The Washington Redskins did not help quarterback Robert Griffin III in Pittsburgh Sunday. The offense kept shooting itself in the foot while the defense could not stop the Pittsburgh Steelers from moving the ball. All of this added up to a 27-12 Redskins defeat.
Going into Sunday’s game the question was whether Steelers defensive coordinator Dick Labeau could slow down or stop Griffin III. Labeau came into the game with a 14-1 record against rookie quarterbacks. Griffin III was no ordinary rookie as Pittsburgh linebacker Larry Foote admitted.
Griffin III played well Sunday. He handled the Steelers blitz, made the right reads and threw accurately on a wet day. Griffin III did not turn the ball over against a team that thrives on getting rookies to make mistakes. The Redskins offense was able to break receivers free, but they could not hold on to the ball. Washington dropped 10 passes on the day. Some of the drops were caused by the Steelers, but most were simply the receivers themselves.
The offensive tone for Washington was set early in the game when Griffin III rolled out and found wide receiver Leonard Hankerson running free near the Pittsburgh goal line. Griffin III threw a perfect strike while on the run and Hankerson dropped it. The Redskins would later score their only touchdown on the drive, but the drops continued.
There is never any reason to contemplate the ‘ifs’ in football. No one knows what would have happened if the Redskins receivers had held on to the ball. The only thing that we can say is that Griffin III did his job by getting it to them.
The Washington offense could not afford to play poorly Sunday, because the defense was helpless against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his receivers. Though he only threw for 222 yards Roethlisberger did not throw an interception and had three touchdown passes. Washington’s defensive front did not register a sack against Pittsburgh and never really pressured the quarterback.
The Steelers had success on the ground as well. Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 107 yards on only 17 carries. In all Pittsburgh gained 140 yards rushing.
In their first seven games of 2012, the Redskins had a chance to win. Griffin III had led them to over 20 points in six of them. On Sunday, Washington suffered its lowest point total of the season and was never really in the game.
The defeat was no fault of Griffin III. He played a smart, heads up 60 minutes of football. If anyone was on his game Sunday it was Griffin III. Unfortunately for the Redskins, no one else seemed to be.
If Washington is going to take the next step then someone needs to give Griffin III some help.