If the Redskins are going to go on the road and win in a hostile dome again, it would help if Robert Griffin III can come close to duplicating what he was able to do last Sunday in New Orleans. But history shows that it difficult for a rookie to repeat a stellar stat line such as the one Griffin posted against the Saints. In fact, it’s hard to even come close.
In his NFL debut Griffin passed for 320 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Since 1990, just five other rookie quarterbacks have passed for 300 yards or more in a game (any game during their rookie seasons) with at least one touchdown and no interceptions. And none of them came close to duplicating that performance the following week.
Here are the quarterbacks, dates, opponents, and yards-touchdowns-interceptions for their statistical gems and then what they did the following week.
Andy Dalton 9/18/11 @DEN 332-2-0
Andy Dalton 9/25/11 SF 157-0-2
Sam Bradford 11/28/10 @DEN 308-3-0
Sam Bradford 12/5/10 @ARI 187-0-1
Matt Ryan 10/12/08 CHI 301-1-0
Matt Ryan 10/26/08 @PHI 277-2-2
Byron Leftwich 10/5/03 SD 336-2-0
Byron Leftwich 10/12/03 MIA 256-0-3
Chris Weinke 12/23/01 STL 312-1-0
Chris Weinke 12/30/01 ARI 223-1-1
In those first weeks, the five rookie quarterbacks averaged 318 yards passing and 1.8 touchdowns. The week after the average was almost a hundred yards less at 220 with only Ryan (2) and Weinke (1) throwing touchdown passes. All five threw at least one interception with the average coming in at 1.8.
This doesn’t mean that Griffin will automatically throw an interception or will fail to throw a touchdown against the Rams. That’s a fairly small sample size there so anything could happen. But based on the evidence we have, the other team’s defense is likely to have something ready for him.
A good day by Griffin would help the Redskins beat the Rams but he shouldn’t have to pull the freight by himself. He could be a little off from his historic debut and the Redskins could still pull out a win.
St. Louis has upgraded its pass defense by signing veteran Courtland Finnegan to a free agent contract and by drafting Janoris Jenkins with the second-round pick they got from the Redskins in the trade for the Griffin draft pick. But their rushing defense, 31st last year in terms of yards allowed, remains suspect.
That could mean good opportunities for Alfred Morris with perhaps Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr. against the Rams. And even Griffin might get in on the act and kick in 40 or 50 yards on the ground.
Defensively, the Redskins have to do what they did to the Rams last year—keep the pressure on Sam Bradford. They sacked him seven times last year with Brian Orakpo getting credited with 2.5.
Despite that, the Redskins had a difficult time putting away the Rams a year ago because they couldn’t score points and Rex Grossman threw two interceptions. This offense seems to have some more life in it even if the new triggerman isn’t quite as efficient as he was a week ago.
Redskins 30, Rams 17