Rob Woodfork, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - I wasn't going to go this route for the first NFL recap of the 2012 season. We definitely talk enough about him locally, we'll likely talk even more about him through the years, and it feels like I'm doing a column per week about him as it is.
However, given the national attention being paid Robert Griffin III, I'd be remiss if I didn't.
Tony Dungy tweeted him congrats. Cinch Hall-of-Famers like Drew Brees and Tom Brady made public how impressed they were. Every sports show worth its salt put the Redskins' star quarterback at the very top of the rundown.
Perhaps not since Stephen Strasburg's first game as a National has a rookie's debut actually surpassed the hype leading up to it like RGIII's. The Redskins' win in New Orleans goes down as the upset of the week (although I personally don't get why...my reasons are spelled out here), and RGIII was easily the standout player of the Sunday action.
Five rookies took the field this week, and not only did none of them win, but none were within shouting distance of what Griffin did in the Superdome. His two touchdowns, zero turnovers, and 139.9 QB rating surpassed what the other four rookies accomplished combined. Anybody who predicted a coming out party like that likely got mocked more than I did for picking the Skins to finish 9-7 this year.
For the first time in a long time, the Redskins have a player who's not just the talk of the town, he's the talk of the nation. People who have been indifferent to the Washington sports scene (or even hate it altogether) are suddenly on the team bandwagon. That's what having a charismatic and classy kid at quarterback with a unique skill set will do for a franchise.
As I've said, we can't read too much into this first game. RGIII won't complete 73 percent of his passes every week. He'll eventually throw an interception or two. The offensive line won't keep his jersey that clean every week. But it's pretty safe to say that, barring injury, he's not going to go down as a bust.
Furthermore, Griffin has more help than any of the other rookie quarterback that took the field Sunday. The Redskins' defense is probably a tad underrated and the ground game saved RGIII from having to take the team on his shoulders a la Cam Newton last season. For a rookie in his first game, RGIII couldn't have asked for a better assist.
So Redskins Nation can feel free to bask in the glow of a road win few gave the Skins a chance to capture so long as the joy is contained to this: A week one victory and a fine start to the year. Just know that Griffin won't make it look this easy every week, and there will be some bumps in the road to his development, especially once the rest of the league pops in the film and gets a beat on what he likes to do.
In the meantime, go ahead an enjoy the thrill ride that is RGIII.
Ok, lets recap opening week:
- Cowboys 24, Giants 17
Great start to the season for Dallas. The win silences the talk about "windows" for at least a week, and puts the defending champion New York in last place to start the season. But nobody says Tony Romo and the Cowboys aren't able to win this game in September. They still have to prove they can win a game like this in December and January.
- Redskins 40, Saints 32
Boy, I hate to say I told you so ... but I told you so. It's only one game, but this is what's possible when you have a playmaker at quarterback that protects the football.
- Bears 41, Colts 21
Not a good start to the Andrew Luck era in Indy. But then again, the Peyton Manning era started just as badly.
- Eagles 17, Browns 16
Amazing what a combined eight interceptions does for these two fanbases. Cleveland fans wish Brandon Weeden stayed trapped under the American flag, and every Philly fan I know was on Twitter Sunday ready to jump in the middle of the Schuykill Expressway after Vick threw the pick six to former Terp D'Qwell Jackson. Just imagine the carnage if the Eagles actually lost.
- Lions 27, Rams 23
Good to see Sam Bradford back and playing well. But after seeing that Roger Saffold injury, I can't help but wonder if the St. Louis offensive line will be able to keep Bradford healthy for 16 games.