The 2012 season for the Washington Redskins has officially opened in Buffalo with a 7-6 Redskins preseason win.
But before we get to the complete game reaction, here’s a little bit from the fourth quarter.
The Bills got back on the scoreboard at the 13:20 mark with a 45-yard field goal from kicker Rian Lindell — his second of the day — bringing the margin to one at 7-6.
On their next drive, the Redskins marched into Bills territory, getting to the 34-yard line. On 3rd and 13, Cousins found Aldrick Robinson for a 11-yard pass, but rookie tackle Tom Compton was flagged for holding, bringing the ball back to the 44.
Cousins’ next pass sailed on Terrence Austin, bringing punter Sav Rocca on the field, who booted the ball to the 11-yard line.
But like the rest of the game, the Bills couldn’t get any momentum going offensively. Fortunately for Buffalo, Washington’s offense wasn’t much better.
With 4:32 left in the game, Rocca took the snap from Nick Sundberg and booted a 38-yard punt. The Bills took over from their own 46-yard line with a new quarterback, the speedy Brad Smith.
Smith — who is also listed as a wide receiver — took his first snap and ran for six yards. After a five-yard penalty by the Redskins’ defense, Washington stood tall again and forced a Buffalo punt after a sack by linebacker Bryan Kehl.
From there, the Redskins’ offense was able to milk the last two minutes and 10 seconds of the game. Some key plays: Cousins found Robinson again on a hook route near the sideline for a first down; Robinson then beat his man deep near the Bills’ 13-yard line and drew a pass interference call against Buffalo, giving the Redskins 1st and 10 with 1:42 remaining.
With no timeouts left for the home team, Cousins kneeled three times to end the game.
This game will be primarily remembered as the debut of highly-touted rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III — and with good reason.
Griffin lived up to the hype for the most part. He finished 4-for-6 passing with 70 yards and a touchdown. His final passing rating was 145.8.
He was also kept clean by an offensive line that has been struck by injuries throughout training camp. Props goes to that unit for doing a solid job the entire game.
Two of the Redskins’ bigger free agent acquisitions over the offseason — wide receivers Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan — also had quality outings. Garcon was targeted four times and had three catches for 58 yards and the Redskins’ lone touchdown, a 20-yard reception. Morgan, meanwhile, had four catches for 49 yards.
But the story of the game, to me, was the Redskins’ defense, which held Buffalo to 219 total net yards — 100 yards on the ground and just 119 through the air. As the saying goes, the defense at this point of the season is typically ahead of the offense, and it showed tonight. Ryan Kerrigan, Markus White, Chris Neild (assisted by Darrion Scott) and Bryan Kehl each had sacks for the Redskins, while rookie cornerback Richard Crawford had an interception.
Washington does have some work to do when its second- and third-string offensive units get on the field. Rookie running back Alfred Morris had a pretty good debut with 15 rushes for 54 yards (3.6 yards-per-carry average), but backup quarterbacks Rex Grossman and Kirk Cousins combined to complete just 11-of-32 passes for 96 yards and an interception. Again — Buffalo’s defense had a lot to do with that, so I’m anticipating some improvement next week at Chicago.
That’s it for tonight’s thoughts from Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, N.Y. Feel free to comment on the Redskins’ preseason-opening win below — what were the strengths and weaknesses tonight?
Tags: 2012 preseason, buffalo bills, washington redskins
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