Welcome to the launch of our Redskins live blog, where we’ll discuss all aspects of today’s game, including the debut of Robert Griffin III, BountyGate, the announcers, the replacement officials and of course a healthy dose of fantasy musings. Consider this a fresher and more interactive version of the open thread, so join us during each and every Redskins game this season for fun and lively discussion. Box score | Gameview
Thanks to all who joined in for our Redskins live blog debut. Please come back during each and every Redskins game this season as we continue to follow the highly anticipated rookie season of Robert Griffin III, whose passer rating of 139.9 was the second highest ever in an NFL debut. See you next time when Washington visits the St. Louis Rams with a 4:05 p.m. kickoff a week from today.
Robert Griffin III made all the right moves, from writing “Heart” on his shirt, conveniently covering the Nike logo, to his play on the field. Holding the ball he’d thrown to Pierre Garcon for his first NFL TD, Griffin spoke to reporters:
On playing in the SuperDome: “You can feel it in your body, the loudness. It’s crazy and the guys told me it was going to be like that. The loudest place I’ve ever played in. Why not? It’s New Orleans, Louisiana, and it’s the SuperDome. We came out and played big in a big arena, a big stage and did a good job.”
On whether there’s anything else the team could have done: “We could have scored a few more points [smile]. Nothing’s ever perfect. There are some passes I wish I could have had back, there’s some plays I wish I had back. … I’m not going to be Debbie Downer. We won the game, we did a good job, so I’m going to be happy about that.”
Couldn’t have written the beginning any better To God Be The Glory
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 9, 2012
Not that there was much doubt, but Mike Shanahan confirmed that Jordan Bernstine suffered a significant injury:
“He’ll be out. I know it’s a serious knee injury. Don’t know yet what it is, but he’ll be out.”
Long snapper Nick Sundberg broke his arm in the first half and finished the game, earning praise from Mike Shanahan:
“The one thing that was amazing to me that I hadn’t had happen was Nick Sundberg broke his arm. When we snapped the football and got the punt blocked right before the half, he broke his left arm and he still finished the game snapping. … There’s not a lot of guys that can snap with a broken arm. That showed you what type of warrior he was today.”
While waiting for Mike Shanahan…Redskins come off the field yelling, “Who dat? We dat.” (via Britt McHenry) Evidently, Spike Lee wanted to be the first to hug Robert Griffin III as he came off the field. RGIII grinned and ripped off Lee’s Giants cap. (via Aditi Kinkhabwala)
Now, Shanahan on Pierre Garcon’s foot injury: “The top of his foot was bothering him. He couldn’t come in. The X-rays were negative so that’s a positive, but he was sore enough not to come back, which is disappointing because that was a heck of a catch and a heck of a run that he made.”
On Garcon’s big TD reception: “I’m glad we’ve got Pierre on our football team, to say the least. He’s been like that since we got him. He’s a big-play guy. He’s big and strong. He’s 215 pounds and in that 4.4 range. He can block and he wants the football. So we gave it to him early and he made came a number of big plays.”
In addition to strong Redskins debuts from Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris, free agent acquisition Pierre Garcon had 109 receiving yards on four catches before leaving the game with what Coach Mike Shanahan said was an injury to the top of his foot. “I’m glad we got Pierre on our football team to say the least,” Shanahan said during his postgame news conference.
The Washington Redskins couldn’t have asked for a better start to the professional career of Robert Griffin III, who threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns without an interception while completing 19 of 26 passes in a 40-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Griffin also carried 10 times for 42 yards, and fellow rookie Alfred Morris ran for 96 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries in one of the more improbable upsets of Week 1.
Drew Brees completes a two-yard pass to running back Darren Sproles with 2:25 to play to draw within a touchdown. The Saints have two timeouts and the two-minute warning, so they eschewed the onside kick, leaving their fortunes in the hands of the defense to stop rookie Robert Griffin III.
Redskins safety DeJon Gomes intercepts Drew Brees with 3:23 to play and returns it to the 3-yard line. Then one play later, rookie running back Alfred Morris scores with 3:18 to play for a 40-25 lead to all but seal a victory in the professional debut of Robert Griffin III, who has 298 yards and two touchdowns while completing 18 of 25 passes without an interception.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed his second touchdown pass of the game, hitting wide receiver Lance Moore for 33 yards with 6:19 to play. Running back Darren Sproles then carried on the successful two-point conversion, and just like that, New Orleans is within a touchdown of tying after looking out of sorts for much of the first three quarters.
Through three and a half quarters, the Redskins have 420 totals yards to 194 for the Saints. New Orleans QB Drew Brees has just 175 passing yards and one touchdown, numbers he can post in a single quarter when the offense is running smooth. Today Washington’s defense has played well both in coverage and in applying pressure to Brees, who has struggled to put together a consistent drive since the first quarter. A long way to go though.
Place kicker Billy Cundiff made his fourth field goal of the game, this one from 45 yards with just under 11 minutes to play, and the Redskins extended their lead to 33-17 over New Orleans, which is in danger of losing at home after going undefeated in the Superdome last season.
In the highly anticipated debut of Robert Griffin III, the Redskins scored 10 points in the third quarter via rookie Alfred Morris’s one-yard touchdown run and Billy Cundiff’s 37-yard field goal before the Saints added Garrett Hartley’s 21-yard field goal to draw within 13 points. Washington’s defense continued to play admirably against Drew Brees and the high-scoring Saints, who were at a decided disadvantage in time of possession.
The Saints benefited from a pass interference call against DeJuan Gomes on wide receiver Lance Moore and wound up getting a 21-yard field goal from Garrett Hartley with 1:50 to go in the third quarter to cut the margin to 30-17. The Redskins defense held up again in keeping the high powered New Orleans offense out of the end zone when it appeared it was back in rhythm.
Saints wide receiver Devery Henderson got hit by Madieu Williams after making a catch and remained on the Superdome turf for several minutes before getting to his feet and walking off to the sideline. Redskins players had their helmets off while the Saints medical staff attended to Henderson, who was a non-factor during the game.
Redskins first-year place kicker Billy Cundiff boots a 37-yard field goal with 7:10 to play for a 30-14 lead. Washington failed to score 30 points all last season, by the way. And in case you’ve been enthralled with our new live blog at the Football Insider, here’s a quick look at other games around the NFL in the third quarter. The Jets lead Buffalo, 40-7, behind three Mark Sanchez touchdown passes; the Eagles are hanging on against the Browns, 10-3; and the Lions are locked in a 13-13 tie with the Rams.
Raise your hand if you thought midway through the third quarter that the Redskins would be winning in time of possession, 22:37-11.33 and ahead by 13 points. Certainly Saints fans didn’t. Apparently the Superdome is the quietest it’s been for a long time during a Saints game.
Getting a little quiet in the Superdome
— The Insider (@Insider) September 9, 2012
So much for the demoralizing Saints touchdown before halftime. The Redskins responded by taking a chance by going for it on fourth down and less than yard, and the decision paid off when Roman Harper was called for pass interference in the end zone trying to defend Aldrick Robinson. Harper appeared to have his arm on Robinson’s shoulder pad, but the contact otherwise was minimal. One play later, Alfred Morris ran in for a touchdown for a 27-14 lead.
The Washington Redskins had an uplifting first half end in deflating fashion when the Saints blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown with 40 seconds left before intermission to trim the lead to 20-14. Quarterback Robert Griffin III looked fantastic in his professional debut, completing 11 of 13 passes for 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
RT: @mikewiseguy Saints have no idea what Griffin is going to do — they’re befuddled defensively.
— The Insider (@Insider) September 9, 2012
How that last Saints touchdown affects Washington’s spirits will be worth watching to start the second half.
In his first punt of the game, Sav Rocca has his kick blocked and returned for a touchdown by the Saints, who cut the lead to 20-14 with 40 second to go before halftime. Completely demoralizing for the Redskins, who had looked sensational until that point.
Marques Colston had what appeared a sure touchdown taken away when safety Cedric Griffin punched out the ball just before the Saints wide receiver was about to reach the end zone. Saints tight end Jimmy Graham had a chance to recover, but DeJon Gomes bumped it out for a touchback that was confirmed after a replay review with 1:46 to play before halftime.
Billy Cundiff’s 41-yard field goal with 6:08 to play until halftime gives the Redskins a 20-7 lead over New Orleans. The Redskins extended their advantage in time of possession to 17:15 to 6:37, and Robert Griffin III continues to shine in his debut.
Here are the images of RGIII watching his first career touchdown pass while sitting on his rear.
“God willing, RGIII watching his first NFL touchdown happen will still be an iconic D.C. sports image many, many years from now,” one fan wrote. “I want this on a poster. I want this on a t-shirt. We’ll hold off on the statue. For now.”
Do they still make posters? If so, this one would sell.
Robert Griffin III has completed passes to five players in the first half, which bodes well if wide receiver Pierre Garcon questionable to return.
RT: Mike Jones @mikejoneswapoGarcon has right foot injury. Questionable to return.
— The Insider (@Insider) September 9, 2012
Aldrick Robinson has looked more than capable in the slot, and tight end Fred Davis should become more of a factor as the Saints adjust to make sure Griffin doesn’t burn them over the top.
On third down and goal from the 5-yard line, Robert Griffin III threw a slant to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson that was right on the money for a touchdown to put the Redskins ahead 17-7, with 11:33 to play until halftime. Griffin had plenty of time to spot Robinson, who had a step on his defender and caught the ball unimpeded into the end zone.
Well that couldn’t have gone much better for the Redskins, who had a two to one time of possession advantage over the Saints as well as a 10-7 lead. The big play was an 88-yard touchdown pass from Robert Griffin III to Pierre Garcon late in the first quarter. Clearly this offense is much more dynamic that last season, especially with Griffin a treat to run or pitch in the option.
After short passes to start the game, the Redskins opened with a slant over the middle from Robert Griffin III to Pierre Garcon for an 88-yard touchdown to reclaim the lead, 10-7 with 3 minutes 41 seconds left in the first quarter. Griffin’s pass was a little ahead of Garcon, who made a nice adjustment and pulled away from the secondary for the first explosive play of the RG3 era. Could be in store for a shootout folks.
The Saints moved down the field virtually at will after opening with three plays and a punt. Quarterback Drew Brees got tight end Jimmy Graham heavily involved, including completing a 20-yard touchdown to him over the middle with linebacker London Fletcher in coverage and safety Madieu Williams trying to help over the top. Running backs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas also contributed to the seven-play, 80-yard drive in which Brees threw a touchdown in a 15th straight game, passing Johnny Unitas for the NFL record.
Robert Griffin III completed all six of his passes on the Redskins opening drive, and place kicker Billy Cundiff’s 37-yard field goal produced the first points of the game. Griffin completed screen passes to Pierre Garcon, Aldrick Robinson and Brandon Banks as Washington stayed conservative in the first drive of Griffin’s professional career. Perhaps the most encouraging part of the drive was 7 minutes29 seconds time of possession.
Robert Griffin III has thrown a half dozen wide receiver screens, so watch for something over the middle to tight end Fred Davis. Saints are thinking passes on the perimeter this entire drive.
A great start by the Redskins defense, which holds the Saints to three plays and punt. New Orleans had the fewest three-and-outs on opening drives last season.
Fox on-field analyst Tony Siragusa lauds Robert Griffin III: “He could be a potential nightmare for this Saints secondary.”
You know the Saints are going to try to score 50 points, and it may well happen against the Redskins shaky secondary. That means Robert Griffin III’s debut figures to include a lot of passing, especially in the second half. He’ll also get his share of yards by scrambling because the Redskins will be throwing a bunch late in the game. Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis also should be ready for heavy work.
We’ve seen before that Robert Griffin III is not too proud to write saccharine motivational sayings on his articles of clothing.
He wrote HTTR on his cleats early in training camp. He wrote “Seize the Moment” on his cleats later in training camp. He does things that middle schoolers do, without any shame, and later happily explains his motivational techniques.
Sunday morning, he went with the word “HEART” on his chest.
As my editor pointed out, imagine the conversation Coach Mike Shanahan had with Rex Grossman informing the quarterback that he would be used in emergency situations only and that rookie Kirk Cousins would be No. 2. Shanahan does have experience with these situations, having informed Donovan McNabb of his benching.
Alfred Morris getting the start today underscores a league-wide trend, at least in the opener, of reserve running backs perhaps in store for heavy workloads. There’s Robert Turbin in Seattle, Toby Gerhardt in Minny, Monterio Hardesty and Brandon Jackson in Cleveland, Rashad Jennings in Jacksonville, and the list goes on. Morris may be on the field first, but Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan has a track record of using running back by committee, so Evan Royster and Roy Helu will get touches.
QB Rex Grossman is inactive, which means rookie Kirk Cousins is the backup. Meantime, Alfred Morris appears in line to be the starting tailback for the Redskins today over Evan Royster and Roy Helu. Fantasy owners take note. Still expect Helu to get touches, so roll him out there in your flex spot.