LANDOVER, Md. (FNN Media) — The 60,047 fans in attendance thunderously welcomed Robert Griffin III as he was introduced Saturday. Their voices were loud enough to give the illusion the Washington Redskins were playing in a dome.
Griffin was getting his first taste of FedEx Field and it must have been awfully sweet as he prepared to battle Andrew Luck, the media-appointed nemesis selected one spot ahead of him in the draft.
Ultimately, it was Griffin and the Redskins who would churn out a 30-17 victory over the newly revamped Indianapolis Colts.
The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback had a largely forgettable first quarter that began with a deep ball which narrowly escaped Pierre Garçon’s outstretched fingertips.
A short time later he showed why he’s drawn repeated comparisons to Michael Vick. On a 3rd and 5, Griffin flashed his speed, scrambled right and picked up a first down.
Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman provided a ‘Welcome to the NFL’ moment courtesy of a vicious blind side hit a short time later. It was easily the biggest shot Griffin has taken as a pro.
FedEx Field breathed a collective sigh of relief as he got up, dusted himself off and trotted to the sidelines where he waited for the next series.
Neither Griffin nor Luck were able to consistently move the ball until the second quarter. However, once the sticks began moving their duel was on in a big way.
Griffin and the Redskins struck first with an 8-play, 66-yard scoring drive that included a 19-yard strike to Garçon and featured another strong showing from rookie running back Alfred Morris who capped it off with a two-yard touchdown run.
Not to be outdone, Luck led the Colts on an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive, culminating in a 31-yard touchdown to T.Y. Hilton.
Griffin had an answer.
The composed rookie orchestrated his second scoring drive on as many series, this one of the 12-play, 80-yard variety that was capped off by Griffin’s first touchdown pass at home — a four-yard toss to Santana Moss.
Griffin and the Redskins starters played one series in the 3rd quarter, finishing their day with the lead and arguably victorious in the media-hyped battle against Luck.
RGIII vs. Andrew Luck Final Stats
RGIII: 11-of-17, 74 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 0 sacks, 93.8 rating
Luck: 14-of-23, 151 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 2 sacks, 94.7 rating
Alfred Morris, who got his second straight start, made the most of opportunity given to him by injuries to Roy Helu and Evan Royster. The rookie rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries and a score — a line that will give the coaching staff something to ponder as the roster must be trimmed to 75 players by Monday afternoon.
In his first action of the season, the returning Tim Hightower carried the ball five times for 28 yards, including an 18-yard scamper.
Also of note, Rex Grossman served as Griffin’s primary backup against Indianapolis, in contrast to the previous week in Chicago when Kirk Cousins played that role.
Grossman was booed loudly as he took the field, but was able to silence the nay-sayers with a 8-of-8, 130-yard, two-touchdown performance that yielded a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
Brandon Banks did not handle return duties until the second half.
Niles Paul and Santana Moss were impressive in their own right in his first half absences.
Paul returned the game’s opening kickoff 42 yards from deep in the end zone. Moss, meanwhile, returned his first punt 16 yards.
Once in the game, Banks had a punt return of four yards and kickoff returns of 20 and 22 yards, respectively.