New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Robert Griffin III had the best seat in the
house as Pierre Garcon scampered 88 yards for Griffin's first NFL touchdown.
Making his NFL debut, Griffin threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns on 19-
of-26 efficiency as the Washington Redskins held off the New Orleans Saints,
40-32, on Sunday.
Late in the first quarter, Griffin took a big hit from safety Malcolm Jenkins
before releasing the football downfield on a play-action pass to an open
Garcon over the middle at the 30-yard line.
Griffin sat on the turf with both arms raised as Garcon, who caught four
passes for 109 yards before exiting with a right foot injury, streaked down
the left sideline for the score.
Griffin added 42 yards on 10 carries for Washington (1-0), which failed to
score 30 points in any game a year ago.
The Saints (0-1), playing in their first regular season game since the fallout
from the bounty-gate scandal, were led onto the field by interim head coach
Aaron Kromer. He's taking over for Sean Payton, who is banned for the
entire 2012 campaign for failing to put a stop to the Saints' scandal
overseen by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Joe Vitt will take
over the head coaching duties following his six-game suspension.
On Friday, a three-team collective bargaining agreement panel overturned the
suspensions for four players connected in the program, two of which are
current Saints. Defensive end Will Smith started Sunday, while Jonathan Vilma,
who continues to heal from a serious knee injury, watched from the sideline.
Vilma was originally suspended for the season, while Smith had a four-game
Fresh off a new five-year, $100 million deal and one of the most prolific
seasons in league history, during which Drew Brees established new NFL marks
with 5,476 passing yards and a career-best 46 touchdowns, he completed 24-
of-52 passes for 339 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Saints, who tallied an NFL low 23 three-and-outs in 2011, had four on
their first six possessions before finally finding an offensive rhythm in the
Trailing 33-17 midway through the fourth quarter, Brees connected with Lance
Moore in the back-left corner of the end zone for a 33-yard score and Darren
Sproles ran it in for the two-point conversion, which made it 33-25.
New Orleans' defense then forced the Redskins to punt, but Brees' first pass
was intercepted by DeJon Gomes and returned 49 yards to the Saints' 3-yard
Morris ran it in the following play for a 40-25 spread with 3:23 to play, but
the Saints countered with a brisk 10-play, 80-yard, 53-second trek, which was
capped on Sproles' 2-yard TD catch for a 40-32 game with 2:29 left.
The Redskins picked up one first down before punting the ball back to New
Orleans, which took over at their own 20-yard line with 22 seconds to go.
Brees hooked up with Moore for gains of 15 and 26 yards before spiking the
ball at the Washington 39-yard line with two ticks remaining. But Brees' Hail
Mary pass was intercepted by Reed Doughty in the end zone to seal the win for
Earlier, although he didn't throw a pass past the line of scrimmage, Griffin
was 6-of-6 for 35 yards on Washington's opening 12-play, 49-yard drive, which
was capped when Billy Cundiff snuck a 37-yard field goal just inside the right
upright for a 3-0 Redskins lead.
The Saints countered on their ensuing series when Brees found Jimmy Graham for
a 20-yard score in between two Washington defenders, which concluded a seven-
play, 80-yard drive, but the Redskins scored the next 17 points.
After Garcon's 88-yard score, Griffin flipped a five-yard TD pass to Aldrick
Robinson on Washington's next offensive touch, and Cundiff added a 41-yard
field goal midway through the second for a 20-7 Redskins advantage.
New Orleans, though, got within 20-14 after Martez Wilson blocked a Sav Rocca
punt, and Courtney Roby scooped up the loose ball for a 4-yard touchdown.
Washington established a 16-point cushion in the third when Morris capped off
its opening second-half, 77-yard drive with a 1-yard TD plunge. Following
another Saints three-and-out, Cundiff booted through a 37-yarder for a 30-14
Hartley and Cundiff then traded field goals, 21 and 45 yards, respectively,
which made it 33-17 early in the fourth.
Moore had six catches for 120 yards, while Graham finished with 85 yards on
six receptions ... Washington committed 12 penalties for a loss of 127 yards,
while New Orleans was flagged 12 times for 107 yards ... The Redskins
outgained the Saints, 464-358.
The Sports Network