Rex Grossman's play in the Washington Redskins' 28-14 win over the New York Giants vindicated head coach Mike Shanahan's decision to bench then dump Donovan McNabb in favor of Grossman.
Grossman completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 305 yards, two touchdowns and NO INTERCEPTIONS for a QB Passer rating of 110.5. He ranks seventh among quarterback performances going into tonight's game. Grossman is the best performer of NFC East quarterbacks in week one with an ESPN Total QBR of 75.
McNabb completed 46.7 percent of his passes for 39 yards (No, that isn't a typo.), one touchdown and one interception. McNabb's Vikings could not protect its 17-7 half-time lead and lost to the notoriously slow-starting San Diego Chargers. Minnesota's defense allowed 21 second-half points, but the Vikings' offense could muster no more than 26 yards of offense in that time.
The entire Vikings performance will fall on McNabb's shoulders.
Shanahan's decision to bench McNabb in the last two minutes of the Detroit Lions game last season shocked the team and 'Skins fans, not to mention the player. Its timing and Shanahan's mysterious explanation for it turned the entire season for the worse. The Redskins second touchdown drive against the Giants with 2:48 to go in the first-half surely matched Shanny's vision that day in Detroit.
Grossman completed all five of his pass attempts for the 80 yard, 2:11 drive that ended with his dead on six-yard scoring strike to Anthony Armstrong to tie the game.
Fans focus on the quarterback's critical stats like percent of completions. The other side of that is the receiver's percent of passes caught. ESPN.com publishes the number of times receivers are targeted by the quarterback (Shame on you, NFL.com, for not doing the same.). Three of Grossman's receivers stood out.
Feed Davis caught five of six passes targeted to him to lead Redskins receives with 105 yards. The ever reliable Santana Moss caught six of eight passes (76 yards) and Tim Hightower was three for three for 25 yards. Meh, maybe we won't miss Keiland williams, now with Detroit, after all. Davis ranked seventh among all week one receivers going into Monday night's games.
Jabar Gaffney was three for seven and Anthony Armstrong was two for six of the passes thrown to them. Thus, eight of Grossman's 13 incompletions can be attributed to the pair. We are going to need more from them this season for the passing game to work.
One game is not a season. Both Grossman's and McNabb's performance will settle to a norm—lower for Grossman, higher for McNabb. But America can stop laughing at Grossman and the Redskins now.
From the media:
Minnesota StarTribune - In this prehistoric offense, passing seems to be extinct
New York Post - Giants 'D' torn to shreds by Redskins Grossman
Washington Times - Confident Grossman leads way in Washington's 28-14 win over Giants