The Washington Redskins are hoping that rust was the case for Robert Griffin III having what was statistically his worst game in the NFL, but are secretly worried about an injury that he hasn’t been able to shake off, even if almost a year has passed.
There are positives to cling on to. The Redskins outscored the Eagles 20-0 over the final 15:06; Griffin did finish with 329 yards and two touchdown passes. But it was the first half and the overall feeling as he left the field that came out as the strongest sentiment from the season opener – so different from their visit to the Superdome in New Orleans last season.
Griffin finished with a QBR of 15.7, the lowest of his career. His QBR against the Eagles last season was 81, just to tell you of the difference, and how hard it was for him after not playing the entire preseason and not getting enough touches on the ball during training camp and practices until this week. He was sacked three times and hit the ground six more, as the Eagles found it very easy confusing the Redskins with their blitzing schemes.
Griffin was especially bad in the first half – worst than anyone else in the NFL in week 1, posting a 0.9 QBR, completing only 45.5% of his passes for 53 yards while throwing an interception. Things looked much better in the second half, but the Eagles really took their foot off the pedal, allowing the Redskins to have the illusion of a comeback.
Another huge difference was Griffin’s accuracy, something he was one of the best at last season. Almost 23% of his passes were off-target passes, compared to 14.6% for him last season, which was fifth-best in the NFL. He was extemely ineffective when it came to passes going 10 yards or more downfield, completing only 2 of 11. In 2012, he was the best in the NFL when it came to that category, completing 59% of such passes.
It’s easy to see why the Redskins lost, as their dependency on Griffin being accurate and efficient is huge. Last season, whenever his QBR fell below 70, the Redskins dropped to 2-6 compared with 7-0 in his starts that ended up him having a higher than 70 QBR (he missed one game, Kirk Cousins started). Griffin threw 12 TD’s and just 2 picks in those 7 wins, getting sacked but 10 times. In the other 8 games, he was sacked 20 times.