ORCHARD PARK, NY (CBSDC) — Preseason game or not, Thursday night was huge for the Washington Redskins.
The team ushered in the Robert Griffin III era with a 7-6 victory over the Buffalo Bills on the road.
There was only one stat-line that mattered — Griffin’s.
The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback whom the Redskins selected with the second overall pick in this year’s NFL draft didn’t disappoint. He showed poise, confidence and most importantly promise in the three series he was on the field.
Griffin finished the night 4-of-6 for 70 yards with a 20-yard touchdown strike to Pierre Garçon and a passer rating of 145.8.
The Baylor product faced little to no pressure and went largely untouched by a highly touted and revamped Bills defensive line.
Griffin seemed at home with Garçon. The pair connected three times for 58 yards including the game’s only score. A fourth connection was nullified when the replacement officials ruled the receiver didn’t keep both feet in bounds on a pass during Washington’s second drive.
“It’s very good to watch him,” Garçon said in comments distributed by the team. “I can help him out as much as I can because I’ve been around a great quarterback and have been in the league for in a little bit, so I can try to give him a little bit of knowledge. We communicate and help each other. It’s great to see him come into his own.”
Related: RGIII & Garçon Have Chemistry
Griffin didn’t get a chance to throw any passes to Brandon Banks whom the Redskins thoroughly worked out as a wide receiver Thursday night. Head coach Mike Shanahan said the undersized speedster would need to prove he could be effective as more than just a return specialist this season.
The third-year fan favorite left something to be desired in the preseason opener. Although he was targeted frequently and ran some decent routes, multiple slips and size disadvantages yielded just a two-catch, seven-yard outing.
He didn’t have any punt or kickoff returns.
In the rushing battle, Evan Royster carried the ball seven times for 21 yards, but was stopped for a loss or no-gain on multiple occasions. His long run of the game was a 12-yard burst.
Roy Helu, who served as the team’s second running back on the night, carried the ball four times for 17 yards and a 4.3 yards per carry average.
Veteran Chris Cooley started at fullback, carrying the ball one time for one-yard.
Defensively, Ryan Kerrigan spent a great deal of time in Buffalo’s backfield and was able to notch a sack.
Interior defensive lineman Chris Baker also shined. The 329-pound Hampton product dominated Buffalo’s offensive line throughout the game.
Jarvis Jenkins’ highly anticipated return didn’t yield much of a result. The second-year player, who spent his rookie season on the sidelines with a torn ACL, was largely unable to penetrate Buffalo’s backfield.
The Redskins will next travel to face the Chicago Bears next Thursday.