1 The only time you saw the zone reads and options was in practice, and you could see the impact at times. Linebackers would jump wide, and Robert Griffin III would cut inside. Or they would crash hard on the ballcarrier and he would bounce outside. The point: It was tough to defend. And you saw the Saints having problems with it Sunday. Want to know why some of those bubble screens worked so well? Because of the fake zone read runs. Here's one: On a 12-yard bubble screen to Pierre Garcon to the left, the outside linebacker on that side (David Hawthorne) got sucked inside by the fake. This enabled Trent Williams to seal him inside, opening a lane for Garcon. It happened several times. And part of the success stems from Griffin's calmness in the pocket. In training camp that calmness was termed "being deliberate." He never looked to be in a hurry. Well, it worked to his advantage Sunday.
The poise Griffin showed wasn't a surprise. Spend any time around him and you can tell pressure doesn't bother him. Some guys just like being in certain situations. Griffin is one of them. He also played with trust, not just in his receivers but in his protection. On the touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, the Saints sent six rushers. That left the Redskins' blockers, including running back Roy Helu, in man blocking. Griffin never appeared worried, set his feet and tossed a strike for the score.
3 Griffin's mindset is a perfect one for offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Both want to make big plays downfield. Shanahan took the pressure off Griffin with a lot of his calls, not forcing him to make those big plays. But how many coaches would have a rookie throw a play-action pass late in the game protecting an eight-point lead? Griffin executed the pass to Logan Paulsen perfectly. On the 26-yard pass to tight end Fred Davis, the Redskins ran a swap-boot to the left, and Darrel Young was open in the flat. But Davis leaked out to the other side, and Griffin, under pressure, turned and threw to him. Defenses will learn you must play tight coverage no matter where a receiver is on the field. Just a sweet play.