Not many outside of those close to the Washington Redskins believed that with a rookie quarterback and a banged-up secondary, the Redskins could come into the Superdome and beat the New Orleans Saints and their high-powered offense.
It turns out that it doesn’t really matter what others believe.
The Redskins — with rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III under center — opened the 2012 season with a 40-32 win over the Saints in front of 72,180 loud fans in New Orleans.
The Saints still made things interesting, getting a 33-yard pass and catch from Drew Brees to Lance Moore and a two-point conversion with 6:19 remaining in the game to narrow the Redskins’ lead to 33-25.
A three-and-out by Griffin III and the Redskins offense wasn’t much to milk enough time off the clock to hold back the Saints from a possible game-tying scenario.
The Saints began that drive on their own 27-yard line with 3:39 remaining and two timeouts at their disposal. But on the very first play of that drive, Brees overthrew his receiver (with a Redskins defender in his face), leading to an interception by safety DeJon Gomes, who returned it 49 yards to the Saints’ 3-yard line, leading to a touchdown run by rookie Alfred Morris — his second of the game.
I’ll keep this short, because I’m sure you’ll all read so much commentary about this game that you can’t keep your eyes open anymore.
But, in my mind, there’s a few main reasons why the Redskins won this game:
- They took advantage of a New Orleans Saints team that clearly has some rust to knock off heading into the regular season. The Saints were penalized today 11 times for 97 yards by the 10:52 mark in the fourth quarter. Several of those penalties were back-breakers that extended Redskins drives and allowed them to, at the least, get field goals and more points on the scoreboard.
- The Redskins’ offensive line played marvelously, and allowed Griffin III to have enough time to let his receivers’ routes develop downfield. Griffin III was not sacked the entire game, which is a huge credit to the offensive line (and to Griffin III’s mobility and creativity as a playmaker).
- Washington’s secondary gave up a few big plays, but that’s to be expected against a quarterback like Drew Brees that set the NFL record for passing yards in a season in 2011. The Redskins’ corners and safeties — and their coach, Raheem Morris — should be applauded for a terrific game plan. Gomes had the big play on the day, picking off Brees on their final drive, but Cedric Griffin, DeAngelo Hall, Madieu Williams and others deserve lots of credit.
- Kicker Billy Cundiff was rock solid, converting all four of his field-goal attempts (37, 41, 37 and 45 yards, respectively). Cundiff was brought in late in the preseason as a proven veteran (2010 Pro Bowler/First-Team All-Pro), and the acquisition is paying off so far.
And here’s how big-time Redskins fan (and DMV native Kevin Durant) felt about the game:
CHIME IN: What do you think of the Redskins’ performance today? Feel free to comment below.
Tags: 2012 regular season, new orleans saints, washington redskins
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