The Washington Redskins lost their opener to the Philadelphia Eagles and Robert Griffin III, playing in his first game since tearing up his knee in January, looked about the way one would expect.
For an interminable half, nothing with the quarterback and his offense was clicking. But the second half was another matter and RGIII managed to pass for 276 yards as he led the Redskins to within six points of the Eagles. To the relief of everyone, even he admitted, he survived the game.
Next week, he and the Redskins will face the Green Bay Packers and we’ll be here again with the live blog. On behalf of the live crew and the gang at FedEx Field, thanks for joining us. We’ll see you on Twitter and at the Insider and the Early Lead until next week.
Although the Redskins lost and Robert Griffin III couldn’t get going in the first half, he managed to pass for a career-high 329 yards, with 276 coming in the second half.
“Had a serious case of the ‘can’t get rights.’ Just penalties, hurting ourselves. I don’t throw picks, Alfred [Morris] doesn’t fumble and Kai [Forbath] doesn’t miss kicks and all three of those things happened tonight. We’ll get better, no doubt. I was proud of the way the team fought back. We can’t put our defense in those situations, having them on the field the majority of the game. Everybody fought back real hard in the second half — we got within six — and that’s all you can ask for. You don’t want your team to come out in the second half and just fold.”
Griffin wasn’t having any part of the notion that he was rusty because of not playing in preseason games.
“I think that’s an excuse. I’m responsible for the way I play. I didn’t play very well in the first half. That’s just the way it is. You move on from it. I’m not going to sit here and say I was rusty. I’ve got to be accountable and I’m going to be accountable for that. I didn’t play well in the first half. We came back and played better in the second half. We’ve just got to do it for 60 minutes.”
Griffin shrugged off the notion that his technique was off, too.
“You guys can sit here and pick apart technique, pick apart ‘is he rusty,’ ‘did he not play well enough’ — I just think we didn’t play well in the first half at all. There’s no way around that.”
He began the game wearing a big brace on his right knee, but said that the NFL asked him to cover it up for reasons he said he was unsure of. He covered it with his pantsleg and sock.
The final takeaway?
“It’s a great moment. It didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to turn out, but coming out at half time, we talked in there as an offense and said we’ll find out a lot about our team, what happens in the second half. I think we did find out a lot — the same thing we knew from last year. This team’s got a lot of heart. Guys are going to fight ’til the end no matter what happens.”
And surviving his first game, on a personal level?
“I think everyone involved — coaches, doctors, trainers, everyone — is relieved that I came out of the game okay — parents, fans, everybody. It felt good. Like I said, it’s fun and it’s a joy to get out there and play with your teammates, the guys that you train with, the guys that you form a camaraderie with. It’s always fun. You want to get the W. I’m never one to say ‘it’s just one game.’ We’ve got to get better. We will”
The key question for Mike Shanahan, as it was the last time he stood at the podium at FedEx Field after a game that counted, concerned quarterback Robert Griffin III, who started slowly Monday and then came on late in a 33-27 loss to the Eagles.
Shanahan wasn’t about to put the loss on RGIII.
“It’s everybody. It’s not just one guy, until i look at the film. You’ve got to have 11 guys going together. You have nine, 10, sometimes it looks the way it did. You just can’t get any momentum and you turn the ball over early, put our defense in some tough situations and we just couldn’t catch up.
“We had an opportunity late to get us back in the ballgame and we jumped offsides on that fourth down. We had the right protection and the right play and at least had the opportunity to get back into the game. We fell a little bit short.”
Griffin looked better — different in the fourth quarter. But Shanahan wasn’t mentioning RGIII by name or speaking in depth about the QB and whether he was finally finding his groove late in the game.
“It’s a combination of a lot of things. Any time your offense doesn’t go you’re always going to try to put it on the quarterback. That’s kind of the nature of the business. It wasn’t the quarterback. It was the combination of a lot of people working together. One guy is a little off here and there — if it’s a dropped ball or a missed assignment or a penalty, a combination of those things –we’ve got to play a lot better than we did.”
Injury report from Shanahan: Ryan Kerrigan continues to be evaluated for a concussion; Chris Thompson is okay; Pierre Garcon had cramps (as did several players):
Washington’s comeback attempt fell short against the new-look Philadelphia Eagles, 33-27. The Redskins fell behind by 26 points in the third quarter but came storming back behind Robert Griffin III, who finished 30 for 49 with 329 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw a pair of interceptions.
Courtesy of mistamoe:
“The people hating Griffin today will wear his jersey in January.”
Jason Avant had some issues handling the onside kick but eventually recovered with 1:12 to play. That’s a wrap folks.
Robert Griffin III’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson with 1:14 to play draws Washington within 33-27.
Robert Griffin III has grown more comfortable in the second half, but a rally that cut a 26-point deficit to 33-20 appears too little too late. Redskins have the ball at their 31 coming back from the break.
After running 53 plays in the first half, the Eagles have had 20 snaps in the second half with 4:44 to play. They’re trying to hang on after leading by 26.
Robert Griffin III’s pass intended to Aldrick Robinson was defended well by Cary Williams on fourth down. Eagles ball with 6:48 to go.
Michael Vick was limping as he came off the field after the Eagles’ punt, grabbing at his groin area.
He seemed to have aggravated an injury with a long run, then was gassed and the Eagles were forced to punt with a 33-20 lead. Suddenly, the Redskins and Robert Griffin III were finding their groove and it was the Eagles’ turn to look tired.
eagles fans beginning to panic. sure, i’ll watch.
— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) September 10, 2013
PHI was in field goal range, but a holding call on third down pushes the ball back 10 yards before Michael Vick throws incomplete. Eagles forced to punt. Big stand there by WSH.
After going no-huddle for three quarters, the Eagles are huddling to take time off the clock while protecting a 33-20 lead that was 33-7 not that long ago.
The Redskins’ Barry Cofield is wearing a club-like cast on his broken right hand:
Cofield suffered the injury early in Washington’s second preseason game, in which he recorded two tackles and a sack and an additional hit on the quarterback in 18 plays.
Cofield had sat out the last two weeks of practice and final pair of preseason games.
Cofield maintained that he doesn’t expect the cast to seriously limit him. Cofield said he plans to experiment with several different types of casts. One version could be the club that he used in practice on Monday, another could be similar, but with his fingers free. Cofield said he hadn’t officially been ruled in for the game, but that he aimed to prove himself in practice with the intention of playing.
— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) September 3, 2013
Someone tell Barry Cofield that it's hard to tackle with a bowling ball taped to your hand
— Men's Humor (@MensHumor) September 10, 2013
Robert Griffin III completes a 10-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson, and the Redskins move within 33-20 with 12:24 left in regulation.
After a reception in the flat, Eagles WR Jason Avant gets hit by Josh Wilson and fumbles. LB Perry Riley recovers to give WSH possession at the Eagles 29.
This amply sums up Robert Griffin III’s evening.
From Nate Scott at USA Today:
The Redskins finally got their offense going with touchdown drive to close the third quarter. Alfred Morris capped the possession with a five-yard scoring run, and Robert Griffin III completed 5 of 7 passes.
Alfred Morris scores on a five-yard touchdown run with six seconds left in third quarter to draw the Redskins within 33-14. It was the first offensive touchdown for Washington.
Robert Griffin III frequently has faced pressure from the Eagles up the middle. Partially explains why he’s been in the shotgun quite a bit.
Forbath’s miss seems to have put a fork in this one for most Redskins’ fans:
HokiesSkins: “What a night.”
stk4life: “Really? when it’s bad it’s bad, time to call it a night!”
Revis Goodworth: “Good grief.”
Sk1er: “snakebit tonight…”
All of this summed up by a guy who knows a thing or two about long nights, RipVanWinkle:
“Just one of those nights.”
…who also provided some much-needed perspective:
“0-1 to start the season is dismal.”
Robert Griffin III started the game wearing the big, bulky black brace on his right knee and there was a fair amount of conversation about whether it had disappeared as the game wore on.
It’s still there, The Post’s Mike Jones reports. It’s just now covered by Griffin’s pantsleg and sock. So, at least in that respect, he looks like the RGIII of 2012.
But the bigger question is: How’s he look?
I’m going to put it out there. Robert is not 100%. I don’t know what they were seeing in camp. Dr. Andrews has lost my respect!!
— Brian Mitchell (@BmitchliveCSN) September 10, 2013
What’s your take on RGIII? Bear in mind that next week the Redskins face Clay Matthews and the Green Bay Packers, with Ndamukong Suh and the Detroit Lions up the next week.
Jon Gruden points out that “he’s falling away from his throws. He’s not finishing his throws. He’s up on his toes. I realize there’s some rush around him, but he hasn’t been around a live rush. He’s not finishing throws, he’s not finishing on his front foot. He’s a little bit tentative and … Philadelphia’s bringing it.”
No sooner does he say this and RGIII misses a wide-open Santana Moss with “a poor throw.”
Redskins PK Kai Forbath misses a 40-yard field goal, wasting the Redskins’ best drive of the game. They trail the Eagles, 33-7, with 6:30 left in the third quarter.
He has good reason to be concerned…
RB LeSean McCoy darted through a gaping hole on the left side for a 34-yard TD run and a 33-7 Eagles lead with 12:08 left in third quarter. McCoy has 149 yards on 21 carries.
Robert Griffin III’s weak throw to the left sideline gets intercepted by Cary Williams. Eagles ball at the Skins 30.
Redskins had only three first downs in the first half. They need a prolonged drive.
Slick Rick! who writes:
“For those of you calling for Kirk Cousins…you are pathetic!!!
And a close second, from noonefromtampa3:
“RG3 vs. Vick footrace — 1 question
is a pitbull chasing Vick?”
And honorable mention (aka most liked by me):
Konspikuous: “Is this my fault? Am I wearing the wrong hat? Should I put on a shirt?”
…and the response from alex35332: “No, and maybe yes.”
Nearly 2,000 comments and counting. Keep ‘em coming!
is even lower than usual…
‘Skins nation speaks after Hall’s horse-collar tackle:
Familynet: “Still happy Hall returned?”
Overzealous: “that’s what we get w/ Hall. No surprise there.”
Slick Rick: “I swear I would bench Hall…you can’t do that!”
Familynet: “Don’t be surprised by Hall. Dumbest in the game.”
BillAvoider: “DHall SUX!
And our unofficial analyst of the night Kevin Durant (in fairness, this came before the horse collar)…
The Redskins have had no answers for the Eagles’ spread offense, and two Washington turnovers haven’t helped either. The Birds ran 53 plays in the first half and outgained their NFC East rivals, 322-75.
It’s quiet, awfully quiet in FedEx Field.
“@michaelstrahan: The Boo Birds are out in Washington! Weren’t they just cheering an hour ago!”that division just got tougher!
— Jimmy Johnson (@JimmyJohnson) September 10, 2013
But wait…there’s a smidgen of hope, a glimpse of possibility.
Second half will be interesting. Obviously none of Eagles played 4 quarters at this pace in preseason. Both Wash and Philly might be gassed.
— Don Banks (@DonBanks) September 10, 2013
Not hard up front folks. Kelly does a good job getting guys ball in space. Tough to get bodies around. one missed tackle: doom
— John Keim (@john_keim) September 10, 2013
RGIII took a big hit while throwing the ball away to no one in particular. He got up slowly, and officials called intentional grounding.
Michael Vick’s three-yard run expands the Eagles lead to 26-7 with 56 seconds left until halftime. Vick faked handoff to LeSean McCoy and kept it up the middle.
Eagles have run 50 plays in the 1Q at the two-minute warning. They’re moving the ball again with RB LeSean McCoy roaming free on lead draws. Philly using majorly unbalanced offensive fronts too to confuse the Skins.
Michael Vick tosses touchdown pass to TE Brent Celek for a 19-7 lead with 6:10 to go before halftime. Second TD pass for Vick.
Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall is called for a personal foul for dragging DeSean Jackson down well out of bounds. No surprise the two continued talking back and forth well after the penalty.
Best way to counter spread offense is with pressure up the middle. Ryan Kerrigan doing just that. Eagles o-line missing assignments. A byproduct of trying to hide finer points of new offense during preseason.
How does Robert Griffin III look so far?
Adam Caplan sees a difference from the 2012 edition, although we should mention that there’s been only one quarter of play.
RG3 doesn’t look fluid on drop backs. A little tentative, which is rare for him.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) September 10, 2013
And, from Dave Sheinin:
Eagles D seems to have no fear of RG3 running it, the threat of which made the entire 2012 offense go.
— Dave Sheinin (@DaveSheinin) September 10, 2013
Getting first-down run from Alfred Morris at the end of the first quarter seemed to ease Redskins’ nation’s nerves a bit:
As —swb put it:”Bad 1/8th of football for the Skins, but that’s why they play 60 minutes. The second half of the first quarter has been much better and things are just getting going.”
gfunkmartin agrees: “Our D is getting a feel for how to handle the offense. Does anyone else get the sense that the Eagles have slowed down a little on getting the snap off too?”
Dgreen121: “I feel a little better, like things have calmed down a bit. you guys?”
Well Dgreen, then your Redskins had to punt…
Hammondave: “RGIII is done… he is a small running QB with a gammy leg. Look at the history of small running qbs in the NFL…”
Three quarters to go…
At 7:33 p.m., Robert Griffin III took his first snap of the season and handed the ball off to Alfred Morris, who fumbled.
Kedric Golston limped off, which prompted a discussion on ESPN of players faking injuries in order to slow down the pace of up-tempo offenses. The Eagles had run 29 plays when Golston went down.
Last week, the NFL sent a memo to teams to warn them that there’d be discipline if teams were faking injuries. On Sunday night, Jerry Jones accused the Giants of doing just that against the Cowboys.
The problem, though, is telling when a player is faking.
Despite two turnovers and a wide disparity in plays allowed to the Eagles, Washington trails, 12-7, and are moving the ball. Alfred Morris, who had a shaky first quarter, is picking up yards in zone runs.
Rookie DB Dave Amerson deflects Michael Vick’s pass to force a change of possession. Skins take over at the 20.
Veteran wideout Stallworth — former Eagle — participated in training camp with the Redskins but was let go before final cut day. Still his team in some ways, though, so he probably has a decent sense of the mood on the sidelines right now. (@EIGHTODANINE = Santana Moss)
And now a safety for the Eagles with the miscue in the end zone between Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris after Chris Thompson made a fair catch at the 5? Yikes.
Morris 1,613 yards last year, 2 fumbles in first quarter this year. RG3 has INT. And still first quarter.
— Rick Snider (@Snide_Remarks) September 9, 2013
Total team effort … Unfortunately. #hailFAIL
— Rob King (@ESPN_RobKing) September 9, 2013
— Joseph White Jr. (@JGWhiteAP) September 9, 2013
Why would you call a pitch in the end zone with a quarterback who had 3 live snaps since January?
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) September 9, 2013
A bad pitch to Alfred Morris results in Eagles safety. Birds lead, 12-7, with 4:50 to go in 1Q.
Remember WSH defense is without Meriweather, Jenkins, Carriker, Crawford and Robinson. Can’t make a complete evaluation of Chip Kelly’s spread offense just yet.
Robert Griffin III made a poor decision and opted to throw rather than doing what he did last year — taking off down the field.
He threw into triple coverage and was intercepted.
Would RGIII have pulled ball down and run last year on that 3rd and 9 rather than throw? Gonna have those questions constantly this year.
— Thomas Boswell (@ThomasBoswellWP) September 9, 2013
— David Owens (@DaveOwensWUSA) September 9, 2013
RG3’s pass over the middle intended for Santana Moss gets intercepted by Brandon Boykin. That’s two possessions for the Skins and two turnovers.
Last thing Washington needs to have its defense back on the field after three plays and a punt.
My thoughts exactly…?
Former All-Met Basketballer of the Year Kevin Durant weighing in on his hometown team:
Chip Kelly’s unsuccessful challenge of the ruling on the field of an incomplete pass provided the Skins defense with time to rest. Eagles get field goal to cut lead to 7-3.
Say this for the Philadelphia Eagles: their receivers are wide open and Michael Vick isn’t hitting them, a trend that is not going unnoticed in what is a wacky game so far.
Eagles receivers are wide freaking open on every single play.
— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) September 9, 2013
Vick is the only thing keeping this from being 14-0 Eagles
— Mike Tunison (@xmasape) September 9, 2013
Slow down, Eagles, or bad stuff happens. http://t.co/N7KR2TYQXe
— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) September 9, 2013
Vick missed a couple of passes there
— Smart Football (@smartfootball) September 9, 2013
Eagles are helping the Redskins. Their receivers are wide open, but Vick isn’t accurate.
— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) September 9, 2013
Eagles spread offense moving at will. Only foibles have been poor throws by Michael Vick. Accuracy historically not his forte.
It’s wide open for the Eagles. Skins defending the boundaries and deep, making sure not to let anyone get behind them.
Right back on the field after that long Eagles opening drive.
Well, that happened and the Redskins have a 7-0 lead over the Eagles, whose fast-paced march down the field was for nothing. For nothing for them, that is.
Mike Vick and DeAngelo Hall teaming up for good things. Just like the good old days.
— Homer McFanboy (@HomerMcFanboy) September 9, 2013
— Adam Carriker (@AdamCarriker94) September 9, 2013
There’s a new coach, but that really was very Eagles-esque.
That was the most Eagles thing ever.
— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) September 9, 2013
Chip Kelly first drive in NFL: four snaps in first minute, went for it on fourth down — and gives up defensive TD/replay review. Not dull.
— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) September 9, 2013
Replays couldn’t overturn call of backward pass. Shows what happens when a team tries to run a new offense with little practice. Redskins lead, 7-0, on DeAngelo Hall’s interception return.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a player say that pregame…
Here’s why that actually somehow makes sense:
Will Smith’s seventh-best cinema hit, “Hitch” (2005) tells the story of Kevin James, a chubby, middle-aged guy who’s given up on love and runs into Hitch (Smith), a “date doctor” who helps him pull it together and woo the woman of his dreams.
At one point in the movie, James’s character is so overcome with emotion that he chokes and can’t find the words to express his feelings — probably because she’s way out of his league, but who’s counting.
SO, as RGIII tried to explain, he’s exactly the same as Kevin James: chubby, middle-aged, and unable to express his feelings about the girl (comeback) that’s occupied his every thought for months.
Counted three on LeSean McCoy’s last run.
Great fourth down call to LeSean McCoy with Redskins defense gassed.
Eagles dinking and dunking down field with zone read and bubble screen.
#Redskins fans going berzerk as RGIII is introduced. He comes out the tunnel slowly w a Redskins flag, then jogs out the rest of the way.
— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) September 9, 2013
Robert Griffin takes the field at 7:04 p.m., carrying Redskins flag. He goes to the far end zone and kneels there.
— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) September 9, 2013
FedEx crowd went nuts when RG III fell to his knees, punched his chest and ran onto the field at end of introductions
— Les Carpenter (@Lescarpenter) September 9, 2013
Maybe it’s the early workday start, maybe it’s the bag policy. But there are some long, long lines at the FedEx Field gates right now…
Nothing fun happens in the first quarter anyway…
First-year Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s teams at Oregon averaged 82 plays per game. That’s basically the number to watch tonight. If Philly can run close to that amount, the offense has a chance of working in the NFL. But unlike college, Kelly’s players don’t have the advantage of being supremely better athletes week in and week out.
Robert Griffin III does a Kai Forbath impersonation before the game:
Caption contest anyone?
San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick carved up the Green Bay Packers with little reliance on the read option. I can see the Redskins trying to protect Robert Griffin III in similar fashion.
…and uses Tide!
Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen enjoyed a laugh with fans before the game:
Fresh photos of RGIII and Michael Vick warming up:
Mike Jones has the Redskins inactives, and the most significant one of those is SS Brandon Meriweather.
Meriweather had been listed as questionable for the game because of a groin injury suffered last Monday.
Meriweather spent the offseason working his way back from anterior cruciate ligament surgery, and played in the first two quarters of the preseason finale at Tampa Bay. His surgically repaired right knee responded favorably to that action. But then he hurt his groin. Meriweather last season played only one half of a football game while plagued by knee injuries.
Meriweather on Monday took the field for a round of pregame warmups under the direction of strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright. But he obviously wasn’t healthy enough for the team to give him the green light.
The team’s other inactives: Quarterbacks Rex Grossman and Pat White, running back Evan Royster, guard Josh LeRibeus, safety Jose Gumbs, and nose tackle Chris Neild.
Meanwhile, nose tackle Barry Cofield, who fractured his right hand in the second preseason game and hadn’t played since, will indeed play. He experimented with several different casts in last week’s practice and was listed as questionable on Saturday’s injury report.
Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins (mid-foot sprain) also had been listed as probable, and will play.
Also active for the Redskins is rookie running back Chris Thompson, who is expected to handle punt return duties.
Hanging with former Redskins’ great Joe Theismann.
The latest entry in the “most…interesting…red-based outfit” contest which seems to be taking place at FedEx Field tonight.
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is present and accounted for in his new gig as an ESPN commentator. Also, he is wearing that big new ring he got last winter.
(Courtesy John Ourand)
A little more disturbingly, he appeared to rub the tum-tum of Robert Griffin III.
— Johannes Schneider (@jocoolwu) September 9, 2013
RGIII arriving in…style?: Red Beats, a red hoodie, and a T-shirt of the Dauphins de Nice, the French team he trained with on his honeymoon (read more — and yes, we have more coverage of RGIII’s T-shirt – here).
From the front:
…and the red-hoodie/oversized T-shirt combo just passed Alfred Morris’s ensemble for the coolest look in the DMV.
Note the adidas hat. The NFL sure will…
It’s a good day to be Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals star was invited to be the first Russian to hold the Olympic torch after it is lighted at the Sochi Games next February and then he put on his Robert Griffin III jersey and headed to FedEx Field, where John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal spotted him.
The first home game of the regular season draws a number of fans who skipped preseason games and may not be aware just how serious the NFL is taking its new bag policy.
Here’s what you need to know: Each fan can bring in one 12-inch by 12-inch by 4-inch clear plastic bag. This can be a Ziploc bag or a tote that the teams are, thoughtfully, selling for around the cost of a stadium beer. Each fan can also bring in a small clutch purse, roughly 4.5 inches by 6 inches.
The goals, the NFL says, are improved security in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and moving fans faster through security. And the NFL is very, very serious. Forget packs of the back- and fanny- type and don’t even think about bringing that sweet Fendi. Fans at preseason games have been turned back at the stadium entrance and have had to stash purses in cars, in bushes and — gasp — in trash cans.
More details on the new policy can be found here.
The last time anyone saw the field at FedEx before an NFL game, it was a hard, dry surface upon which grass seed could find no purchase.
Tonight? Oh, it is a Posturepedic of Kentucky bluegrass. Or something like that. In any event, it’s very green, it’s alive and it looks cushy and also possibly sneeze-inducing. More importantly, it was been inspected and approved by the NFL, which is paying attention to turf matters after That Thing That Happened to That Quarterback at FedEx Last January brought it to everyone’s attention.
— Sky Kerstein (@SkyKerstein) September 9, 2013
Getting ready to see the Skins and Eagles do battle at Fedex Field. The field looks better than last time. pic.twitter.com/Q8OWwHNNkp
— Brian Mitchell (@BmitchliveCSN) September 9, 2013
There’s a billboard featuring — who else??? — Robert Griffin III outside FedEx Field now and if it looks to you as if he is playing for Virginia Tech, well, you’re not alone.
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) September 9, 2013
Welcome to the second half discussion for the long-awaited season opener between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles from FedEx Field. The Eagles lead, 26-7, thanks to an uptempo offense that has run 53 plays in the first half. Four teams ran that many or fewer during an entire game Sunday.