Robert Griffin III solid in Redskins debut

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III throws during Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III throws during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y. (Aug. 9, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

ASHBURN, Va. -- Robert Griffin III is off to a good start.

The Washington Redskins' rookie quarterback finished his 14 plays over three series with a 20-yard touchdown pass to receiver Pierre Garcon in Thursday's 7-6 win over the Buffalo Bills in his preseason debut.

The Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor was 4 of 6 for 70 yards and a sterling 145.8 quarterback rating. He wasn't sacked and didn't run, although he and running back Evan Royster combined to fumble a handoff that set up Buffalo's first field goal.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who believes so strongly in Griffin that he traded three first-round picks and a second-rounder for the right to take the 22-year-old with the second selection in April's draft, was very happy.

"He did an excellent job, managed the game well," Shanahan said.

Griffin's first pass was indicative of a game in which the defenses dominated. Garcon caught it along the sideline but wasn't able to keep his feet in bounds, so it was ruled incomplete. Neither team picked up a first down on either of its first two series.

Griffin's 20-yard completion to Garcon over the middle on the second snap of Washington's third possession ignited the eight-play, 80-yard drive that ended with the two players teaming up for the game's only touchdown on a screen.

"It was fun," Griffin said. "I got to go against different people other than our defense. Practice is a lot harder than the games. Our defense was definitely on top of a lot of stuff we were doing during practice. You come out to the game and you can see all the reads a lot clearer just because you're not going against that defense. The holes were a lot bigger." Washington's starting defense also managed quite well, holding Buffalo to 40 yards over three series while allowing only a field goal after the fumble gave the Bills possession at the Redskins 21-yard line. Second-year outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan was the standout, sacking Ryan Fitzpatrick on Buffalo's first play and batting away a pass during the third series.

Led by reserve nose tackle Chris Baker, the Redskins' second team followed that success by stopping the Bills on six straight plays inside the Washington 5 late in the second quarter. A holding call on rookie inside linebacker Keenan Robinson that gave Buffalo a fresh set of downs was the only blemish.

The defense limited the bumbling Bills to the pair of field goals, 219 yards, 12 first downs and 4-of-16 third-down efficiency "I was very pleased with the way they handled themselves," Shanahan said. "(That) shows you a lot about our players, (the) character of our guys." The coach was also pleased that X-rays were negative on the foot of left tackle Trent Williams, who was stepped on during the extra point, especially considering that the Redskins played without left guard Kory Lichtensteiger (knee), right guard Chris Chester (ankle) and right tackle Jammal Brown (hip). Maurice Hurt, fifth-round pick Adam Gettis and Tyler Polumbus started in their places.

The Redskins didn't allow a sack while attempting 38 passes, gained 253 yards and 15 first downs and were 6 of 18 on third downs.

"Not perfect by any means, but I thought they played hard, and for the most part, played well," Shanahan said.

You also may be interested in: