Due to the reconstructive surgery to his right knee eight months ago, Robert Griffin III did not play in the preseason and his work in training camp was very limited. He started the season opener against the Eagles and for the early part of the game he looked like a quarterback who needed some more practice.
His first pass attempt that counted (an early completion that was wiped out by a penalty) was thrown into triple coverage and picked off. Griffin, who threw five interceptions in all of 2012 and never more than one in a game, threw another pick early in the third quarter. The Eagles scored on the next play to take a 33-7 lead.
At that point, Griffin had completed 5 of 13 passes for 53 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Many were saying he was rusty, just not in a groove after all of the inactivity. But Griffin, his coach, and his teammates wouldn’t say that.
“I think that's an excuse. I'm responsible for the way I play,” said Griffin when asked if he was rusty. “I didn't play very well in the first half so it's just the way it is.”
Mike Shanahan put it on the whole team. “No, it’s everybody, it’s not just one guy,” he said. “I’ll look at the film. We just couldn’t get any momentum.”
Leonard Hankerson, who would catch two touchdown passes from Griffin once the quarterback settled in, also wouldn’t pin any particular responsibility on his quarterback. "It's not on Robert. It's on everybody,” he said. “There's 11 guys on the field. All 11 weren't on the same page.”
Whatever it was, whether it was just Griffin or the whole offense, things got better after the second interception. At that point the Redskins’ only points had come from the defense. Behind Griffin the Redskins scored 20 unanswered points and were an onside kick away from having the ball with a chance to take the lead in the late going.
From the point of the second interception on, Griffin was 25 of 36 for 276 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.
“Coming out at halftime we talked in there as an offense and said we'll find out a lot about our team by what happens in the second half,” said Griffin. “I think we did find out a lot, the same things we knew last year. This team's got a lot of heart, guys are going to fight until the end not matter what happens.”
Although the comeback was the proverbial too little and too late, Griffin did look much more like the 2012 version of himself with some nice passes and even a few good scrambles. That performance gave some encouragement for next Sunday when they have to go to Green Bay to take on Aaron Rogers and the Packers.