IT WAS OVER WHEN... Redskins QB Robert Griffin III dropped back to pass and, as the pocket closed around him, he calmly fired a frozen rope of a pass to the outside shoulder of TE Logan Paulsen, who hauled the ball in and twisted in the defender's arms into the end zone. The extra point put the Redskins up 31-6 with 10:35 left in the game.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING... Both rookie quarterbacks today threw for about 200 yards [200 for RG3, 204 for Nick Foles], but Robert Griffin III was far more efficient in doing so. Foles completed 21 of 46 passes [46%], threw two interceptions and averaged a mere 4.4 yards per pass for a passer rating of 40.5. RG3 threw only 15 passes, completed 14 of them, 4 for touchdowns and averaged 13.3 yards per pass for a perfect passer rating of 158.3. In addition to having almost literally a perfect passing day, RG3 also ran the ball 12 times for 84 yards [7.0 per carry], which includes a kneel-down at the end of regulation.
Griffin completed 14 passes to nine different receivers and no receiver had more than three catches. All four touchdown passes were thrown to receivers who did not catch another pass all day. RG3 has no go-to receiver because with TE Fred Davis lost for the season, no receiver on the team is good enough to merit that status. Understanding this, RG3 spreads the ball around, looking not for a reliable receiver, but just for anyone who might get open on the play. I believe this is improving Griffin's decision-making ability and should serve him well in coming seasons.
I LIKED THAT... The much-and-correctly-maligned defense did not give up a touchdown today. True, they were facing a rookie quarterback in his first start, but the Redskins defense has failed eight straight games against rookie signal-callers. Not today. The defense tackled well, adjusted to Philly's early success with the screen pass and did not allow dangerous deep wideouts Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin to do what they've often done against the Redskins -- get open deep for big plays in the passing game.
The Redskins defense was hitting hard today, particularly SS Brandon Meriweather, ILB Perry Riley and F/SS DeJon Gomes. Meriweather had a very strong game before injuring his right knee to continue his cursed 2012 season. Riley, who has been Washington's best linebacker this year, had six tackles, a sack a pass defensed and three tackles for loss. If he hadn't gotten flagged for roughing the passer, Riley might have had a perfect game, too.
RG3 was virtually perfect today. When the Skins needed him the most, Griffin may have played the best game of his young career. Not only was he mostly careful with the ball and making big plays in the passing game -- he threw a 49-yard TD pass to WR Aldrick Robinson and a 61-yard TD pass to WR Santana Moss -- Griffin repeatedly bailed out Washington's offense with his feet, rushing for 84 yards, including some big first downs.
I DID NOT LIKE THAT... The Skins continue to be a mistake-prone team, both on offense and defense. They avoided the turnovers this week, which is good, but again they committed one stupid, careless penalty after another. Two weeks ago, in their last game before the bye, the Redskins committed 13 penalties for almost 100 yards against the Panthers, including two that negated touchdowns. Today, the Redskins committed 12 penalties for 75 yards, with the most egregious being the persistent motion penalties on the offensive line and TB Alfred Morris, who committed two by himself. The Redskins are a sloppy, mistake-prone, careless and undisciplined team and I wonder where the accountability is for all this. Is anyone being punished for all this? The Redskins are the most penalized team in the NFL and that is a terrible reflection upon the coaching staff.
The Redskins had two chances to get 12 inches and failed both times, turning the ball over on downs at the Eagles' 20-yard line. The first play was a QB sneak that gained nothing and the second was a handoff to TB Alfred Morris that lost a couple of feet due to a complete collapse of the right side of the offensive line. The next time someone tells you the Redskins' offensive line has really played well this year, remember those two plays, when Washington could not get a foot on two chances.
AND IT ALL MEANS... Eagles head coach Andy Reid feels a lot more heat than Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan -- at least for this week. The Redskins had lost the last three coming into today and the last two games looked very bad. The Redskins had lost eight straight games to rookie quarterbacks and Mike Shanahan had not won with the Redskins after a bye week. All those negative streaks ended. Meanwhile, the Redskins got to bury the Eagles, who lost their sixth straight game and sink to 3-7.
The Redskins have six games left and four of them are against NFC East opponents. They will have a chance to make something of their season if they play well enough -- and that effort continues in four days on Thanksgiving in Dallas against the hated Cowboys. Washington's playoff hopes are laughably slim, but the notion that the Redskins have nothing to play for but talent evaluation -- an opinion impolitically offered by Mike Shanahan two weeks ago after the loss to Carolina -- is dead for now. The Redskins have something to play for in 2012 and it isn't pride or the future. Games still matter for the Redskins. That's the good news.
The other good news: RG3 just gets better and better. If Washington can't build a championship team around this young man and his enormous talent, then... I don't know how to finish that sentence. Griffin has champion written all over him. Now he needs a team around him.