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The Basics: Stunner in the Superdome

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The Basics: Stunner in the Superdome

In summary:AsRobert Griffin IIIaddressed the media following Sundays 40-32 upset of the Saints, the Redskins rookie held a football his hands.Players dont normally bring balls to the podium. But Griffin didnt want to let this one out of his sight. This ball was special.It was the same one he threw toPierre Garonfor an 88-yard touchdown in the first quarter. That pass not only marked the first touchdown of Griffins career, just as important, it staked the Redskins to a lead they would not relinquish while hushing a boisterous crowd that had come to Superdome expecting a very different outcome.My first touchdown in the NFL, Griffin said, beaming.The touchdown pass to Garon was the seventh of eight consecutive completions to start the game for Griffin. In a lot ways, the missile he fired over the middle of the field also was a sign of things to come.Asked if his debut could have gone any better, Griffin revealed the perfectionist side of his personality that coaches and teammates hinted at throughout the preseason.We could have scored a few more points, he said. Nothing is every perfect; there are some plays I wish I could have back. Falling down on a keeper, fumbling in the red zone when he we had an guy open for a touchdown. Im not going to be a Debbie Downer. We won the game, so Im going to be happy about that.Enough about Griffin for the moment, though. (If you indeed want more, click here for my instant analysis of the game and here for Rich Tandlers breakdown of Griffins outing and where it fits historically.)Here are some other items of interest from todays stunner at the Superdome:Griffin, unplugged:Asked about his preparation, Griffin said he accidentally left his cell phone at home in Ashburn, allowing him to focus on the game and not field calls from the dozens of friends and family members who attended the game.My mind was really clear going into this game, he said. I just sat in my room and watched some TV, had time to think about things.Garon hobbled:Griffins top target did not play after scoring the touchdown. Its unclear how he was injured, but he said it happened on the scoring play, possibly when Saints corner back Patrick Robinson attempted a low, diving tackle from behind near the goal line and struck the top of his right foot.I should be good to go next week and be ready for St. Louis, Garcon said. Garcon added later that tests revealed he did not suffer a break.Third string safety Jordan Bernstine suffered a serious right knee injury in the fourth quarter. More could be known later this week.Sundbergs heroics:Long snapper Nick Sundberg suffered a broken left forearm on the blocked punt the Saints returned for a touchdown. Sundberg, however, returned to the game and made nine more snaps on field goals and punts.In high school, I broke the same bone, said Sundberg, adding that it was snapped by a Saints helmet. So I knew right away when it happened that it was broken. Were going to evaluate it this week. I dont want to sit out but ultimately its up to the coaching staff and how everything turns out once all the adrenaline goes away.Offensive play of the game:Garons 88-yard touchdown reception. On first and 10 and needing an answer to Jimmy Grahams touchdown moments earlier, the powerful receiver cut to the middle, then found himself alone in space when two Saints defensive backs collided. The official stats say Griffin threw the ball 16 yards and Garon did the rest.We just got lucky; they got out of position, Garon said. Robert threw a great ball and did my best to get in the end zone. The end zone looked like it was far. Looked at the screen a couple of times and was like, Gosh.Griffin added: One thing receivers dont want to do is run across the middle for a long period of time. I commend him for that.Defensive play of the game:With the Redskins clinging to a 33-25 lead after a touchdown and two point conversion by the Saints in the fourth quarter, DeJon Gomes cut in front of wide receiver Lance Moore and intercepted Drew Brees risky deep pass.Gomes then returned the ball, zigzagging across the field 49 yards to the New Orleans three-yard line. Alfred Morris punched the ball in one play later.Pass of the afternoon:In the second quarter, Griffin was flushed out of the pocket to left. Then he eluded Malcolm Jenkins, sprinted to the right and found tight end Fred Davis along the sidelined for a 26-yard completion.He made so many huge plays, the off-schedule plays, where the play breaks down a little but hes able to roll out of the pocket, buy some time, linebacker London Fletcher said. You see the poise and talent.By the numbers:Kicker Billy Cundiff was 4 for 4 on field goals, connecting from 37, 41, 37, and 45. He also booted six touchbacks, including one that hit the top part of the upright. Asked if that was his longest, it wasnt. He said he put one into the stands in Dallas a few years ago.Quotable:Wide receiver Josh Morgan on Griffin: Im real proud of the way hes just taking over the team. Hes making changes himself, kind of anticipating things. Thats what exciting for us as an offense, when you quarterback gets that type of confidence and that type of comfort. The sky is the limit because then he can start calling the plays himself.

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Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts ahead of Sunday

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts ahead of Sunday

In August, Redskins fans would freak out if they heard Jordan Reed and Terrelle Pryor would both miss a November game.

In November, that news doesn’t carry much worry.

Washington coach Jay Gruden announced that Reed and Pryor, along with center Spencer Long, won’t play Sunday against the Saints.

RELATED: KEYS TO VICTORY AGAINST THE SAINTS

Reed hasn’t played in a few weeks as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. It seemed he might have returned last week before a setback slowed down his progress.

In his place, Vernon Davis has proved to be a sturdy backup capable of some big games.

Long injured his knee and while he played last week, he did not practice this week.

Not having Pryor is a bit of a surprise. His ankle injury popped up this week and he will see a specialist next week to examine the joint. In the middle of a disappointing season, the Redskins offense won’t lose much with his absence.

Elsewhere on the injury list, a number of players will be questionable for Sunday’s contest against the 7-2 Saints.

Perhaps most important, Trent Williams is questionable but will probably play.

MORE ON THE REDSKINS: FIVE PLAYERS UNDER PRESSURE

Receivers Ryan Grant and Brian Quick are expected to play after undergoing concussion protocol, but that will leave the Redskins with only three fully healthy wideouts: Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Maurice Harris.

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Redskins' Josh Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA community MVP

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins' Josh Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA community MVP

Redskins' Josh Norman is using his platform as a professional football player to help those in need, and this week it earned him NFLPA's community MVP.

The cornerback has been raising funds for youth enrichment programs in the D.C. area, as well as starting a campaign to help those affected in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. 

Norman's foundation, Starz24, provides backpacks and school supplies for children in need and creates initiatives for students at Jefferson Middle School Academy in D.C.. He recently raised almost $100,000 for Starz24's Imagination Team Rooms, a STEM-based "makerspaces" that will be placed in several inner city middle and high schools. 

Then, when Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria back in September, Norman started a social media campaign to help those affected. The campaign brought in $150,000. Norman also donated $100,000 of his own with part of the money going to the Boys & Girls clubs in Puerto Rico.

I look at it as I’m on this earth to help people and help them be the best that they can be,” Norman said. “I have the means to do so. I’m going to do that.

Every week during the regular season, the NFLPA selects a NFL player who is making a difference in their community. They are going to be making a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or a charity of his choice in addition to an in-kind donation on behalf of their supporting partner, Delta Private Jets.

I am so honored to be recognized by the NFLPA for my work in the community,” Norman said. “All of this work is bigger than football. I want to make an impact in the lives of children who need it most and to help develop those children to help change the future.