It was always going to be the start of a new era once Robert Griffin began playing for the Washington Redskins, but I don’t think anyone thought it was going to be this good, so soon. Along with another rookie, Alfred Morris, the RG3 sensation has turned the Redskins fortunes around beyond recognition.
Their first winning season since 2007. Their first divisional title since 1999, leaving both the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys, especially the Cowboys, out of the postseason. The Philadelphia Eagles weren’t even close, but there’s balance in the NFL, and the Eagles took a rapid decline just as the Redskins had an incredible ascent this season under Mike Shanahan and his rookie wonder duo, improving by five wins.
Next up on the list for Griffin as he cements his place as a legend in DC before the end of his first season in the NFL? A playoff win, and the Redskins actually have a home game against the Seahawks to look forward to. They haven’t won a playoff game since the 2005 season. If so much has changed this season, than why not this?
Despite his injury, there are some unwritten rules in the NFL. Teams on a long winning streak going into the final game of the season needing a win usually get it. The Dallas Cowboys, with their depleted defense and the usual Tony Romo hump could have been having a four game winning streak going into the game, but dropped one in overtime to the New Orleans Saints. For the third time in five years, the Cowboys had an elimination game, and they blew it.
Tony Romo started with two interceptions, threw two touchdowns and then another interception on another bad throw that might have been a game winning drive. This time, there was no discussion about bad routes and the wide receivers at fault All three interceptions were Romo doing what he does when he’s under too much pressure – make the wrong decision.
For Griffin, it was doing what he could while limited. The Cowboys did a good job in covering the passing game, but as Alfred Morris got more and more comfortable, they start biting on every play action, fearing the impressive back. Morris finished with 200 yards and three touchdowns, as the Cowboys simply didn’t have the manpower to hold him from exploding on the outside. After Griffin did badly in the first half, the second was much more comfortable, finishing with 63 yards on the ground and a touchdown.
Morris became the 6th rookie to run for at least 200 yards and score three touchdowns, something Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also did this season. Adrian Peterson did it twice on his rookie season in 2007.
London Fletcher led the defensive attitude in the 28-18 win. The Redskins never let Romo get comfortable outside a certain stretch in the second quarter and the first half of the fourth. Romo was sacked only twice, but he did so badly under pressure, as Fletcher kept slipping under the offensive line and getting in the quarterbacks face.
While the Dallas Cowboys go into another thinking period of what to do with a head coach and quarterback, the Washington Redskins are more than pleased with what they have, and where they’re going.