Robert Griffin III celebrates his first-quarter touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon.Robert Griffin III may have been the second quarterback selected in the NFL draft this past April but he was the number one star on the field this first Sunday of the 2012 season.
Griffin led an explosive Redskins offense that beat the New Orleans Saints 40-32, scoring their most points since 2005 and their most in a season opener since 1991. Last year the Redskins didn’t even crack the 30-point barrier; they reached that total midway through the third quarter.
A HISTORIC DEBUT
The rookie quarterback re-wrote the record books at the Superdome with his spectacular performance. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first player in NFL history with at least 300 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in an NFL debut.
Most Passing Yards in NFL Debut
His 320 passing yards are the fourth-most in an NFL debut and the second-most by a rookie in a season opener in NFL history, behind only the 422 yards that Cam Newton had last year in his debut.
Since the merger, the only other Redskins quarterbacks besides Griffin to throw for at least 320 yards and two scores with no interceptions in the team’s first game of the season were Joe Theismann in 1982 and Brad Johnson in 1999.
His most explosive play of the game was an 88-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon in the first quarter. The only quarterback to throw a longer touchdown pass in a debut was Neil O’Donnell, who tossed an 89-yard touchdown pass in 1991.
HOW RG3 BEAT THE SAINTS
Griffin excelled when facing the Saints blitz pressure, completing 8-of-9 attempts for 188 yards and two touchdowns when they sent five or more pass rushers.
Saints Pass Defense
Sending 5 or More Pass Rushers
The Saints have sent five or more pass rushers at a higher rate than any other team since 2008, but during that time span no quarterback completed a higher percentage of passes against their pressure in a game than Griffin on Sunday.
Griffin began the game with a conservative strategy, throwing his first six passes behind the line of scrimmage, but then opened it up on the first play of the second drive.
On his seventh pass, Griffin threw the ball 18 yards downfield, resulting in the 88-yard touchdown to Garcon.
After the first drive Griffin averaged 11.5 air yards per attempt and only threw it behind the line of scrimmage once in 20 pass attempts. Overall in the game he went 7-for-11 with 211 passing yards and a touchdown on passes that traveled at least 11 yards downfield.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Redskins are now 7-1 all-time at the Superdome, the all-time best winning percentage at the stadium of any team to play at least five games there.