Washington Redskins versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quick Thoughts
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1. Offensively This Was the Washington Redskins Most Complete Performance:
-That might seem weird given that the Washington Redskins have put up more points and gained more yards in other games this season, but this was the most impressive offensive showing in my book. Robert Griffin III spread the ball out to nine different receivers as he went 26-35 for 323 yards. Unlike the Saints or Rams game where he got a high percentage of his yards on one throw, Robert Griffin didn't have a pass go longer than 30 yards, which shows great consistency. The Washington Redskins also threw more intermediate routes in this game, instead of relying so much on the screen passing game. The Redskins were also able to add 160 yards on the ground (thank you Alfred Morris) against a defense who had averaged under 50 yards per game rushing.
2. Robert Griffin Showed Great Poise on the Final Drive:
– Robert Griffin was 4-4 for 46 yards on the final drive, and added another 15 yards scrambling as well. Given how shaky kicker Billy Cundiff was yesterday, and how close the final kick was, the Washington Redskins needed every one of those yards. Griffin showed confidence throughout the drive and didn't waste too much time in between plays, which was also key in Washington winning yesterday's game.
3. Alfred Morris is for real:
-The Buccaneers rush defense has been exceptional this year, and were limiting backs to 2.7 yards per carry, Morris doubled that number at 5.4. He ran the ball 21 times for 113 yards and one touchdown. What was most impressive was the level of contract he was getting either behind the line of scrimmage or right at it, that he was able to barrel through and pick up significant gains. Had Morris not been so effective at picking up yards after contact, Tampa likely would have stopped the Washington Redskins running game, which could have decided the game. It was also good to see that for the most part they were base running plays and not gimmick or option plays. Robert Griffin gets the hype (and it's well deserved), but Morris has been extremely impressive this year.
4. Trent Williams Had a Big Game:
-Trent Williams couldn't practice all week, and looked to be gingerly walking in between plays, but he played a really good game throughout. He limited the amount of pressure on Robert Griffin, which allowed for those intermediate routes to be so successful. He also opened up some big running lanes on some key rushes by Alfred Morris. It's safe to say that it could have been a completely different offensive performance if he couldn't go today.Williams showed that even at less than 100%, the Washington Redskins need him on their offensive line.
5. It's time to find a kicker:
-Billy Cundiff missed his first three field goals (41, 57, 31) before hitting the game winner (which barely squeaked in), and probably should lose his job for that performance. There is no excuse to miss those kicks on a day with no rain or adverse wind conditions. Now I know 50+ yard field goals aren't a super high percentage across the league, but Cundiff doesn't even give you a chance to make those. That 57 yard kick is by no means a gimme (though Conner Barth had no trouble from 57), but it is sad to see it fall 5-6 yards short. Cundiff is now just one of his last 12 50+ yard kicks, and really limits an offense. His other two missed kicks were far worse misses, because they should have been easily made. Both were pretty well off, and shows why for much of his career Billy Cundiff was not considered a high percentage kicker. The Redskins were lucky to come away with a win with a kicking performance like that, and should look to cut ties with Cundiff this week. Graham Gano isn't the most consistent kicker in his own right, but a large number of his misses the last two years were due to blocks or poor snaps, neither of which were his fault. He is at least a viable stopgap option, though the Redskins should think about investing into a kicker next season.
6. Defense is still a major concern:
– In the first half the defense looked pretty solid. They allowed just 7 first downs and 6 points (on two very long field goals). They intercepted Josh Freeman once, and held Vincent Jackson in check for just 17 yards. Though overall it was good, there were some concerns. The Buccaneers were averaging over 5 yards a carry in the first half. Tampa also had a number of self inflicted wounds, a holding penalty that negated a run that put them on the Washington 20, sending them back to the Washington 49, and a number of really poor passes that didn't seem to be influenced by either pressure or good coverage, just Josh Freeman struggling. In the second half the Buccaneers opened up their passing attack and exploited the Redskins secondary. Freeman went 11-17 for 211 yards and a touchdown in the 2nd half. Though the secondary deserves most of the blame, the pass rush was pretty ineffective in the 2nd half, which allowed Freeman to connect on some deep throws that almost cost the Redskins the game.Given how much Freeman struggled coming into the game and the first half, that was a very disappointing effort defensively.