WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Take a deep breath and exhale, Redskins fans. Because Sunday's 40-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints is just the beginning.
1) Best non-playoff Redskins game in 20 years?
It was the most points the Redskins have scored since October 23rd, 2005 -- 52 against the 49ers. It was the most points the Redskins have scored in a season opener since 1991 -- the last year the Redskins won the Super Bowl. Robert Griffin III's 320 passing yards were the second most by an NFL quarterback ever, in his first game.
The Washington Redskins offense hasn't grabbed headlines since the 1999 season, when Brad Johnson had a pro bowl season at quarterback. This was a better script tostart the RGIII erathan the movie Remember The Titans.
2) Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has adapted his play calling.
And it was launched from the team's very first possession, when RGIII started 5/5 passing in mostly spread formation sets. I'll be the first to admit that I'm shocked the Redskins have COMPLETELY overhauled the way they call plays. When the team grabbed the lead in the second half, the plays become much more run-oriented and conservative -- as is expected with the lead.
The younger Shanahan got Griffin III comfortable early on with short passes out of the shotgun and pistol -- and kept the creativity flowing with an excellent mixture of intermediate and deep routes. If I had to guess, the Redskins probably used the shotgun or pistol formation close to 33 percent of the time. The play calling had the Saints defense (and the 'Skins fan base)taken aback.
3) Robert Griffin III is capable of a Cam Newton-type of season
We all thought Newton's historic season could never be touched, andcertainly not just one year after he posted such gaudy numbers. But Griffin III (19/26, 320 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and a 139.9 QB rating) proved those numbers may be attainable,to goalong with a possiblewinning season in the NFC East. The Rams, Bengals and Buccaneers defenses loom, all of which are arguably worse than the Saints.
4) Stop freaking out about RGIII scrambling: it should happen a lot
The rookies 10 carries for 42 yards don't sound crazy-good, but the number of carries alone were enough to show the NFL that Washington won't limit Griffin III's abilities in space. Many Redskins fans panicked in the fourth quarter when their quarterback took off on a 3rd-and-16 play, cut up the field instead of out-of-bounds, and gained 12 yards.
Griffin III isn't going to play football scared, and he's going to get hit a lot. As long as he doesn't take any vicious shots to the head or legs, the running should continue at this pace.
5) Alfred Morris: more than just a 'hot hand'
There are often flukes performances in sports, especially when it comes to debuting rookies. What Alfred Morris did in week one against the Saints was not a fluke. The 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns will grab the headlines, but it's Morris' physical running style, and the fact that he didn't have much help from his offensive line, which make his day all the more special.
Morris may fall out of favor in the later weeks with the Shanahan's and find himself in a reduced role. But the kid has talent and the team looks brilliant for keeping him over Tim Hightower.
6) The secondary played it's part, but credit the front seven
There weren't many throws Drew Brees made where the veteran wasn't under duress. It was a collaborative effort, with linebackers London Fletcher and Ryan Kerrigan playing key roles on short coverage plays. Brees attempted was 34/52 and only averaged 6.5 yards per completion. The Redskins defense also asserted themselves of third downs -- forcing New Orleans to go 2-for-11.
7) The Redskins depth actually beat the Saints
It was backup safetyDeJon Gomes' critical interception and ensuing return inside the five-yard line. It was Aldrick Robinson four catches for 52-yards, and even more importantly his deep route that led to a pass interference call down on the goal line. It was Logan Paulsen's 22-yard snag over the middle, late in the fourth quarter which extended the Redskins drive and left the Saints with very little time to play with.
Contributions like this, from late round picks, have rarely happened from multiple players over the past few years during aRedskin win. It seems like more and more different characters are finally going to be able to step-up and perform in Mike Shanahan's overhauled offensive scheme as well as Jim Haslett's defensive system.
8) Imagine how happy you are and times it by 400 ...
Because that's howDaniel Snyder feels. It may be just one game, but given everything we've seen, and how young this Redskins team is,it looks like the 1992-2011 Burgundy and Gold era has officially come to and end. September 9th, 2012 marked the birth of a new era.
9)The best tweets from Sunday's historic Redskins victory
Over the last 30 years, Alfred Morris is 3rd rookie with 90 rush yds, 2 rush TD in season opener (Tomlinson, Faulk are others) #RedskinsTalk- CSN-Washington (@csnwashington) September 9, 2012
Couldn't have written the beginning any better To God Be The Glory- Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 9, 2012
Robert Griffin III became first player in NFL history to compile 300-plus passing yards, two or more passing TDs and no INTs in NFL debut.- Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 9, 2012
You could hear the chant RGIII on bourbon street!- Rick Doc Walker (@RickDocWalker) September 9, 2012
make that 4 straight drives that have led to points for @rgiii and the Redskins- trey wingo (@wingoz) September 9, 2012
RG3 only has 320 yds today. #only- Eric Bickel (@EBJunkies) September 9, 2012
The #Redskins went 3-for-5 in the redzone and 3-for-3 in goal-to-go situations. Scoring TD's was one of team's biggest problems last year.- Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) September 9, 2012
Talk about a dynamic offense: Seven out of the eight #Redskins receivers who caught a pass had a reception of 20 yards or more.- Homer McFanboy (@HomerMcFanboy) September 9, 2012
Congrats to @rgiii for a great start to his NFL career! It's great to have him here in DC! God bless and continued success! #stud#hesreal- Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) September 9, 2012