Every Sunday around this time of the night there’s a fan base that I totally envy. It won’t be the same team every Sunday evening when the weekend comes to a close. It can’t be, really. But right now the team where the arrow looks like it’s completely pointing up is the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins won a 40-32 game in New Orleans and Bob Griffin III threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns. It was the most yardage a rookie had ever thrown for in a winning effort debut. I didn’t see a lot of the game, and they gave up a lot of points; but the Redskins will be the talk of football heading into tomorrow.
They have the superstar at Quarterback. Everything else will fall into place around it. And now that week one is nearly complete, I’ll say right now that I won’t be shocked to see these Redskins steal a wildcard spot at 9-7. They clearly are going to but in. They’ve got the young QB that can do it all, and they just beat a contender on the road. Good for Washington, who has already had the good fortune of baseball season in 2011.
And by the way, the Redskins play at St. Louis next Sunday at 4:00 PM. I had to peak ahead. It’s another winnable game and a chance for the ‘Skins to start 2-0 on the road. It will be a battle and probably a field goal game either way, but I would expect Washington to steal that one.
Knowing what we know now, it turns out it was the Washington Redskins who got the steal in March when they shipped a mere three first-round picks and change to St. Louis for the rights to draft Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.
I mean, if you could renegotiate the terms of that blockbuster deal today, in light of Griffin’s spectacular regular season debut on Sunday in a solar-plexis-punched Superdome, the Rams might wind up demanding Washington’s first-round picks in perpetuity, plus insist Daniel Snyder pick up the tab for all those costly improvements St. Louis is seeking for the Edward Jones Dome.
And the Redskins would pay it. Gladly. If Griffin keeps this up, no price would have been too high, no package too costly for a Washington franchise that has been searching for a savior at quarterback at least since Joe Theismann retired several decades ago. If you thought the RGIII honeymoon was going well in Washington so far, the Redskins’ 40-32 upset of the chip-on-their-shoulder New Orleans Saints should send it raging to ridiculous levels.
Griffin wasn’t just as good as advertised, he was better. He threw for 320 yards (the fourth-highest total for any rookie quarterback in their debut) and two touchdowns on 19 of 26 passing while dismantling the Saints defense with a performance in which both his arm and legs (10 rushes for 42 yards) did significant damage.
You like symmetry? The Redskins scored exactly 10 points in each quarter, the same number Griffin now wears on his back. The 40 points were easily a high for the three-year Mike Shanahan era in D.C., and Griffin’s perfect passer rating in the first half (158.3, 11 of 13 for 182 yards and two touchdowns) included an 88-yard scoring throw to new Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon, who happens to wear No. 88.
It was that kind of day in the building the Saints usually own. Washington’s future was fully on display, and it looked so bright every Redskins player, coach and team official ought to have been wearing shades.
“It felt like we won a playoff game or a Super Bowl,” said Garcon, describing the Redskins’ jubilant postgame locker room. “It was just exciting. It was great. We were very excited that we did our thing, and we knew that only us in the locker room gave ourselves a chance.”
Redskins, buying in. It’s a dangerous thing, I’m telling you right now. I suddenly have a feeling about the Redskins.
Other observations around the NFL on Sunday……
–My GOD, is Brandon Weeden awful. The Cleveland Browns are a self-destructing, skin-eating disease. They attack their own immune system. The evil people at the top of that franchise are not doing justice to the men of that defense who deserved a win today. And if Colt McCoy (hardly the answer at QB for the Browns) would have been under center today, the Browns would have won their first opener in eight years.
Instead, the Browns did it their way. They are smarter than everyone, after all. Brandon Weeden comes out, fires a 6.0 QB rating and misses several throws that would have gone for touchdowns and won his team the game. The defense fought their asses off for four full quarters and were good enough to beat the heavily favored Eagles somehow.
But Weeden, who was named the starter just days into training camp because he was apparently just ready to be a pro would have none of it. I feel bad for all my friends who are still Cleveland Browns fans. I never doubted the Eagles winning this game for a second, no matter how it looked. I knew Weeden couldn’t make enough plays and Pat Shurmur couldn’t coach his way to a win over Andy Reid. I just knew it. And I was right. And I’m right about this Browns regime. They need to fire mostly everyone and they need to do it as soon as they can.
The best part about today for Cleveland is that after seeing Weeden play (he’s Derek Anderson minus accuracy–if you can imagine that) Matt Barkley probably went shopping for Cleveland winter clothes.
-Andrew Luck’s NFL debut was a rough one. Jim Irsay’s twitter sits silent. I think that the Colts are going to get their first win next week in Indianapolis. They hung in this one tough for a while. The match up was not one that was good for the Colts. Their pass defense is very bad. Andrew Luck couldn’t have faced many tougher defenses to debut four full-go quarters with.
The end result is a 41-21 loss in Chicago.
He did throw his first NFL touchdown pass, a strike to Donnie Avery. Luck made a lot of throws that made me say “wow”. He’s going to have a lot of really good Sunday’s with Chucky Pagano. I like the Colts as an organization. Luck is going to play a very solid game next week in his Indianapolis debut.
-Lastly, my Panthers fell to the Buccaneers 16-10. I’ll have a more complete wrap up tomorrow or later in the week. This one sucked because I kind of had this game counted as a “W” before it happened. There’s none of that in the NFL.
Cam Newton had an up and down day, but by no means was he bad. He threw for 300 yards in his sleep and he lead two scoring drives. At the end of the day, he’s the most electric player in the NFL. That’s going to count for something at some point this season. And there will be Sunday nights where the Panthers had no business winning a game and still managed to do it.
There will be better days for Super Cam and Carolina.