After falling behind 24-7, Griffin and the offense knotted the score at 24 with less than 4 minutes left in the third quarter. The stadium shook with sound. The defense even forced consecutive three-and-outs against Dalton, shoring up holes.
And then Dalton went to work again — and it was over.
(Okay, it wasn’t completely over. The Redskins drove the length of the field late, but apparently Kyle Shanahan got too mouthy with a replacement official at the end, and the Redskins were penalized big yards. Funny, no, that Josh Morgan faced the music last week after his loss of composure, but the offensive coordinator was uncharacteristically unavailable to the media after Sunday’s game. Come on, Kyle, you’re better than that.)
With New Orleans falling to 0-3, that opening-week upset doesn’t look as grand anymore, does it? Don’t blame Griffin, who is as good as advertised. It’s just a shame he has to play catch-up with the way this defense is consistently underperforming.
It would be easy to give the Redskins an excuse after last week’s season-ending injuries to Brian Orakpo, their most fearsome pass-rusher, and Adam Carriker, one of their best space-eaters on the defensive line. But then you see what the Giants did to Carolina without four offensive starters during a short week, and you know that alibis only go so far in the NFL.
Griffin is having a hard enough time just staying upright. Like all young quarterbacks, he has become a target. The Bengals marveled at how much punishment he could take while rising for another snap after every crunching collision.
The least the defense could do for him is contain the other guy’s quarterback. Griffin can run, pass and play maestro with the football in the backfield — but he can’t play cornerback too.
Let’s not get carried away and start the “Has’ Must Go” chant. But the recently extended Jim Haslett and that unit need to officially be put on notice after Sunday. Giving up nearly 1,000 yards in back-to-back weeks is not acceptable. Giving up big plays like the ones the Bengals racked up should do nothing for anyone’s job security.