW ORLEANS -- If you're a Washington Redskins fan and you went into today's game trying to temper your expectations for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III ... well, sorry.
Griffin's first half simply could not have gone any better. He was 6-for-6 on his first professional drive, which resulted in a field goal. His second drive lasted exactly one play -- an 88-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon. Overall, Griffin is 11-for-13 for 182 yards and two touchdowns as the Redskins have built a shocking 20-14 lead against the Saints here in the Superdome. Oh, and he's also the team's leading rusher so far with 30 yards on nine carries.
Griffin has shown the poise and composure the Redskins believed they'd see in him from the start. There was a play on which he sidestepped a pass-rusher while moving left and still found Fred Davis along the right sideline for a 26-yard gain. There was a third-down play in the second quarter on which he could have run for the first down but kept his eyes downfield hoping a better option would come open and found Santana Moss for 27 yards. He's taken some shots, which is a little worrisome, and some of the option plays haven't worked the way they'd hoped. But overall, it's been a smashing debut for the Redskins' highly touted rookie.
The only thing that kept this from being a perfect first half for Washington was a foot injury that has Garcon questionable to return and the Sav Rocca punt the Saints blocked and returned for a touchdown right before halftime. But the Redskins will get the ball back to start the second half, and the way Griffin has played to this point, that's an enticing prospect for Redskins fans.
- The defense has been pretty good. Had Jimmy Graham not made two catches that no one else in the world could make, the score might even be more lopsided. They've covered well in the secondary and seemed to confuse Drew Brees a bit with different looks, including the one that resulted in a sack by cornerback DeAngelo Hall. They'll need to keep up the pressure if they want to hold the lead.
- The time of possession for the Redskins is 19:01, compared to 10:59 for the Saints. That first drive, on which Griffin didn't throw a single pass beyond the line of scrimmage, took 7:29. The drive that resulted in the second touchdown took 6:20. Keeping Brees and the Saints offense on the sideline matters.
- Rookie Alfred Morris was the starting running back and has nine of the 12 running back carries so far. Evan Royster got two late, and Roy Helu was in on some third downs, though not all of them. Helu doesn't have a carry, just two catches for 4 yards. Fullback Darrel Young got a key fourth-down carry and converted it. I'm interested to see who gets the running back work in the second half. Could be anyone.