Rookie quarterbacks are supposed to be jittery, quick-triggered and mistake-prone. Indianapolis’s Andrew Luck, the No. 1 pick of this year’s draft (Griffin was No. 2), threw three interceptions Sunday in his debut, a 20-point loss to Chicago. Miami’s Ryan Tannehill and Cleveland’s Brandon Weeden, both first-round picks, combined for seven interceptions in their debuts Sunday.
But Griffin looked assured and confident the minute he strode onto the Superdome floor before the game. He paced the sideline, bobbing his head to the rock music playing over the loudspeakers. In the final minutes before the opening kickoff, he seemed to make a point of checking in with every teammate with some form of greeting: fist-bumps, soul-shakes, chest-taps, back-slaps, bro-hugs.
“My mind was really clear going into this game,” Griffin said. “… The one thing I try to do is not stress about anything or to go out and try to prove anything to anyone.”
Griffin led the Redskins to scores on each of their first four drives, including an 88-yard touchdown strike to receiver Pierre Garcon that Griffin watched unfold from the Superdome floor, having been knocked down by a vicious hit from Saints safety Malcom Jenkins. As Garcon broke free near midfield and won a sprint to the end zone, Griffin raised both index fingers to the sky.
And what about the ball? It made its way to the Redskins’ bench, where it was placed in safekeeping until after the game – whereupon it was returned to the man who had sent it into the sky, the man who would still be cradling it 45 minutes later, in the bowels of the Superdome.
Griffin had his trophy, the Redskins had their victory, and at last long Washington, by all appearances, had a quarterback in whom it was safe to believe.