The Cincinnati Bengals' defense was on a mission to make life difficult for Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III in his home debut.
The Bengals sacked Griffin III six times and knocked him to the ground at least seven other times, as the Redskins fell 38-31 in front of 80,060 fans at FedExField.
"As a quarterback, you're a stationary target most of the time," Griffin III said. "Even when you're a mobile QB, the teams are still going to come after you even more because they feel like if they get a sack on a mobile quarterback, it counts as more. That's just their mindset when they go into the game."
The Redskins (1-2) had a hard time containing defensive end Michael Johnson, who knocked Griffin III to the ground seven times and had three sacks off the edge for the Bengals (2-1).
"We all just tried to get after [Griffin III] with the best of our abilities," Johnson said. "You can play every play as hard as you can [and] it makes things a lot easier on Sundays."
Redskins center Will Montgomery said the offense was plagued at times by poor execution, which led to Griffin III trying to create plays on his own.
"I think when we didn't execute, we're kind of our own worst enemy at times," Montgomery said. "When we're on it, we're on it; when we're not, we're not."
The Bengals also took advantage when Redskins starting left tackle Trent Williams went down with a knee injury early in the game. His replacement, veteran tackle Jordan Black, said Williams' injury shouldn't be blamed for breakdowns in the Redskins' offensive line, however.
"You can make excuses and say it's tough, but it's what I prepare for; it's what we prepare for," Black said. "And we need to get it done when it happens."
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said he was impressed with Griffin III's ability to bounce back from being on the receiving end of several hard hits.
Griffin III finished the game completing 21-of-34 passes for 221 yards and one touchdown, and had a game-high 85 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown.
"He made some big plays at the end that a lot of people can't make," Shanahan said. "To see his competitiveness and getting knocked down and getting back up and competing, that's what you want to see. That's what the great ones do.
"I was really proud of the way he handled himself."
In Monday morning locker room, left guard Kory Lichtensteiger said he looks forward to correcting Sunday's mistakes and improving protection against the Buccaneers.
"Every Monday, I come in here and kind of look at him out of the corner of my eye and make sure [Griffin III]'s alright," Lichtensteiger said. "He's a tough guys and he not going to complain about it, but you don't like seeing your quarterback get hit, especially when you have a guy carrying the load that he is.
"He looked good this morning, so if he's hurting, he fooled me."