WASHINGTON — Remember all the talk in the preseason about the lack of playing time by the Redskins starters?
At least for a week, it didn’t seem to matter much, as both units came out and took charge of the football game and won an opener for the first time since 2012 when Robert Griffin III won his first game in the NFL.
Jay Gruden can also put all the talk to rest about him not winning an opener, he finally got one.
The Redskins offense was fully healthy and got a look at the entire starting 11 in a game situation for the first time all summer. They came out and established the run with Adrian Peterson, who carried the ball 26 times for 96 yards and a touchdown. Peterson looked 23 years old and not 33 on Sunday.
The touchdown was his 100th rushing touchdown of his career, moving him into a tie for seventh all-time with Marhsall Faulk and Shaun Alexander, and one score ahead of Barry Sanders.
Peterson also passed Jim Brown and Marshall Faulk for 10th all-time in rushing. He also had a team high 70 yards receiving.
Peterson’s fellow backfield partner Chris Thompson picked up right where he left off last year before he was injured. Thompson proved to be one of the best on the field again, carrying the ball five times for 65 yards with an average of 13 yards a carry. He also caught six passes for 63 yards and a touchdown.
Jay Gruden did not shy away from keeping it on the ground, including three straight runs inside the redzone. The Redskins, as a team, had 42 carries for 182 yards rushing. That’s how you control the line of scrimmage.
Jordan Reed didn’t play at all this preseason either, but proved that he is one of the best tight ends in the league when healthy. Reed caught four passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. He showed his strength also as he took a few big hits and kept moving forward.
Washington manhandled the Cardinals defense throughout the game putting together touchdown drives of 80, 73 and 92 yards. They did it by controlling the line of scrimmage and with a very efficient Alex Smith.
The numbers were just astounding. The Redskins outgained the Cardinals 429-213 and had 30 first downs to Arizona’s 14. The Cardinals picked up some garbage stats late as they put together a couple decent drives, one resulting in a touchdown to end the shutout.
If those aren’t impressive enough for you, check out the first half stats.
The Redskins held the ball for 22:57 of the first half to 7:03 for Arizona.
Washington outgained the Cardinals 261 yards to 36.
The defense was looking for a shutout for the first time since 1991. The Redskins opened that season with three straight shutouts at home. They also hadn’t had a road shutout since 1989.
That was all out the window when David Johnson scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to get the Cardinals on the board.
Sam Bradford made his Cardinals debut and seemed flustered by the defensive looks by the Redskins all day, completing 24 of 34 passes for 153 yards and an interception. Until his late score, the Redskins had bottled up David Johnson for most of the game as well.
He only had 37 yards on nine carries and the late touchdown.
In the secondary, cornerback Quinton Dunbar had an interception and continues to show his worth at corner.
Next week is another very winnable game for this team as Indianapolis comes to town.
Rookie wide receiver Cam Sims injured his ankle on the opening kickoff and was carted off the field. He did not return.
Wide receiver Trey Quinn, who started the game returning punts, left in the third quarter, also with an ankle injury and did not return.
Jay Gruden said that both will have MRIs on Monday.
Rookie safety Troy Apke also left the game with a hamstring injury.
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