It was a game filled with opportunities which were capitalized on by Washington’s quarterback, tight end and brand new wide receiver.
If you didn’t know better, you would think that that meant Robert Griffin III, Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson had a great game.
Surprisingly, it was not Griffin III, Reed or Jackson that blazed the path for the Redskins’ 41-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Redskins HC Jay Gruden announced RGIII has a dislocated ankle and DeSean Jackson has sprained AC joint in shoulder.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 14, 2014
With Reed already sidelined with a hamstring injury from the first week’s game against Houston, Washington’s home opener got off to a rough start as Griffin III and Jackson were hit with injuries, paving the way for Kirk Cousins (22-33, 250 yds, 2 TD), Niles Paul (8 catches, 99 yards, 1 TD) and Andre Roberts (4 catches, 57 yards, 1 carry, 19 yards) to ignite an offense that seemed lost just one week ago.
On a sunny afternoon from FedEx Field, the Redskins started sharp in their home opener with runs from Griffin III and Alfred Morris. On the third play from scrimmage, Washington took a shot deep down the field as Griffin III hit Jackson in stride.
The pass was called incomplete, but head coach Jay Gruden challenged the play, feeling there was enough visual evidence to overturn the call. The referees disagreed and the ruling on the field was upheld.
Even though the Redskins were forced to punt, you had the feeling that their early play calling would lead to some exciting opportunities later on in the game. Jacksonville stalled on their first possession and for the second week in a row it was Washington’s new defensive acquisition, Jason Hatcher, who wreaked havoc and sacked the quarterback.
Washington’s second possession started off on a positive note with a nice strike to Niles Paul and a good read option run for 10 yards by RGIII. Early on, Griffin III was looking more-and-more like the dangerous, versatile weapon that won fans over in his rookie season. Just two plays later, Griffin III scrambled to his right on a play action pass, jumping off of his left foot to hit Jackson for a first down.
As Griffin III jumped to make the pass, he tweaked his ankle and injured himself. Although there was no contact, Washington’s young quarterback was badly hurt and was carted off the field.
The very capable Cousins stepped in, hoping to continue the offense’s positive momentum.
Cousins wasted very little time getting warmed up as he hit a surprising target in Darrel Young—who was lined up wide—for a touchdown only two plays after entering for Griffin III. After stopping the Jaguars offense on a quick three and out, Washington took over possession with a 7-0 lead.
Unfortunately, injury would strike the home team again as Jackson went down with a left shoulder injury. Although the injury bug hit the ‘Skins hard early on, they persevered and dominated the first half, taking a 21-6 lead going into the locker room.
Washington got big chain-moving plays from Roberts on the second and third scoring drives. Roberts will surely be pleased with his involvement in the offense as he was forced to take a back seat to Jackson when the former Philly wideout was surprisingly cut this offseason.
Both Morris and Roy Helu were key in balancing out Washington’s attack throughout the game, allowing the quarterback to run some successful play action passes. Morris carried the bulk of the load, bulldozing his way to 85 yards on 22 carries with 2 touchdowns.
After a quiet third quarter, the Redskins exploded with 17 points in the fourth and pushed the final score to 41-10. Not to be outdone on the day was Washington’s defense which completely shut down the Jaguars. Ryan Kerrigan was once at the forefront of the movement, tying a Redskins single-game record with four sacks.
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) September 15, 2014
It was certainly a bitter-sweet victory as Griffin III, Jackson, Helu and left guard Shawn Lauvao all were injured in the game.
If anything, the win showed that the Redskins depth is impressive and that even with key players sidelined, they still have what it takes to win.
According to Gruden, Griffin has an MRI exam scheduled for Monday, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting via Twitter that the team doctor believes Griffin III’s injury is season ending.
ESPN’s doctor, @jocktodoc, believes RGIII’s dislocated ankle is a season-ending injury.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 14, 2014
As Cousins gets more opportunities to play, you realize that Washington has made a clutch decision in back-to-back seasons by deciding not to trade him.
If you didn’t know before, you surely know now, Cousins has the potential to be a star in the NFL.
Three former Michigan State QBs–Drew Stanton, Brian Hoyer and Kirk Cousins–led NFL teams to victories today. Certain reports say RG3 could miss 4-5 weeks, others say the full season. More info will be available tomorrow after his MRI. The 10 sacks allowed by Jacksonville set a franchise record. DeSean Jackson has sprained AC joint in shoulder and is listed as day-to-day.