Posted: Tuesday October 23, 2012 2:54PM ; Updated: Tuesday October 23, 2012 6:01PM
Kerry J. Byrne
Kerry J. Byrne>COLD HARD FOOTBALL FACTS

Inside the numbers: Week 7

Story Highlights

Robert Griffin III's rookie season ranks right up there with the best QBs of all-time

Griffin is No. 1 in Real QB Rating, has the fourth-best completion percentage ever

Redskins' pass D is on pace to break the all-time record for most yards allowed

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Victor Cruz
Robert Griffin III gave the Redskins a likely win against the Giants. Then the Redskins' secondary gave it right back.
Lee S. Weissman /Landov

Robert Griffin III has burst onto the NFL scene with an extraordinary combination of fleet-footed athleticism, flair for drama and elite passing efficiency.

He reminds the Cold, Hard Football Facts of one of those barroom conversations you might have about building the perfect quarterback: pair Michael Vick's legs with Peyton Manning's crunch-time proficiency and Drew Brees' pinpoint accuracy.

Then dub your robo-QB RGIII.

The nickname alone sounds like one of those Star Wars droids that bravely battled the Evil Empire or the New York Giants. The reflective eye shield is a great dramatic touch for this quarterback of the future.

That's the great news for Washington Redskins fans.

The bad news is this: Mike Shanahan's team is about to waste the most brilliant rookie season in history by pairing RGIII with one of the worst pass defenses football has ever seen.

The Redskins (3-4) are on pace to surrender 457 points, which would be the most in franchise history.

They're also on pace to surrender 5,255 net passing yards -- which would be the most allowed by any team ever, surpassing the standard (or lack thereof) set last year by Green Bay (4,796), a flaw that cost the 15-1 Packers a run at the Super Bowl.

Elite Even Among Legends

Griffin and the Redskins are No. 1 in the NFL in Real Quarterback Rating, our measure of all aspects of quarterback play, including passing, running, sacks, total touchdowns and all turnovers.

The No. 1 ranking in this indicator provides statistical validation of RGIII's ability to beat defenses with his arm and his legs.

The No. 1 ranking takes on more gravitas when you look at the list of contemporary legends staring up at him on the Real Quarterback Rating leaderboard.

Top 8 Real QB Rating (through Week 7)

• No. 1 -- Griffin and the Redskins (99.9)
• No. 2 -- Peyton Manning and the Broncos (97.3)
• No. 3 -- Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (97.2)
• No. 4 -- Tom Brady and the Patriots (93.2)
• No. 5 -- Matt Ryan and the Falcons (92.3)
• No. 6 -- Drew Brees and the Saints (91.9)
• No. 7 -- Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers (91.2)
• No. 8 -- Eli Manning and the Giants (89.4)

This Top 8 list is a who's who of the best quarterbacks in football today. It includes every active Super Bowl winner: These quarterbacks have hoisted 10 of the last 11 Lombardi Trophies, including nine straight since 2003.

These quarterbacks have also won seven of the last 10 NFL MVP awards, including five straight.

Griffin has been more effective than every single one of these contemporary legends in Real Quarterback Rating.

Even if we remove his incredible running skills from the equation, Griffin is easily on pace to set the record for rookie passing efficiency. His 101.8 individual rating puts the Redskins third right now in team-wide Offensive Passer Rating, behind Green Bay's Rodgers (109.6) and Denver's Manning (105.0).

Griffin's most impressive skill, meanwhile, is his deadly accuracy. He displayed this accuracy last season during his Heisman-winning season at Baylor, completing an incredible 72.4 percent of his passes.

He's picked up right where he left. RGIII is accurate not just by the standards of a rookie quarterback, but by the standards of the most precise passers in history.

Top 5 most accurate passing seasons in NFL history (min. 150 attempts):

Drew Brees (2011) -- 468 of 657 (71.23 percent)
Drew Brees (2009) -- 363 of 514 (70.62)
Ken Anderson (1982) -- 218 of 309 (70.55)
Robert Griffin III (2012) -- 133 of 189 (70.37)
Sammy Baugh (1945) -- 128 of 182 (70.33)

Again, RGIII is firmly entrenched among the game's elite. The good news is that, right now, the Redskins have a quarterback good enough to win a Super Bowl, even though he's only a rookie.

Mike Shanahan's Defensive Woes

The bad news is that Shanahan's tribe is wasting Griffin's spectacular rookie season with a historically inept defense. Washington's 27-23 loss to the Giants on Sunday was a perfect microcosm of the team's season so far.

Griffin once again made big plays throughout the contest with both his arm and his legs. And he was at his best with the game on the line.

He needed just 87 seconds late in the fourth quarter to lead the Redskins on a 77-yard touchdown drive. RGIII accounted for every yard himself, running for 24 yards and passing for the rest, while capping the drive with a 30-yard TD pass to Santana Moss for a 23-20 Redskins lead.

Seconds later Giants quarterback Eli Manning connected with Victor Cruz for a 77-yard touchdown, splitting the hapless Redskins defense for a long, back-breaking scoring strike.

Game over. Giants win. Redskins lose.

It's been this way all year. Back in Week 2, Griffin and the offense carved up the tough St. Louis defense for 373 yards and 28 points.

The Rams countered with 452 yards and 31 points, the second-greatest offensive performance of the Sam Bradford Era in terms of both yards and points.

A week later Griffin and the Washington offense turned 381 yards into 31 points against the Bengals, good enough to win most NFL games.

Cincinnati countered with 478 yards and 38 points -- another wasted offensive effort by the Redskins. Those 478 yards were the second most by the Bengals have generated in five years.

The Redskins have surrendered 28.6 PPG so far, the most by the franchise in more than a half century. Here are the five worst defenses in Redskins history, based upon average points allowed.

Year Record Points PPG
1954 3-9 432 36.0
1947 4-8 367 30.6
1959 3-9 350 29.2
2012 3-4 200 28.6
1963 3-11 398 28.4

Defensive struggles are nothing new for Shanahan's Redskins. While the lack of a legit QB before RGIII has been well documented, the reality is that Shanahan has failed to produce a playoff-caliber defense in his first two-and-a-half seasons in Washington.

The Redskins ranked 21st in scoring defense in his first two years, and have tumbled to No. 28 this year.

The biggest problems this year are on pass defense. As noted above, the Redskins are on pace to become the first team in history to allow more than 5,000 yards through the year. Every opponent this season has passed for at least 299 yards.

The beauty of Real Quarterback Rating, the stat in which Griffin leads the NFL, is that it so consistently separates winners from losers.

Since we introduced the indicator, teams better in Real QB Rating are 311-49 (.864). No stat in football, other than final score, has a higher Correlation to Victory.

Given that Correlation to Victory, given the fact that the Redskins are enjoying the best all-around QB play in football this year, they should be one of the league's elite teams.

Instead, as good as RGIII is offensively, the Redskins are even worse defensively. The result is a 3-4 record through seven games and last place in the rough-and-tumble NFC East.

 
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