Robert Griffin III is inspiring awe as he skillfully puts together one of the best rookie seasons by a QB ever. But beyond his individual records, he is setting a new tone in Washington and helping the team to break records and streaks of all kinds. Gone are the days when pre-game doom and gloom of statistics favoring the opponents could rattle Redskins fans into believing those stats mattered or were indicative of the impending game’s outcome. Redskins fans used to buy into the hype because, with the Redskins of old, the negative streaks would usually continue. Not any more. With Griffin III at the helm, backed by fellow rookie sensation Alfred Morris, it seems anything is possible and no record or streak unbreakable.
Well-deserved accolades abound for the rookie duo who are continually breaking team and NFL records. On Monday Night Football, in prime-time against the division rival New York Giants, the Redskins became the first team in NFL history to have a rookie with 2,000 passing yards (Griffin III) and a rookie with 1,000 rushing yards (Morris). That night Griffin III also surpassed Cam Newton’s record for rushing yards by a rookie QB. With 714 rushing yards thus far, Griffin III just might join Morris in the 1,000 yard club before the season is out.
Going into that game against the Giants, it was all but certain that Morris would break the 1,000 yard mark, and do it early in the game. Sure enough, on his third carry of the game, Morris broke free for a 19-yard gain and become the second Redskins rookie ever to rush for over 1,000 yards. Before the game was over, Morris would tally his fifth 100-yard game and eclipse the Redskins rookie rushing record, held since 1993.
Individual triumphs aside, however, our dynamic rookies are helping this team, as a whole, break longstanding streaks and achieve at a level not seen in Washington in years. With consecutive victories over Philadelphia, Dallas and New York, the Redskins went on their first three game winning streak since 2008. Defeating rookie QB Nick Foles and the faltering Eagles snapped an 0-8 losing streak against rookie QBs. The win in Dallas was our first Thanksgiving win since 1973 and our first-ever Thanksgiving win against the Cowboys. The Monday Night Football victory was the first such win since a 2007 triumph over the Eagles. It also snapped a 26 consecutive road game winning streak by the Giants when they held the lead at the half.
Those now-broken streaks are just the type of records that talking heads love to tout leading into and during games. Whether or not you buy into them, they become the sound bites that get repeated over and over again, from SportsCenter to the water cooler. After a while, you can’t help but think there is some inherent value in the statistics, some predictive quality. But records are meant to be broken and, after the Eagles game, they started to sound more like challenges than predictions. After Dallas, and a few more shattered streaks, hope (and the feeling that recent triumphs weren’t just flukes) started to spread to infectious levels. With Monday Night redemption still shining in the rear-view mirror, now it is time to say bring it on. Give us all your streaks – we’re ready to break them.
On Sunday, the 9-3 Baltimore Ravens are bringing purple mania to FedEx. The Ravens suffered a brutal loss last weekend to their arch-rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and are looking for a win to secure a playoff berth. The big stat leading into this weekend is that the Ravens are 15-0 coming off a loss. Baltimore may be fired up after Sunday’s loss, but the Redskins are riding high on division wins and two rookies who only get better each week. 15-0? Bring it on.