10 Things We Learned from the Redskins' 40-32 Win over the Saints
Nothing like a little excitement to start the season, right? Even though the Redskins outplayed the Saints through most of the game, they only came away with an eight-point win in New Orleans. There was a lot to take away from the contest, so here we go:
Robert Griffin III Really is That Good
Just...wow. We've all been expecting big things but we didn't quite think he would have more passing yards in his debut than all but one rookie (Cam Newton, 2011). He showed great poise, was able to turn a bad play into a positive and was on the money for most of the afternoon.
If this is how RG3 is going to play, then sign me up. For the past few years, watching a Redskins game has been dull at best and excruciating at worst. With this kind of excitement, we could find the Redskins on national television much more often.
I know it's just one game, but how can you not be impressed? This should translate into big things for the rookie quarterback and perhaps the Giants (who are now alone in the NFC East cellar) will stop calling him "Bob."
Alfred Morris Appears to Have Won the Starting Running Back Job
96 yards on 28 carries isn't exactly a legendary game, but he was efficient and made a few big plays when needed. Evan Royster and Roy Helu each only had two carries and Morris was the man for the rest.
To all the fantasy nerds, this is good news as he was also the feature back in the red zone and goal line. This could all change if he gets so much as a head cold (this is Mike Shanahan after all) but right now he looks like the primary back until further notice.
We Need to See More From the Tight Ends
Fred Davis had just two catches for 38 yards and Logan Paulsen made the play of the game with a 22-yard reception to essentially seal the deal. But there was a lot left to be desired.
Add the fact that Niles Paul was basically nowhere to be seen and didn't have a single pass thrown his way.
Coming into the season, I anticipated Davis to be a Pro Bowl tight end, and he's going to need some bigger games than this to prove it. There is a lot of time left in the season, so we'll expect him to turn it around.
Perhaps a scenario where the Redskins bring back Chris Cooley and cut Rex Grossman is possible. One can dream, right?
The Skins Will Need Pierre Garçon to Come Back
At the time this was written, there was no major update on Pierre Garçon after he left with a foot injury and didn't return. He was the recipient of Robert Griffin's first career touchdown on an 88-yard scamper down the field for the score.
How many yards will Garcon finish with?
It looked like Griffin would have been perfectly content to keep chucking the ball his way before he was injured. I can only imagine what ungodly numbers he would have put up today if he hadn't left.
He was getting open, making plays and moving the chains—everything that you ask your No.1 receiver to do. If he misses significant time, it will certainly hurt the team. Hopefully we see him back in Week 2 against St. Louis.
The Secondary May Not be so Bad After All
Drew Brees had 339 passing yards and three touchdowns on 24 completions. That is very misleading, though.
People will probably forget that he also had 28 incompletions and two interception. The Redskins were ahead by multiple possessions for a good portion of the game, so the defense switched to more of a prevent which allowed Brees to pile up yards.
With the exception of Jimmy Graham, the Redskins secondary appeared to match up pretty well with the Saints receivers. Top receiver Marques Colston was shut down by DeAngelo Hall for the most part and the deep coverage was exceptional.
The depth caught up with them a little bit as Lance Moore was able to get free in the second half to have a big game, but there's not many offenses left on the schedule that are anywhere near as potent as the Saints'.
A Noisy Crowd Didn't Affect the Young Offense
New Orleans is one of the most difficult places to play. If you watched the game on mute, you wouldn't have even known that.
The Redskins were visibly unshaken by arguably the loudest stadium in the league. They never panicked, and only committed one false start the entire game. The crowd noise definitely went down a few decibels when the Redskins started to take control of the game.
The noise kicked back in towards the end when New Orleans made it close, but it didn't affect the Redskins. If they can play and win in New Orleans, they should be able to do that anywhere.
The Redskins can Win in a Track Meet
When's the last time anyone has been able to say that? Boasting a rookie quarterback and running back, the Redskins still got into a track meet and won against one of the best and fastest offenses in the NFL.
We'll have to see if they can win in a slugfest, but if opposing teams want to light up the scoreboard, Washington will be more than happy to accommodate.
Washington finished today with 464 yards and 40 points. I'll give you a moment to digest that.
Gone are the days of the slow Redskins offenses that just plod around the field and show almost zero athleticism. This offense is very young, so scoreboards better look out for the next decade or so.
The Offensive Line was Good, but not Great
Robert Griffin was only sacked twice for a total of 12 yards, so there's the good. The bad was the fact that he was under pressure quite a bit today and had to make plays with his legs.
As for the run blocking, there weren't any gaping holes that were opened up, but they were hardly ever moving backwards. There were a lot of question marks about the line coming into the season, and those won't go away. But it could have been a lot worse.
When the division teams play the Redskins, there could be some trouble as all three NFC East teams are exceptional in the pass rush. Again, it could have been much, much worse.
Win the Turnover Battle, Win the Game
It was refreshing to see a Redskins quarterback go an entire 60 minutes without throwing an interception. Also, there were no lost fumbles. What is going on with this team?
Meanwhile, the defense was able to muster up three takeaways (although one was on a Hail Mary to end the game). I know that at some point this season, a ball carrier will lose a fumble and Griffin will throw a pick. But so far, so good.
How would you rate the Redskins performance?
Brian Orakpo should have pulled down a pick in the fourth quarter that would have ended the game a lot sooner, but that was the only egregious drop of the afternoon by the defense. This is a good sign and hopefully it carries over.
It's Time to Look Forward to St. Louis
The Redskins shouldn't drool over themselves by starting 1-0, because a loss to the Rams would completely negate the great start. We've seen the Redskins lose to the Rams in early-season trap games before, so there is no such thing as preparing too little.
I hope you enjoyed the game everyone, I'll see you next week after what will hopefully be a 2-0 start. Get excited about this team, we haven't been able to in quite some time.
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