— First thing first; long snapper Nick Sundberg deserves a medal of honor for playing with a broken arm suffered on the games first punt. I can’t imagine how much that must suck for anyone, but the fact that he didn’t let his team down and delivered good snaps the rest of the game and played teams in phenomenal.
— London Fletcher is the ageless wonder. Yes, Jimmy Graham made big catches. But London had damn near perfect coverage on all of them; it’s just impossible to defend Graham. But London did accomplish the impossible task of covering Darren Sproles in space. Yes, that Darren Sproles.
— Kory Lichtensteiger got a couple of holding calls against him, but I was still impressed with how well he played after getting his knee scoped in preseason and having pretty much no time to get ready. Kory was firing off the ball big time. The combo of Kory and Trent Williams leaves us with a very strong left side of the line.
— Speaking of Trent Williams; what happened to Will Smith? What happened was that he was largely neutralized by Silverback. So much for the Saints being amped to come out and dominate. Of all the NFC East offensive lines, the Redskins looked the best; probably faint praise, but further proof that we’re closer to being good than being godawful.
— Alfred Morris is looking more and more like a hidden gem. Finishing with 96 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries, Morris didn’t always explode for big plays, but he kept our offense in time and handled himself nicely in pass protection.
— Of course Alfred and RG3 has a couple miscues, as rookies are want to do. Funny enough, I didn’t think tripping Robert on a handoff was that big a deal; on the Redskins first drive, when Robert got pressured, Morris appeared to not know whether to continue blocking David Hawthorne when Robert pulled the ball down or become a pass option. Griffin III and Morris both smacked into each other and went down.
Just a kind, friendly, and somewhat amusing reminder than these two guys are still just rookies.
— This game probably been over more quickly if Pierre Garçon hadn’t injured his foot in the first half. On the day he had 4 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. (By the way—number 88 caught an 88 yard touchdown in his Redskins debut. Seriously). Garçon in one play showcased why the Redskins paid what they paid to get him, and he could’ve easily had 9 or 10 catches and another score if he hadn’t gotten hurt.
— Aldrick Robinson also acquitted himself quite nicely when he came in to replace Garçon. The second year receiver had 4 catches for 52 yards and a touchdown, and drew a pass interference call in the end zone to set up another touchdown. People seemed to think Robinson wouldn’t see the field very often, but the fact that he was the first got off the bench when Garçon went down means he’ll get a lot more looks as the season goes on.
— Stephen Bowen was pretty much a beast, collapsing the pocket just about every time he was on the field. The defensive line dominated and incredible talented New Orleans Saints offensive line, and they did it the right way; they pressured Brees up the middle, and then, with a couple of exceptions, didn’t let him scramble and find throwing lanes.
— Warren Sapp always says the front end and the back end have to work together, and considering they were facing Drew frickin’ Brees, the much maligned Redskins secondary did a very solid job in coverage. With the d-line getting consistent push, it seemed like the Redskins were great at taking away Brees’ first read and forcing in completions.
Brees loves to throw it up and let his guys make a play, but our secondary did a very good job of keeping thing in front of them and not giving up the big plays. Especially impressive was Cedric Griffin, who played very well after a rough preseason. And even after getting worked by Marques Colston, Griffin stripped the football and forced a touchback.
— Unfortunately, Madieu Williams did not have as good of a game as the rest of his secondary. I think he played decently overall, but the killers were the penalties. The Saints hardly moved the ball except off penalty yardage, and two of the drives that made the game way closer than it needed to be were off Williams penalties, one of which will get him a very hefty fine.
If Williams wants to keep his job, he’d better keep his head on straight and not make those kind of stupid mistakes. DeJon Gomes looked really good in coverage and Brandon Merriweather should be healthy soon.
— Ryan Kerrigan straight up bullied the Saints left tackle on the sack. Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo flipped sides often in yesterday’s game and got in Brees face with regularity.
— Two years ago, the Redskins went to overtime after Reed Doughty, somehow, ended up one-on-one with Andre Johnson versus the Texans. Then we lost. Reed Doughty had a game clinching interception today. What a difference two years makes.
— The Redskins forced two interceptions and two fumbles. Yes, it was two fumbles, and I will treat it like two fumbes because it was two fumbles, because Jimmy Graham’s forward progress was not stopped, he was still churning his feet trying to break the tackle.
But yeah, the Redskins, all told, forced four turnovers in this game. After a severe turnover drought last season, they’ll hope they can continue that going forward.
— Kyle Shanahan has taken a lot of crap since coming to Washington; sometimes it’s fair, sometimes it’s not. But Kyle called a masterful game yesterday. Yeah, it would’ve been nice to be able to chew a little more clock in the fourth quarterback, but he set his young quarterback up for success early, got him comfortable, and then sat back and watched the magic happen.
— Anyone else see the ginormous smile on Mike Shanahan’s face after Robert’s first touchdown? I could almost here him going “damn I’m good.”
And now what you’ve all been scrolling down the page to see…
— The funny thing about this game is, even though I knew Robert Griffin III would play well, I had convinced myself that we wouldn’t win. As soon as Robert threw his first NFL touchdown, my girlfriend turned to me and said “and you were ready to give up on your team!”. And every time he made a play, my girlfriend said “I told you so”.
And she was absolutely right. For the first time in a long time, we may not have to dread that sense of doom, that the other shoe is going to drop. The game got close, but somehow I felt like the end result was never going to be in doubt.
— His poise and confidence were off the charts. When he played at Baylor, I was always impressed by his ability to turn a bad play into a positive; botched snap? No problem, I’ll pick it up and throw a touchdown. He had a couple miscues, but he never seemed flustered by them. He perseveres through adversity, and might even become stronger because of it.
— The notion that Robert was a run-first quarterback got dispelled in quick order. A few times during the game he had miles of green grass in front of him, but chose to stand in the pocket and make a throw down field.
That it what makes him so hard to defend; you can’t count on him running. The defenses freezes, trying to keep their eyes on him, which gives our guys more time to get open.
— When Robert rolled to his left and had Darrel Young in the flat, I remember saying “Throw it Robert, throw it!”. Then he shook a defender, fired back to the other side of the field, and hit Fred Davis for a big gain. I then shut my big fat mouth, but clearly he knows more than I do.
And he didn’t make that play because he was panicking. He did it with a purpose. He knew where he was going with the ball when he saw Fred Davis break open on the boot. All he had to do was by himself a little time. And he did, and he made the play.
— He wasn’t perfect or anything. He mishandled a few hand offs, came damn close to throwing a pick, and missed a wide open Santana Moss on a keeper. But, when we used to make mistakes, we’d be boned the rest of the game. We made mistakes yesterday and we were still dominating.
— One of the coolest things after the game? Seeing Robert in the press conference, holding his first touchdown ball. It was great that Garçon remembered to make sure he still has it.
— I’m still trying to temper by expectations. The Rams played pretty well on Sunday despite the loss, and we can’t afford to take anyone lightly. But as calm sweeps Redskins Nation, I can’t help but feel that with RG3 at the helm, that won’t be a huge issue.