By Tarik El-Bashir
Redskins 7, Bills 6
ORCHARD PARK, NY--With the eyes of a franchise, a success-starved fan base and, to some extent, a curious league transfixed on his every move Thursday night, Robert Griffin III did not disappoint.
The Redskins and their rookie quarterback started slowly at Ralph Wilson Stadium, going three-and-out on each of the first two drives. Griffin was also assessed a fumble when he and running back Even Royster failed to connect on a handoff.
Washington’s third drive, though, was different. Griffin methodically directed an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive against the Bills’ starters. The scoring play was a bubble screen pass to Pierre Garçon, who raced 20 yards before flipping into the end zone.
On three drives and 14 snaps, Griffin finished 4 for 6 for 70 yards, a touchdown and a passer rating of 145.8. A perfect rating is 158.3.
Since my esteemed colleague Rich Tandler has already covered Griffin’s night backward and forward, I’m going to fast forward to a couple of other players who impressed, a few who didn’t.
--The injuries along the offensive line – the unit was missing three starters – were supposed to spell doom for Griffin and the Redskins.
They didn’t. Backups Maurice 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.
--With expected No. 1 running back Tim Hightower sidelined with a knee injury, neither Evan Royster nor Roy Helu Jr. distinguished himself. Royster fumbled a handoff and finished with 21 yards on 7 carries, while Helu gained 17 yards on four carries. Helu also lost three yards on a screen pass.
--People who want to forget about the game as quickly as possible: Rex Grossman (2 for 10 passing); Brandon Banks (targeted eight times but limited to 2 catches for 7 yards), cornerback Cedric Griffin and all of the replacement referees.
Check back later for a full game report.