SPORTS

Redskins vs. Rams preview: RG3, Washington look for second straight win

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — After the St. Louis Rams lost their opener in the final seconds at Detroit, coach Jeff Fisher was showered with praise and compliments from friends and admirers for what almost happened.

Griffin led Washington to a 40-32 win over New Orleans in his Week 1 debut. Photo: Associated Press

Attaboys, Fisher could do without.

"I'm getting texts and emails from everybody across the country saying 'Great job!'" Fisher griped. "Well, what do you mean, great job? We lost by four points."

It was a great way to make a point to the NFL's youngest roster, featuring 17 rookies. No sense in being satisfied when the bottom line is 0-1.

A great way to get the upcoming opponent's attention, too.

"Look at what he has done so far," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. "He has a good draft. Obviously, he has a couple No. 1 draft picks in the future. He went out in free agency and really upgraded his secondary.

"They have a lot of new players and he has them going already."

Shanahan has firsthand knowledge of the Rams' future potential bounty, given he was the guy shipping those picks out of town. And while Fisher can afford patience in the first year of a five-year contract, Shanahan is in a rut and going for broke.

Shanahan is tied with Bud Grant for third with 158 career victories and no one can take away his three Super Bowl rings. He's 3-1 lifetime against Fisher, whom he's known since both were assistants in San Francisco in 1992.

But in his third year in Washington, Shanahan is trying to end a string of five straight seasons without a playoff appearance.

Unlike the Rams, who are 15-66 the last five years, the Redskins have never hit rock bottom, yet they've finished last in the NFC East the last four years for the first time in franchise history and have made it to the playoffs just three times the last 19 seasons.

Fed up with "B'' list consolation quarterbacks, Shanahan paid top dollar for his game-changer. He found a willing trade partner in Fisher's Rams, set at quarterback with Sam Bradford, for the right to draft Robert Griffin III second overall in April.

Griffin made a splash on opening day with 320 yards passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 40-32 shootout win in New Orleans. The elusive former Heisman Trophy winner is the first rookie quarterback to be chosen NFC offensive player of the week, and the first rookie quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards and win a season opener, too.

Big advantage to Washington. For now.

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