In Week 1 against a wounded Giants defense, Rex Grossman completed 21 of 34 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns. And he did so even though a couple of receivers dropped catchable passes and while under heavy pressure at times (he was sacked four times). Even the most optimistic Grossman supporters likely didn't think he'd play as well as he did.
Still, Grossman did have one unfortunate play: a crucial fumble early in the fourth quarter that led to a field goal attempt by the Giants. Fortunately, Brian Orakpo blocked the kick, and Grossman (aided by an Antrel Rolle unsportsmanlike conduct penalty) marched the offense down the field and put the game away with a four-yard touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney.
Grossman looked more than competent in the Redskins' first game, and he seemed more than comfortable in a familiar offense. But he was hardly the only unheralded quarterback to have a solid Week 1. Sure, top quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees had fantastic games, but that's expected. Grossman's strong start wasn't, and neither were great performances by:
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 17-25, 208 yards, 4 TD vs. Kansas City
Cam Newton: 24-37, 422 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT vs. Arizona
Chad Henne: 30-49, 416 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT vs. New England
The surprising thing about Fitzpatrick's game is the four touchdowns, but at least he had a decent 2010 season (meaning he'd put up OK numbers before). Henne did not; he threw more interceptions (19) than touchdown passes (15) last season. And Newton wasn't expected to put up those kinds of numbers in his NFL debut, regardless of which defense he was facing.
None of these quarterbacks will play this well all season. That's not exactly a strong statement to make, especially since only one game has been played. But that also doesn't mean that Grossman, or the other three quarterbacks, can't exceed expectations and have better seasons than others predicted. Maybe Fitzpatrick and Henne have improved. Maybe Newton is better than the experts thought. And maybe Grossman really is better in an offense he's been studying and practicing in for a few years now. Or maybe none of these things continues.
But here's what we know: The Redskins offense, led by Grossman, looked pretty good on Sunday. Grossman found open receivers all game long, many of them down the field. If the Redskins get more consistent offensive line play and receivers keep getting open, there's no reason to think that Grossman won't keep finding them. And there's also no reason to believe that he will all of a sudden stop turning the ball over at inopportune times. He can still be effective, just probably not that effective. He is, after all, Rex Grossman, and he'll need a few more games like Sunday's before fans stop saying that.