Long overdue, that victory on Sunday felt awesome—and for more reasons than just the obvious ones. Washington hasn’t looked that good in years—seven years, to be exact. It’s been that long since the Redskins have scored 40-plus points in a single game.
There was a noticeable vibe the team and the players were putting out that we didn’t see last season; more energy, more heart and much more motivation to win.
We can count the players that had obvious impacts on the game. Offensively, Robert Griffin III made the Redskins relevant again with his performance against the Saints, new addition Pierre Garcon made an 88-yard catch and run for a touchdown to take the lead early.
On defense, the front seven held the Saints to a measly 32 rush yards. In 2011, the Saints were ranked sixth in the league for rushing—they averaged 132.9 rush yards per game (as recorded by NFL.com).
We’ve all heard the Saints' excuses after their humbling loss to the ‘Skins (they don’t have the same offense without Sean Payton, their defense looks weak this season, etc…). Time will tell if these are legitimate claims, but as it stands right now, the Redskins just beat one of the top teams in the NFC.
RGIII may be one of the biggest reasons that the Redskins pulled off this long-awaited feat, but he had a tremendous amount of help from these guys.
How does he do it? Season after season—I don’t think he’s lost a step after all the years he’s played in the NFL. Would it be too far-fetched to assume that Chuck Norris has a poster of this guy hanging up above his bed?
At 37 and heading into his 15th year as a pro, London Fletcher is still the undisputed leader of the Redskins' defense. That was further proved by his performance against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
His stats only show three tackles, but they don’t show the forced fumble that the refs didn’t acknowledge or the read that he made on Darren Sproles that resulted in a touchdown-saving pass breakup. Not to mention all of the coaching fellow defensive players on the sideline that he was doing.
Chronically underrated, Fletcher will probably never get the recognition that he fully deserves. After Sunday, though, it couldn’t be more obvious that he’s just as important to the team as RGIII is.
He had a great game against the Saints, and I’m willing to bet that he continues to impress all season long—and probably for the next 100 seasons after that!
Second-year receiver Aldrick Robinson made a huge difference against the Saints after Pierre Garcon injured his foot.
He brought to the table exactly what the ‘Skins needed. On four receptions, he managed to accumulate 52 yards and a touchdown.
It surprised me when he was brought into the game, since Leonard Hankerson is above him on the depth chart. Regardless, he showed that he’s capable of making plays after catching the ball, which was one of the many problems for the Redskins last season.
Nobody is going to doubt his place on the roster after the spark he managed to generate with RGIII. It’s nice to know that the Redskins have a guy like this on hand; it sure paid off against the Saints.
While I don’t doubt that Alfred Morris is the ideal starter for the Redskins, Roy Helu is a starting-caliber running back, and he’s currently only third on the depth chart.
Who would make the best starting back?
Whereas Morris is brute, wearing down defensive lines with his strength and refusal to stop, Roy Helu is quite the opposite.
Helu is fast, hits lanes hard and doesn’t get caught from behind once he makes it past the line. Together, they make the perfect one-two punch.
Although I’m sure that Helu would prefer to start, he’s in a position to make a substantial difference for the Redskins this season. Against the Saints, Shanahan used him as a third-down back. In that time, Helu only ran twice, but he caught three receptions for 25 yards.
I don’t know if Shanahan is done with his “running back by committee” offense yet, but either way—Roy Helu is set to have a great year with the Redskins. He may not accumulate the yards that he would as a starter, but he’s going to be a difference-maker for the team.
I was extremely impressed with Williams against the Saints. Offensive linemen don’t often get credit for their job, but Williams did a fantastic job defending RGIII against the Saints' pass rush.
It wasn’t just his blocking on the line either, Trent Williams seemed to be everywhere on the field, making blocks wherever needed.
In the NFC East, Williams is a huge asset for the Redskins. Teammate Brian Orakpo predicted that Williams would be a top-three lineman this year—if he’s right, RGIII has reason to feel safe.