By Michael Brennan
All week long there have been comparisons made between Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton. You can look at passer rating, rushing yards, or even the number of games won. Regardless, RGIII has been more impressive. Even compared to the historic rookie season that Newton had, RGIII still looms large.
The Washington Redskins are 3-5 while the Carolina Panthers remain stagnant at 1-6. The Redskins have lost in close fashion several times throughout the season but continue to build on the NFL’s second-best rushing offense behind RGIII.
Washington is beginning to see the potential for the next decade with the team they have built around their rookie sensation. Part of the difficulty in defending Griffin is coping with his elite speed.
The Redskins have built a considerable portion of their playbook around RGIII, whether he’s executing designed runs or escaping pressure when the pocket breaks down; he is always a threat to run.
Griffin entered last week vs the Steelers having completed 70.4 percent of his passes to lead the NFL, but he was just 16 of 34 – a season-low 47.1 percent – for 177 yards and a touchdown. Last season’s Heisman winner while at Baylor would have posted significantly better numbers if not for 10 dropped passes.
“We lost the game, that’s all that matters,” he said. “You’re judged by wins and losses. I feel as bad as anyone else in that locker room right now.”
The same can be said for Newton. Newton is an elite runner but the area of his game that has given him and his team the most difficulty is the passing game. Whether he cannot make the right read or he is throwing under pressure, Newton has posted eight interceptions and cost his team on multiple occasions.
The Panthers are coming off of a close loss to the Chicago Bears and are hungry to gain their second win of the season. Newton completed 20 of 39 passes for a season-high 314 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
“This was a challenging week, not only for myself, but for any Carolina Panther fan that has been following us,” said Newton, who has committed eight turnovers during his team’s skid. “We just have to come out and keep enduring and keep going and keep going. It tells a lot about the teammates and what type of team you have (when you’re) faced with adversity.”
Nothing would give them more drive to better their season than a big road win at FedEx Field.
“It’s unfortunate, but we have to keep pounding,” said coach Ron Rivera, whose team was outscored 16-3 in the fourth quarter. “We have to keep at it. We did the types of things we need to do to give ourselves a chance to win. At some point along the lines we will get that opportunity and we will win. But right now we have to keep the commitment.”
Look for the Redskins to get back to form, with Griffin outplaying Newton, and taking home a big win.
Washington 24 Carolina 21