- If I’m with the Eagles, I have one thought after a game like this: “Oh, no; it’s not going to be fun facing this kid for the next decade or so.” Actually, one word would probably do but I don’t think I could get away with printing it. Robert Griffin III consistently made big plays at times when it appeared he was hemmed in or finished. He hurt the Eagles with his arm and his legs. The Giants had to be feeling the same way last month. In two NFC East games, Griffin is a combined 34 for 43 for 458 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. He’s also rushed for 173 yards. Sunday, Griffin had three passes for at least 20 yards, two runs that gained at least that many and a third that ended up gaining 26 yards –11 on the carry and 15 after a late hit. My guess is Dallas will feel the same way as the others after Thursday. I really don’t know what else to say about this aspect and I think coordinators in this division already knew they were going to have headaches facing this kid. But to think it and then see it is something else. The Giants saw it and now the Eagles have.
- They always talk about how it’s difficult to prepare for Griffin’s speed and how it’s different once you see it in person. Think that was the case with linebacker Mychal Kendricks on Griffin’s first third-down scramble. As Griffin ran around left end on a third and six, Kendricks’ angle was too shallow and it allowed the rookie to get around the end for 10 yards. A better angle by Kendricks and there’s no guarantee that Griffin picks up the first down. Later in the game, on another run around the end, Kendricks fixed his angle – not as shallow – and it made a big difference. But that first scramble mattered because the Redskins scored a touchdown three plays later.
- In fact, both of Griffin’s third down runs played a big role in their scoring chances. The other one came on a third and 14 from the Redskins’ 16. Again, the Eagles had him stopped thanks to good coverage and an OK rush. But you know what you can’t do against Griffin? Rush undisciplined. And defensive tackle Fletcher Cox lost his alley and that created an opening Griffin could escape through to the left side for a 23-yard gain. Three plays later: the 61-yarder to Santana Moss.
- I have two thoughts on his 61-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss, much like Mike Shanahan probably had. He described his thoughts on the play this way: “Oh, no…. Oh, yes.” Anyway, my first thought: Sometimes you have to give guys a chance to make a play. We were actually talking about this with Kyle Shanahan recently and it’s why they call those deep balls. They’re low percentage, but every once in a while you see what happens when a guy makes a play. It’s a touchdown. Moss used to be one of the best receivers at adjusting to the ball in the air and he showed that on this play. But Griffin gave him a chance. However: he threw to a receiver who is (generously) listed at 5-foot-10 and was double covered. It’s not the best recipe for success. However, it was also third and 10 from the Redskins’ 39; had the ball been picked off it would have been like a punt – or even better if the defender is tackled immediately. When you have special talents like Griffin, sometimes you just have to trust what they do. Superstars in the NBA can take shots others can’t, even if they’re not the smartest. Why? Because guys like that make those shots. They will miss them on occasion, no doubt. But it’s the mindset that carries them to success. Still…
- I liked what happened after this touchdown. Griffin celebrated, but a flag had been thrown in the backfield. The assumption: holding on the Redskins. So Eagles defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins had a little exchange with Griffin as the two walked downfield. “He mocked my celebration,” Griffin said. “We had a nice discussion about that on the field. It really was a nice discussion, there was no discussion at all. He said he felt like an idiot after it.”
- Being a pocket passer is more than about just throwing the ball. It’s also about reading defenses and understanding where to go with the ball and which defender you have to be concerned about on the read. But it’s also about delivering a good ball from a tight pocket and that’s what impressed me on Griffin’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Logan Paulsen. Griffin had absolutely nowhere to go as the pocket tightened. And he had a defender a couple yards away in his line of vision. But Griffin pump faked Kendricks out of his lane as Paulsen turned back inside for the grab. Just a nice throw from the pocket. There was no panic despite the collapsing wall around him.
- I wish Griffin had thrown two incompletions. In addition to the one to Joshua Morgan late in the first half – corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie batted it away — I wish he had just thrown away a pass instead of throwing all the way across the field to Pierre Garcon for a one-yard loss late in the first half. Griffin was trying to make a play, but in this case, when you’re already inside the 20 and it’s late in the half, just throw it away and play another down.
- On the touchdown to Robinson, Griffin was looking at his side almost the whole time—after initially looking to the right. But he was looking to the left, where Robinson was, when safety Nate Allen bit hard on Niles Paul coming over the middle on an intermediate route. Allen just blew the coverage with a lack of discipline and Griffin took advantage by hitting a wide open Robinson. I’m really not sure what Allen was doing on that play. Clearly, corner Nnamdi Asomugha was expecting Allen to stay deep. Asomugha later said it was a cover-3 zone, which means Allen did not play his assignment.
- I’ll leave you with the quote from Moss: “Robert is going to go out there and be special…He really ignites our fire. When he is doing his thing, he’s on fire, and then it just rubs off on everyone else. I’m glad to have a guy like that.”
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