WFAA Sports Blogger
Posted on September 12, 2012 at 3:28 PM
There are times in our lives when we must deal with great internal conflict. On a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being turning in your own family members for a crime, watching Baylor’s Robert Griffin III’s Redskins debut as a die-hard Cowboys fan and feeling awe and respect falls right around an 8.
But there he was, throwing his first NFL touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon for an 88 yard shredding of the Saints defense early in the 1st quarter. He didn’t silence his critics as much as he turned them into jaw-dropped fanboys over the course of four quarters.
Now let’s be clear, this wasn’t just a respectable showing for a rookie quarterback who just happened to have won the Heisman last year. Sometimes the pressure of being last year’s Heisman winner is just too much and causes a player to buckle, henceforth known as Matt Leinart Syndrome. But the vast majority of Heisman winners take it slow, set realistic goals and ease their way into the program.
Cam Newton was hot out of the gate last year, sure. Breaking the 400 yard mark in your debut game isn’t exactly shabby since Peyton Manning was the last to do it. But as the season dragged on, Newton’s numbers looked more predictably rookie-ish. No shame there.
Which is why it’s easy to devalue RG3’s performance in the season opener. It’s certainly been done before. But the Redskins won, against the Saints no less. The reason that’s important is that Griffin not only showed composure and maturity outside the pocket while evading potential sack situations, he also didn’t crumple under the constantly surging Saints offense. For each possession Griffin scored on, Drew Brees had an answer.
And yet, Griffin never seemed intimidated. The stats would have been modestly impressive had he put up a good fight but eventually was bested by the more mature (yet admittedly Sean Peyton-less) Saints. The fact that he was able to energize the Redskins offense to a victory on the road speaks volumes about his potential as a true team leader.
Of course, as a Cowboys fan, this terrifies me. I can handle the Eagles squeaking out a victory over the not-quite-intimidating Cleveland Browns when it includes a shameful amount of Vick interceptions. But the Redskins handing a surprise upset to the Saints in the Superdome, all with a Baylor Bear at the helm? Truly frightening. And will make the Cowboys-Redskins Thanksgiving Day matchup in Arlington exponentially more exciting.
When she's not breaking down Washington Redskins game tape, Amanda Cobra tweets at @Amandacobra.