RG3 Redeemed; Film Breakdown of His Passes versus the Eagles

RG3 showed very positive signs of improvement during his Week 16 match-up versus the Eagles. In this game, RG3 showed a better grasp of fundamental quarterbacking that he hasn’t shown all season. If RG3 continues to show these signs of progress, the Redskins should be confident in naming him their quarterback of the future.

RG3 – 16/23 for 220 yards (9.6 ypa), 0 TDs, 1 INTs, 1 fumbled snap, 2 sacks for 15 yards, and two-50+ yard bombs to DeSean Jackson

Offensive groupings are denoted as a two digit number, where the first digit represents the number of runnings backs, and the second number represents the number of tight ends in the set.
For example, “12” offensive grouping refers to 1 RB, 2 TE and 2 WRs.

Play 1
Situation: 2nd and 3 at PHI 40
Description: Q1 – (11:05) R.Griffin pass short left to D.Jackson pushed ob at PHI 33 for 7 yards (C.Williams).
All-22 View

Endzone View

Formation: Singleback Big
Offensive Grouping: 12

RG3 has Jackson and Garcon as his wide outs. Jackson runs a quick out underneath off-man coverage for a gain of 7 yards on the play.

Jackson makes a quick cut on the out-route and RG3 places the ball in stride. Quick, accurate throw to start the game.

Play 2
Situation: 2nd and 9 at PHI 32
Description: Q1 – (9:56) (Shotgun) R.Griffin pass short right to C.Thompson to PHI 30 for 2 yards (M.Kendricks).
All-22 View

Endzone View

Formation: Empty-set Shotgun
Offensive Grouping: 01

RG3 throws a quick WR screen pass to RB37 Thompson who lines up wide right. This play works much better against man-to-man coverage, so the zone coverage of the Eagles on the right side is able to shutdown the screen quickly. TE82 Paulsen needs to block out Kendricks for this play to be effective. If he did, Thompson would have had a clear running lane up the sideline for a bigger gain.

RG3’s throw is a little bit high and in front of Thompson, but still catchable.

Play 3
Situation: 3rd and 7 at PHI 30
Description: Q1 – (9:12) (Shotgun) R.Griffin pass short middle to A.Roberts to PHI 16 for 14 yards (B.Fletcher) [B.Graham].
All-22 View

Endzone View

Formation: Shotgun Twins Stacks Right
Offensive Grouping: 13


RG3 starts with his first read WR11 Jackson. Jackson is running an out route running an out-route.


Jackson’s CB has tight off-man coverage so RG3 moves onto his next read. TE86 Reed who is running a smash route from the top of the twin stacks right.


Reed’s defender barely allows any separation off of the line of scrimmage. Typically this is a good match-up of Reed versus a linebacker due to Reed’s agility, but the linebacker maintains good man coverage.


RG3 moves onto to his final read with WR12 Roberts running an in route from the back of the twins stack right. Roberts gets out of his break quickly and RG3 places the ball accurately to him. Roberts bobbles the ball, but is able to bring it in for a 14 yard gain.

On this play, RG3 stood tall in the pocket, went through his reads and delivered an accurate ball to his wide receiver. RG3 struggled with completing his progresssions in previous games so this is a great sign of development for the QB that many people claim is a bust.

Play 4
Situation: 2nd and 9 at PHI 15
Description: Q1 – (7:56) (Shotgun) R.Griffin pass incomplete short right to D.Jackson (M.Kendricks).
All-22 View

Endzone View

Formation: Pistol Twins Left
Offensive Grouping: 11

RG3 runs play-action bootleg to the right. DE91 Cox reads the play fake well and chases down RG3 into the backfield. RG3 throws to his underneath receiver WR11 Jackson, but the pass is low and too slow for Jackson to make a play on the ball since the ball was thrown off of RG3’s backfoot.

It’s a tough throw to make when you are getting chased by a stud defensive lineman like Cox. All of the receivers were covered as they were flooding right and Jackson does his best to sit in between defenders.

On the positive side, RG3 doesn’t force a throw into coverage, but the credit goes to the defense on this play specifically through Cox for reading it and Kendricks for defending the ball from Jackson.

Play 5
Situation: 3rd and 9 at PHI 15
Description: Q1 – (7:47) (Shotgun) R.Griffin pass incomplete short left to J.Reed [M.Kendricks]. PENALTY on PHI-C.Williams, Unnecessary Roughness, 7 yards, enforced at PHI 15.
All-22 View

Endzone View

Formation: Shotgun Trips Right
Offensive Grouping: 11

This is the Redskins favorite offensive formation. It utilizes the team’s greatest strength; the top three wide receivers (Jackson, Garcon and Roberts) and TE Jordan Reed in the same set. Typically from this formation we see a lot of screen passes, pick plays and crossing routes to help free the receivers from the defenders.

RG3 snaps the ball and instantly feels pressure from the left side of the line through LT71 Williams. LB55 Graham bull-rushes Williams into the backfield, while ILB95 Kendricks is the free rusher through the A-gap between the RG66 Chester and C74 Lichtensteiger.

RG3 gets rid of the ball in time throwing the out-and-up route to Reed on the left side of the field. The ball goes out of bounds in Reed’s direction. CB26 Williams gets called for unneccessary roughness for pushing Reed on the play giving the Redskin sa first down.

The Redskins offensive line needs to do a better job picking up the delayed blitzer in Kendricks. Hits like this aren’t pretty to see on your QB.

Play 6
Situation: 2nd and 8 at PHI 8
Description: Q1 – (6:59) (Shotgun) R.Griffin scrambles left end to PHI 7 for 1 yard (B.Boykin).
All-22 View

Endzone View

Formation: Shotgun Trips Left
Offensive Grouping: 11


RG3 fakes the handoff to RB37 Thompson in the backfield and starts his reads looking left at Garcon and Jackson. Both Jackson and Garcon are running smash routes. I think Jackson was supposed to run a slant route but he cut back since his CB had the inside-leverage. RG3 sees this and stares at them a little bit too long.


Next, RG3 progresses to Roberts running a post route from the slot who is actually open in the back of the endzone for a lob pass.


All RG3 has to do is release the ball, but the linebackers underneath in zone coverage see RG3 looking at Roberts and close the gap.

Finally, RG3 senses the pressure incoming from the defensive lineman.


He looks right quickly and then scrambles outside of the pocket to his left. outside of the pocket RG3 attempts to cut upfield but slips on Washington’s terrible turf and hits the deck ending the play.

If RG3 did not watch Garcon and Jackson and decided to move on to Roberts this play would have been a touchdown. The defenders were not ready for Roberts post route and even Roberts knew it too as he instantly threw his hand up into the air asking for the ball off of his cut.

This is a play that RG3 needs to complete in order for the Redskins to keep up with the elite teams in the NFL. Instead, RG3 scrambles outside of the pocket for a minimal gain. The only positive from this play is the protection by the offensive line and RB Thompson for the blitz pick-up on ILB50 Matthews. They all did an excellent job keeping this play alive for an extended period of time, which is something we did not see earlier in the season from them.

Play 7
Situation: 3rd and 7 at PHI 7
Description: Q1 – (6:14) (Shotgun) R.Griffin pass incomplete short right to P.Garcon (M.Jenkins).
All-22 View

Endzone View

Formation: Shotgun Trips Right
Offensive Grouping: 11


RG3 takes a high snap and instantly finds Jackson on a slant route. This is a designed pick play where WR12 Roberts route interferes with the Jackson’s defender. RG3 throws the ball at Jackson not reading the FS27 Jenkins playing zone coverage over the trips. Jenkins reads the play and should have had a pick six, but he drops the ball. Lucky break for the Redskins here.


Terrible decision by RG3 here. Designed pick plays are meant for single man-to-man coverage when the safety or any zone defenders are out of the play. RG3 needs to read this play pre-snap and see that there are three defenders lining up directly off of their receivers and determine they are in man-to-man with a safety over top or three underneath zones.

In the right slot next to the pick play is Reed who instantly beats his defender off of the line of scrimmage and is open for the ball for a lob pass touchdown. RG3 continues to struggle in the red zone just like last week against the Giants.

Play 8
Situation: 2nd and 9 at WSH 21
Description: Q1 – (1:16) (Shotgun) R.Griffin pass deep right to D.Jackson to PHI 28 for 51 yards (B.Fletcher).
All-22 View

Endzone View

Formation: Shotgun Double Left Far
Offensive Grouping: 11


RG3 has Jackson and Garcon as his wide-outs. Jackson immediately beats CB Fletcher off of the line of scrimmage with a step to the inside and then sprints downfield. RG3 does something that I have been preaching about in almost all of my RG3 articles: He looks off the safety!


RG3 finds WR12 Roberts from the slot running to the flat wich draws the free safety over to the middle of the field thinking that RG3 is going to look for TE Reed running a post route. Instead, RG3 turns to the other side of the field and finds Jackson on the right sideline sprinting past Fletcher.

RG3 throws a beautiful bomb to WR11 Jackson’s outside shoulder. Due to Fletcher playing catch-up in coverage, he can’t turn around in time to locate the ball allowing Jackson to track down the ball without interference. Finally, RG3 learned NOT to stare down his receivers!


Samuel Gold

Sam founded NFL Breakdowns after working his way through the journalist farm system and is enjoying life in the big league. Growing up outside of Washington, D.C., Sam didn’t choose the Redskins, the Redskins chose him. Out of a love for the game and an insatiable curiosity to determine why his beloved team was underperforming, Sam turned to studying film in NFL Breakdowns.