The New York Giants are known for their pass rush and the ability of their front four to generate enough pressure without the defense needing to blitz. Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III won't be afraid.
The Washington Redskins have something special in their first-year signal-caller, and Griffin matches up extremely well against the vaunted Giants pass rush. How can RG3 get it done against the defending Super Bowl champs?
Accuracy Under Pressure
Bob Griffin is the second-most accurate quarterback in the NFL when under pressure. That's not just my opinion; it's a fact based on the amazing tracking skills of Pro Football Focus.
When pressured, Griffin is able to use his unique set of skills to move in the pocket (and out of it) to find passing windows and set up high-percentage throws.
Griffin is dominating in the 10- to 19-yard level, and when the Giants get pressure from off the edge, he is built to step up and deliver strikes to his receivers. And at the rate that he's throwing, those passes are being completed at an 82.1 percent clip.
The Giants will get pressure on Griffin, but that might not be enough to slow him down. What they need are sacks and quarterback hits. If they can do that, they'll have a chance to rattle the rookie quarterback.
Griffin has had one bad game as a pro, and the Giants will definitely look at what the Cincinnati Bengals did upfront while sacking Griffin six times without blitzing.
While that stat is impressive, the Bengals were able to pressure RG3 because left tackle Trent Williams was out of the game. With Williams in the lineup, the Giants will struggle to bring heat off the left edge of the Washington offensive line. After all, Williams has allowed just one sack all season.
Stepping up in the Pocket
The most common problem found when evaluating aggressive defensive lines is that their upfield pressure often opens up natural running and throwing lanes in the pocket. When playing against a dangerous quarterback like Griffin, the defensive line has to be aware of how much room they're generating.
Left tackle Trent Williams excels at pushing pass-rushers out of the play by using their own momentum to push them back behind and away from the quarterback. A hard-crashing defensive end can be knocked off-balance by Williams' strength, giving Griffin a clear running lane off the left tackle.
If Williams can succeed in pushing Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and/or Jason Pierre-Paul upfield, Griffin will have room to step up and throw and also room to run.
Anyone who watched the Minnesota Vikings take on the Redskins in Week 6 will remember this happening late in the game. Minnesota's defensive line is built very similar to New York's, with Jared Allen playing the role of Jason Pierre-Paul.
Washington's base offense shows RG3 with three wide receivers to his right and one deep safety who is spying Griffin and helping over the top in coverage.
When the defensive ends get their first-step pressure, a seam opens in the A-gap due to the outside push of the Redskins offensive line. The nearest unblocked defender is 22 yards away.
Griffin's speed and vision take over, and he steps up in the pocket. At this point, he can run or throw, but there's an infinite amount of green grass in front of him. The quarterback's 4.38 40-yard dash time kicks in, and he races for 76 yards and the go-ahead score.
Stopping Griffin is no easy task, and while New York's front four is equally dangerous (if not more so), the edge in this matchup goes to the rookie.