Redskins Win Season Opener
Charle E. Sutton | 9/11/2012, 8:48 a.m.
Robert Griffin III landed in New Orleans, where his parents grew up and where he spent a portion of his childhood, and had as good a game as he and the Redskins could have expected, leading the team to a 40-32 win over the New Orleans Saints.
As the Redskins approached the season opener against the Saints, football pundits were concerned whether Griffin would be able to maintain his composure in his first NFL regular season start.
"My biggest thing this week was to just keep my mind clear," Griffin said as he walked toward the bus that would take the Redskins to the plane, and ultimately home to an excited city.
"I knew if I could just take all the worries out of my mind, I could just play, have fun and ball out."
Asked last week about how he thought the Redskins rookie quarterback Griffin would transition to the NFL, New Orleans star Drew Brees described his fellow Texas native as "a winner." Headded that, "it's only a matter of time before he takes this league by storm. I just hope he doesn't do it on Sunday."
After playing a nearly flawless first half, Griffin,22, became more of a game manager in the second half. In his NFL debut, he completed 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns. The 40 points marked the most scored by the team since Mike Shanahan became head coach in 2010.
Griffin completed passes to seven different receivers, keeping the Saints off balance. Pierre Garcon led the way with four first-half catches for 109 yards and a touchdown prior to leaving with a foot injury. Rookie Alfred Morris started at running back and had a good debut as he gained 97 yards and scored two touchdowns on 25 carries. Also, kicker Billy Cundiff was 4-for-4 on field goals in his first regular season game as a Redskin.
However, the greatest surprise of the game may have come from the Redskins defense.
With weapons like Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Darren Sproles, the Saints were favored by 9.5 points. But defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said last week that he was "very comfortable" with his defensive backs and the schemes developed last week. The coach also emphasized the importance of a strong pass rush to keep Brees from getting comfortable.