RG-3 dynamic in high-powered road victory
Robert Griffin III became the first rookie quarterback to start a season opener for the Washington Redskins since Norm Snead in 1961.
He did so in smashing style Sunday in New Orleans, leading the offense to scores on its first four possessions en route to a 40-32 victory over the high-powered Saints who were led by former Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees.
It was just one game but it was a performance that certainly validates the massive ransom Mike Shanahan paid to the St. Louis Rams for the No. 2 pick in the draft that was used to select the Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor. Griffin completed 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns, including an 88-yard strike to Pierre Garcon in the first quarter.
The explosive offensive attack, that featured another rookie in the backfield with running back Alfred Morris, was nothing like the Redskins had in preseason. Griffin was sharp and he executed in one of the most difficult road venues in the NFL because the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is so loud.
Afterward, Brees waited near midfield to meet Griffin.
“He told me he was proud of me,” Griffin said, according to the Washington Post. “That’s big of him to say that after they’d just lost the game.”
Griffin’s performance was huge in a season that is critical for Shanahan. The Redskins have been desperately seeking a quarterback to lead the franchise. A long season is ahead for Griffin but the first outing was more than anyone expected, that is for certain.
“This is a good start,” Shanahan said. “By no means did we play perfect, but I like the direction we’re going. We had some new pieces, some skill that gives us the chance to get some big plays. Robert not only executed the offense, but also had two or three plays that were off-balance that only a great athlete could make.”
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune