Well, this all seems eerily familiar. The Redskins got off to an inspiring start this season, but now that the halfway point comes knocking, the team is starting to fade in the standings.
They haven't been great in the win column, but at least the team provided a spark on offense that had just about every Redskins fan optimistic. After today's loss to the previously 1-6 Panthers, though, the fans have become disillusioned.
A lot of my followers on Facebook are obviously Redskins fans, and I could tell by the status updates that they were just a tad unhappy about the results of the game. I think someone even called for a beheading of a certain defensive coordinator, which is a little excessive.
The focal point of the Redskins' offensive resurgence, however, was the quarterback Robert Griffin III. Time and time again throughout the season he dazzled us with some amazing plays and helped a once-defunct offense light up the scoreboard.
Ever since that magical drive that led the Redskins to a late lead over the Giants (a game which they eventually lost, unsurprisingly), the offense just hasn't been up to par. RGIII and the Redskins looked downright miserable against a tough Pittsburgh defense, and then underwhelming against a poor Panthers defense.
It just seems like RGIII just hasn't been RGIII-esque the past two weeks. By no means am I saying that he has regressed or that he is bad in any sort of way. The big plays just haven't been there.
And it certainly isn't all his fault.
In terms of yardage, Griffin had a better game than Cam Newton. Griffin had more passing and rushing yards, with Newton getting more touchdowns, obviously. Griffin did score one, but it was called back due to a penalty.
However, the offensive line for the Redskins didn't give RGIII the kind of support that the Panthers line gave Newton. Griffin was sacked four times today for a total of 29 yards. Cam Newton wasn't sacked at all and it seemed like he never even broke a sweat.
And with the struggles on the offensive line, the running game hasn't been able to get going, which is putting even more pressure on the rookie. Griffin seems to just be feeling to a little bit of the pressure that the franchise has put on him, considering that he seems to be the only serviceable player besides Alfred Morris on the offensive side of the ball.
Without the relief of Pierre Garcon, the receiving corps has not done any services for Griffin. The drops have added up over the last two weeks, killing drives and ruining precious momentum that the Redskins have struggled to find over that time span.
Every rookie hits a wall at some point, and RGIII seems to have clipped it instead of crashing in to it head first (Gus Frerotte reference for you Redskins fans that have been around for awhile). We're seeing the same thing that we saw with Newton last year.
Both weren't winning a lot of ball games, but were inspiring hope with huge plays. In the second half of last season, Newton only went over 215 passing yards twice in that time. Hopefully, the struggles for Griffin won't continue the way they have for Newton (with today being an exception).
With the Redskins having to play from behind against all competitors and injuries piling up on both sides of the ball, it may just be too much for Griffin.
I believe we will see RGIII bounce back in a big way, even though the schedule gets harder. With the playoffs seemingly out of reach, the focus for Mike Shanahan will be developing his QB and seeing how he handles the pressure. Just don't be surprised if all the pressure becomes too much and we don't see the huge numbers we saw in the first portion of the 2012 campaign.