ORCHARD PARK, NYIn summary: Most of the focus Thursday night in Buffalo was on Robert Griffin III, and rightfully so. But there were a handful of other storylines that unfolded on the artificial turf at Ralph Wilson Stadium.For your fill of RGIII, check out Rich Tandlers wall-to-wall coverage of the rookie quarterbacks professional debut. When youre done with that, come back here for everything else you need to know about the game.MVP: Pierre Garon led all pass catchers with three receptions for 58 yards (19.3 yards per) and the games only touchdown. The first-year Redskin and No. 1 wide receiver also looked to be inbound on the sideline catch he made on the first drive. If he had been given credit for it, Garcon would have hauled in all four passes thrown his way.Offensive play of the game: Admittedly, there werent many offensive highlights. But the nod has to go to Garons 20-yard touchdown reception. On a bubble screen to the left, Garon burst through the line, made a cut and got a crucial block downfield from Trent Williams, who occupied two defensive backs as Garon flipped into the end zone.We definitely needed that, Garon said. The first two drives were a little bit tough but were happy we ended off that third touchdown.Injury update: Speaking of Williams, the Redskins tackle said his left footankle was stepped on during the scoring play. He said X-rays were negative, but he had a pronounced limp as he walked from the locker room to the team bus.I just got stepped on, Williams said. Im fine.Asked if hell practice on Saturday, he added: Well see. It depends on how I feel in the morning. Its nothing serious.Williams was injured making that critical block downfield. Teammate Maurice Hurt was shoved into him from behind.Defensive play of the game: Late in the second quarter and the Redskins leading 7-3, rookie cornerback Richard Crawford made an over-the-shoulder interception of a Tyler Thigpen pass along the sideline. Crawford, a seventh round draft pick out of SMU who has shined through the first two weeks of training camp, returned the ball 16 yards.I used to play receiver, Crawford said, so I have to catch the interceptions.Breakthrough performance: Crawford gets a hat tip here, too. In addition to the interception, he made three punt returns for a total of 42 yards, including a long of 17.Its good just to get the nerves out, just to realize that you can play everybody else, Crawford said. Just gaining confidence, and thats pretty much what I did tonight.What they said: Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams on Griffin: It was pretty obvious they protected him. They did not want him to get hit. Its kind of hard to judge him because I do not thing we saw everything they are going to do with him this year.What they said, Part II: Royster on Griffins on-field leadership: He did well. I was surprised when he actually audibled a play at the right time. I was sitting back there like, You have to change this play. I was surprised that he caught onto it and it actually ended up being a successful play.What they said, Part III: Asked about his flip into the end zone, Garon cracked that he was inspired by the gymnastics competition at the Olympics.I need to work on my landing, though, he joked. I didnt know I was going to do it until I was in the air. Tried to do my little Gabby Douglas.Armageddon avoided: The injuries along the offensive line the unit was minus starters Kory Lichtensteiger, Jammal Brown and Chris Chester seemed to hold the potential for disaster for the Redskins and their rookie quarterback.But thats not how it unfolded. Backups Hurt, Adam Gettis and Tyler Polumbus proved more than adequate against a first team Bills defense. Polumbus was especially impressive against standout defensive end Mario Williams.Accepting blame: Although the official box score CHARGES Griffin with a fumble lost, running back Evan Royster said he should have held onto the ball, despite the fact that the handoff was low.Its tough to say, but Ill take the full blame, said Royster, who bounced back and rushed for 12, five and two yards on consecutive plays to set up Garons touchdown.Full stat line: Linebacker Bryan Kehl had six combined tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and a pass defended.The Redskins return to the field Saturday.
It's only Week 7, but Kirk Cousins is putting up numbers that's proving to the Redskins and other teams around the league that he's worth a big contract.
In five games, Cousins has 1,334 yards and nine touchdowns with a QB rating of 106.4.
And he's proving that he's comfortable making plays on his own. During the second half of Sunday's game against the 49ers, Cousins scored a read option touchdown pushing his team ahead 27-17.
Someone who's impressed with what he's seen thus far and even threw out the word 'monstrous' when referring to the contract Cousins will eventually get, is former Redskins QB and NFL analyst, Sage Rosenfels.
Oh, and he also had a really long list of nice things to say about Cousins.
"Well he is an efficient quarterback and that's what he is," Rosenfels told the Sports Junkies Tuesday.
"He's a guy that you can count on to do what he's expected to do. He's gonna go to the right reads. He's gonna be an accurate thrower. He generally takes care of the football. He's an executer. He's a guy I describe as an executer. He's not a play maker, per say, though he has slowly added that to his repertoire."
"He is an executer though and I don't know if there's many better in the league who when you drop back and go through the progressions and have to read defenses, he's up there probably in the top five in the league at that. He's extremely accurate and he knows what he is doing."
Having your quarterback described as an executer over and over again isn't the worst thing in the world to hear.
When it comes to the business side of things, Rosenfels may also want to use the word 'smart' to describe Cousins.
"Good for him for signing those one-year deals. He bet on himself and now you know next year, whether it's Washington or somewhere else, he's going to get an absolute monstrous contract."
Contract negotiations are probably the last thing Redskins fans want to hear right now, but one thing to bask in is a successful QB.
The 2017 Redskins appear to be playing at a much higher level than the 2016 Redskins, but the reality remains, through five games, the two teams have the exact same 3-2 record.
Sure, this year's defense seems to be playing much better. The Redskins rank 12th in yards allowed-per-game and 19th in points allowed-per-game. Want to hear something weird though? The 2016 defense ranked 19th in points allowed-per-game too.
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There are plenty more statistical anomalies like that, perhaps enough to give Redskins fans pause. Or maybe trends that will work back closer to the norm as the season progresses. Here are five weird ones:
- End zone problems continue - The New York Giants are off to an awful start at 1-5. Big Blue has a -27 point differential on the year, and the team has scored just 12 touchdowns. The Redskins have been much better than the Giants, own a 3-2 record, and a +4 point differential. Washington, however, has just 13 TDs, or one more than the lowly Giants. In the NFC, along with the Giants, only the Niners, Seahawks and Panthers have less TDs than the 'Skins.
- Unexpected weapon - Through five games, the Redskins are getting excellent production out of the tight end position. It just might not be the player many expected doing the producing. Pro Bowler Jordan Reed is off to a fine start, 18 catches for 142 yards in just four games, but Vernon Davis is the tight end providing big plays. On just 11 catches, Davis has 225 receiving yards, good for a 20.5 yards-per-catch average. Last season, Davis caught 44 balls for 543 yards. He's nearly halfway to that total in just five games this season.
- Easily the most valuable - Chris Thompson's productivity through five games is on a historic pace. With 515 total yards from scrimmage, he currently accounts for nearly 30 percent of the Redskins 1,871 total yards. For Kirk Cousins, Thompson is nearly as important. The quarterback has thrown for 1,334 yards so far this year. Of that yardage, more than 25 percent belongs to Thompson. Think about that: 1 out of every 4 yards Cousins throws for goes to Thompson. And the bulk of that comes on short throws, where Thompson then takes off and piles up yards after the catch. In fact, Thompson leads the NFL in yards-after-catch, per ESPN.
Redskins RB Chris Thompson has 329 receiving yards after the catch this season, 77 more than any other player in the NFL.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 16, 2017
- Snap out of it - Preston Smith showed tremendous talent as a rookie in 2015, logging eight sacks and coming on strong late in the Redskins NFC East title run. As a second-year player in 2016, the sacks didn't pile up so easy. He finished the year with 4.5, a disappointing step back for Smith. In 2017, the slump is over. Smith has at least a half sack in every game this season, and has been a force on the outside for the Redskins.
- Don't count the wideouts - Much talk this offseason centered on losing DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon and replacing them with Josh Doctson and Terrelle Pryor. The results through five games have been underwhelming. Of the Redskins top five receiving yard leaders, only two are receivers, and Doctson isn't even over 100 yards receiving for the year. Further, Jamison Crowder, a player expected by many to have a breakout season, has 121 yards through five games. Eventually, Cousins can't keep relying on Thompson so much, and the team will need more out of the wideouts.
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