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RG3, Redskins Fall Short, Lose 33-27 to Eagles in Week 1

Stacy M. Brown and Gary Williams | 9/9/2013, 11 p.m. | Updated on 9/10/2013, 2:12 a.m.
Robert Griffin III came up short Monday against the Philadelphia Eagles in his first game back from a major knee injury. Photo by John DeFreitas

Before kickoff, the hype meter had flown off the charts and the level of anticipation had reached championship game-like proportions.

However, following all the pomp and circumstance and the build up to the 2013 nationally televised season opener on Monday night, veteran quarterback Michael Vick took second-year sensation Robert Griffin III to school at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., turning the showdown between two of the game’s premier quarterbacks into a mismatch that seemed more like a battle between a potential Super Bowl contender and a Pop Warner hopeful.

Vick, 33, completed 15 of 25 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 54 yards on 9 carries, including a 36-yard dash and a three-yard run for a touchdown in the first half as the Eagles took control, beating the 'Skins, 33-27.

The final score failed to indicate the dominance displayed by Vick and the Eagles.

“Our offense was not helping the team by not catching easy passes and by making silly mistakes,” said Kia Anderson, an avid Redskins fan who watched the big game with her family in District Heights, Md. “I think Griffin was afraid to get hurt … the offense did not protect the quarterback,” said Anderson, 19.

Ironically, a controversial call against Vick resulted in the Redskins first score of the night in front of a crowd that numbered more than 82,000.

On first-and-goal from the Redskins’ four-yard line, Vick attempted to swing a pass out to receiver LeSean McCoy, who looped around out of the backfield. Redskin linebacker Ryan Kerrigan deflected the throw, batting Vick’s pass to the ground. The pigskin was picked up by cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who ran 75 yards to the end zone for a Redskins’ touchdown.

Officials ruled that Vick’s pass had been thrown backward, making it a fumble when Kerrigan swatted the ball to the ground. After a video review, referee Ron Winter declared that the play would stand, confirming the touchdown.

Griffin, 23, a former Heisman Trophy winner who spent the entire preseason rehabbing a knee injury, appeared rusty and out of sorts for most of the game, throwing two early interceptions and also fumbling the ball.

Griffin, whom the Eagles sacked three times and knocked down several other times, appeared to come to life in the fourth quarter after the dominating Philadelphia defense began to tire, but his 329 yards on 30 of 49 passing attempts resulted in a subpar 77.7 quarterback rating.

Vick, on the other hand, completed the game with a strong 112.6 quarterback rating.

“The Redskins could have better utilized their other quarterbacks. If they switched, we would have had a better game,” said Reggie Anderson, 24, of District Heights, Md., who kept tabs on the game from church on Monday night.

However, the end result could also be blamed on a Washington defense that couldn’t put the brakes on the speedy and strategic Vick. Despite scoring the touchdown off the fumble recovery, the Redskins defense gave up 322 yards and 26 points in the first half alone, remaining on the field for an excruciating 53 plays.

When Griffin and the offense displayed signs of life in the fourth quarter, the deficit proved too much to overcome.

Despite a 20-point second half, the Redskins succumbed to the mastery of Vick, football’s 2010 comeback player of the year. Following Vick’s fumble, the Eagles quickly recovered their momentum with their star quarterback throwing for two touchdowns and running for another, while the Redskins turned the ball over three times.

“We had too many missed tackles and too many turnovers,” Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said. “We have to do better.”

Griffin told reporters after the game that he felt no rust despite not playing the entire preseason. He took responsibility for the way the team performed in the first half. “That falls on me,” Griffin said. “I’m responsible for the way the team played.”

The new-look, uptempo Eagles offense, run by first-year head coach Chip Kelly, paid early dividends with McCoy rushing for 184 yards and a touchdown.

The Redskins will seek to rebound when they make their first road trip of the season, traveling to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., on Sunday, Sept. 15 for a 1 p.m. game against the Packers.

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