LANDOVER, Md. - Washington had lost eight straight games to rookie quarterbacks over seven seasons before Sunday, and Philadelphia had jumped ahead of the Redskins by wide margins the past two years at FedEx Field.
However, those Redskins teams didn't have Robert Griffin III. Washington's rookie quarterback led the Redskins to a surprisingly easy 31-6 victory over the visiting Eagles on Sunday.
The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Baylor threw a career-high four touchdown passes while completing all but one of his 15 attempts (to nine different targets) for 200 yards (a 158.3 passer rating) and added 84 yards on 12 carries. Griffin's first touchdown and Kai Forbath's field goal on the first half's final play followed takeaways by Washington's defense, which hadn't forced a turnover as the offense also struggled the previous two games.
"Whenever your defense plays like that, it makes you feel like as an offense you don't have to press to try to score every time," Griffin said.
Washington (4-6), which ended a three-game skid, won't have time to celebrate, with a date in Dallas on Thanksgiving. Philadelphia (3-7) will have eight days to stew over the first six-game losing streak of coach Andy Reid's 14-year tenure, which is even more likely to end next month after this performance.
"I don't think it's a lack of focus," Reid said. "I see them playing hard. I see them focused at practice. I think at times we may be trying too hard."
Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles, making his first start in place of Michael Vick (concussion), was 21-for-46 with two interceptions, and he had his second pass deflect off tight end Brent Celek's hands into those of Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who took the interception 23 yards to the Philadelphia 9. The Redskins took a 7-0 lead on Griffin's toss to wide-open fullback Darrel Young two plays later.
Brandon Meriweather, a two-time Pro Bowl strong safety who finally made his Washington debut after being sidelined since Week 2 of preseason with a series of left knee injuries, ended Philadelphia's second series with an interception. He raced 25 yards to the Washington 44, but the Redskins failed to take advantage of the break.
"Everybody saw his impact," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said of Meriweather, who was sidelined during the third quarter with a sprained right knee but expects to be ready for the Cowboys. "He gives us a lot of energy back there."
After Philadelphia's Alex Henery kicked a 41-yard field goal 45 seconds into the second quarter, Washington's offense finally got going. Griffin scrambled for 10 yards on third-and-six, and rookie running back Alfred Morris carried twice for 17 yards before receiver Aldrick Robinson was left alone in the end zone to haul in a 49-yard touchdown pass from Griffin that made it 14-3 Redskins with 10:35 left in the half.
It seemed that was going to be the score at intermission, but Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield stripped Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, and outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan recovered the fumble to set up Forbath's 25-yard field goal.
Henery matched that with a 42-yarder to cap the first series of the third quarter, but veteran Redskins receiver Santana Moss outfought defensive backs Brandon Boykin and Kurt Coleman to grab a 61-yard touchdown pass from Griffin that made it 24-6 with 4:50 left in the quarter and put the game away.
"Those opportunities don't come [as] often as they used to so I try to make sure I capitalize on every one that come my way," said the 33-year-old Moss, who lost his starting job this season but has six of Washington's 13 touchdown catches. "Robert's a special guy. He really ignites our fire. When he's in a groove, he just rubs off on everybody else."
Griffin set up his final touchdown pass with a 28-yard scamper on first-and-20 at the Philadelphia 48. Just three plays later, tight end Logan Paulsen powered his way across the goal line with the 17-yard touchdown catch that closed the scoring with 10:24 remaining.
"I know everyone here hates losing," said Celek, a starter on Eagles playoff teams in 2008, 2009 and 2010. "This is our job ... and we're failing at it. It makes me sick."
Notes: Redskins presumed No. 1 receiver Pierre Garcon had three catches for five yards after missing the previous four games and six of the previous eight with a torn ligament in his right foot. . . . McCoy, Philadelphia's leading rusher, was carted off the field with a concussion with 1:45 left.