I don't think anybody saw this coming!
Well, I'd suppose that the Redskins thought they could win, but I'm sure not in such a dominant fashion.
The Washington Redskins marched into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the season opener, leaving the Saints and their fans in shock
The Redskins started the season off with a 40-32 victory over the Saints that frankly, wasn't as close as the score leads us to believe.
After watching the game, I picked up several points worth noting. Let us take a look at five things that we've learned through watching this game.
Robert Griffin, III
The rookie quarterback had a career game. It just so happened to be his first ever as a NFL player. Griffin's 320 yards, came on 19-26 passing, with two touchdowns and no interceptions thrown. .
With his 4.4 speed, Griffin eluded the Saints' defense all day making them account for both his ability to run, and pass while on the run.
He stood in the pocket and passed with superb accuracy all game long. Griffin made sure to put the ball in spots that only favored his targeted receivers. RG3 showed the poise and savvy needed to assure that he'd not only be able to keep pace, but win games in the NFL.
Morris, a sixth-round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic, made his NFL debut one to remember. Alfred Morris exhibited his durability, toting the ball 28 times for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
It's clear that Morris isn't one to shy away from the physical nature of the game exemplified by his performance today. He continued to lower his shoulder, initiating contact that earned him several extra yards, which in turn, proved to add up.
While premier back, Roy Helu, battles back through an Achilles injury, it seems as if the Redskins have found a back to carry the load.
Although Drew Brees managed to throw for 339 yards and three touchdowns, the Redskins' defense was quite impressive. Jim Haslett (Redskins defensive coordinator), kept heavy pressure on Brees, never allowing him to find a true rhythm in the game.
They dialed up blitzes at key points in the game, and held their own in the secondary against the speedy Saints' receiving corps. The Redskins were both aggressive and physical on defense, stopping the Saints nine times on 11 third down attempts. Washington also picked Brees off twice in the fourth while the Saints were fighting to mount a comeback.
Led by veterans London Fletcher and Brian Orakpo, the Redskins' defense are clearly confident that they can play and compete with everyone they'll face.
New Orleans Saints
In a prior article, I made mention to the fact that the Saints are prone to losing "should win" games. Although they put 33 points on the scoreboard, the Saints never looked like themselves.
New Orleans never quite found their rhythm and it proved costly.The Saints looked sluggish, out of sync, and a mirror-image of the team that took the field last season against the St. Louis Rams.
That loss was huge, it was the difference between a playoff match-up against the 49ers in San Francisco, as opposed to playing at home in the Superdome. Not to take away from the performance of the Redskins, but New Orleans has to play as a serious contender should week in and out.
Time of Possession
A lesson should've been learned by every team around the league today. If you want to win games against teams with high-powered offenses, keep them off of the field. Holding the ball for almost two-thirds of the game, served to be key for the Washington Redskins.
Washington had the ball for 39:10 seconds, while the Saints' only had possession for 20:50 seconds. When you cut the possessions down, you can assure that points won't be scored.
To dominate the possessions, a balanced attack is a necessity, but you must have optimal success with the run.
It will definitely be interesting to see the performance of these teams from henceforth.
The Redskins continue their road-trip next week as they travel to St. Louis to take on the Rams. As for the Saints, they'll travel to Carolina to take on a tough division rival, Panthers team. Hopefully, they'll regroup and look the part of the team of the last several seasons.