For three weeks the Redskins and their fans have been for the most part ignoring the undeniable truth that Robert Griffin III is not the same quarterback that left the field last year in the playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. Now given the wide range of issues that have plagued the Redskins over their first three weeks it is easy to understand why the focus has been elsewhere, but it is time to be honest about where Griffin stands and the effectiveness of this offense.
Now blaming Griffin for most or all of the Redskins 0-3 start would be completely unfair, as there are issues throughout this team from top to bottom. Where Griffin does get to shoulder the blame is the ineptness of this offense, a unit that has managed just 7 points in the first halves of these three games, and has done the vast majority of their damage when the game is basically already decided. Griffin has been unable to get this offense rolling when defenses are challenging him, and as the quarterback that really does fall on his shoulders.
So far this season Griffin is 88 of 139 for 975 yards 5 TD’s and 4 INT’s. His rate stats are 63.3 completion %, 7.01 yards per attempt, 3.6 TD% and 2.9 INT%. Those are the numbers that can be easily compared from last season, and they are the most telling. Last year Griffin completed 65.6% of his passes, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt, with a 5.1 TD percentage and a 1.3 INT percentage. While it has only been three games Griffin has attempted 35% of the passes that he attempted last year (which is a big part of the problem), so the samples are much closer than expected.
What’s perhaps most troubling is Griffin’s quarter by quarter breakdown as it is clear that he hasn’t done much of anything until the game is basically out of reach.
1st Quarter: 7 of 15 (46.7%) for 77 yards (5.13 ypa) 0 TD’s and 1 INT
2nd Quarter: 18 of 30 (60.0%) for 203 yards (6.77 ypa) 0 TD’s and 2 INT
3rd Quarter: 25 of 38 (65.8%) for 264 yards (6.95 ypa) 1 TD and 1 INT
4th Quarter: 38 of 56 (67.9%) for 431 yards (7.70 ypa) 4 TD and 0 INT
That right there explains why this team isn’t scoring points in the first half and why this offense is struggling. Griffin’s first quarter numbers, which are even inflated by Pierre Garcon‘s 44 yard screen pass are simply unacceptable and putting the Redskins in a deep hole. This week when the “rust” was finally supposed to wear off saw Griffin have all of 8 yards in the first quarter. What’s even more troubling with these numbers is the fact that last year, Griffin’s numbers were actually the worst in the 4th quarter and he owned the first half of games.
1st Quarter: 52 of 81 (64.2%) for 678 yards (8.37 ypa) 3 TD and 1 INT
2nd Quarter: 68 of 99 (68.7%) for 891 yards (9.00 ypa) 10 TD and 1 INT
3rd Quarter: 59 of 87 (67.8%) for 790 yards (9.08 ypa) 3 TD and 1 INT
4th Quarter: 79 of 126 (62.7%) for 841 yards (6.68 ypa) 4 TD and 1 INT
Another troubling issue with Griffin and this offense this season is they struggles on 3rd and 4th downs. Now the Redskins weren’t exactly great in this area last year, but comparatively last year looks far better: (this is one area where I will add the rushing stats)
62 of 105 (59%) for 613 (5.84 ypa) 7 TD and 1 INT, rushing: 31 attempts for 338 yards (10.9 ypa) and 1 TD (the 76 yarder versus the Vikings)
16 of 31 (51.6%) for 148 yards (4.77 ypa) 2 TD and 2 INT, rushing: 2 attempts for 5 yards (2.5 ypa)
6 of 8 (75%) for 47 yards (5.88 ypa) 1 TD and 0 INT, rushing: 3 attempts for 11 yards (3.7 ypa)
2 of 4 (50%) for 7 yards (1.75 ypa) 1 TD and 1 INT, zero rushing attempts
In this game against the Lions Griffin did fare better going into those final two drives, completing 23 of 34 attempts (67.6%) for 233 yards (6.85 ypa) and the one interception. On the final two drives when Griffin was throwing underneath he was 9 for 12 for 93 yards, unfortunately when it mattered most the Lions shut Griffin down. With 1st and goal from the 3, Griffin threw three straight incomplete passes and saw 36 seconds tick off the clock. Griffin’s hail mary pass at the end was poorly thrown to Garcon who was tripled covered and no one else was around to trail for a possible tip pass. Another thing that was still evident in the Lions game was the fact that Griffin’s touch is still off. Many of Griffin’s incomplete passes were thrown too low or behind the receiver. Even a number of his completed passes were off target and led to few yards after the catch, because the receiver had to adjust to the ball. That is a big difference from last year, when Griffin did a far better job of hitting guys in stride. Now even last year Griffin wasn’t consistent in this area, but he was more than passable. Now it is really limiting the Redskins offense and keeping them from sustaining drives and picking up bigger chunks of yardage.
All of these issues shouldn’t be unexpected for a player coming off a revision ACL surgery less than 9 months ago, but it is clear that they are the reason why the Redskins offense is struggling and it is helping to contribute to the Skins 0-3 record. The Skins three opponents this season have a total of 4 wins, three of which have come at the hands of the Redskins. These are games that the Redskins needed to win, and Griffin and the offense are showing a below average performance, which combined with a horrendous defense is going to lead to a lot of losses throughout the season. The Redskins and their fans shouldn’t throw Griffin under the bus, or hang these three losses solely on his play, but it is time that they admit the truth. RGIII is struggling and this could be a long season for the team.