During the off season, Washington football fans were promised a fresh start. The franchise brass hired a new head coach (Jay Gruden) and paid top dollar for free-agent wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Also, after a sub-par, injury-ridden sophomore season, Robert Griffin III was finally healthy and ready to prove himself. Even after a poor preseason performance, Griffin maintained his optimism, promising to make fans forget the past when the season started.
But when fans tuned in on Sunday, not much had changed. It was a disappointing outing for not only Griffin, but the entire Washington team. The Skins — who had hired a coach revered for his offensive mind and bulked up on key offensive players — scored a measly six points.
Washington’s sole score came on a 1-yard TD run by Darrel Young mid-way through the second quarter. Their anemic offense couldn’t even score the extra point after touchdown; it was blocked by the Texans’ defense who dominated them throughout the 17-6 loss.
After the TD, the Skins led 6-0, but not for a long. The Texans quickly scored on a 76-yard touchdown pass by new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. With the momentum swinging heavily in their favor, Houston’s on-fire defense blocked the Redskins’ punt on the next play, which they recovered for a touchdown and a 14-6 halftime lead.
With two second-half fumbles, Washington was unable to produce offensively. And though they were able to hold Houston to just a field goal late in the fourth quarter, the damage had long been done.
The game was especially disheartening for Gruden, who was hoping for a better NFL head coaching debut.
“Sick. Sick. Sick,” he said on how he felt afterward. “You only get one chance at your first time, and I failed to get it done. We failed as a team to get it done.”
Griffin also left the game deflated and a bit roughed up. He was a frequent target of the Houston defense on Sunday, getting sacked three times, and hit countless others. He finished the day 29-of-37 for 267 yards, with two fumbles and no touchdowns. Not exactly the performance he wanted to silence his critics.
“We’ll go back and watch the tapes and figure out what exactly it was,” Griffin said after the loss. “We all know what happened on the fumbles, but what exactly it was throughout the rest of the game to where we can consistently move the ball and score points and be the offense that we know we can be.”
He admitted that, like his teammates, he needed improvement. “Like I said, that starts with me,” the third-year QB said. “I’ll be better, and I’ll be better for them, and I’ll make sure to lead them in the right direction at this point.”