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Post-game: Redskins beat Buccaneers, complete huge comeback

In a game where the Washington Redskins were down 24-0 late in the second quarter on the back of 197 yards of offense for Tampa Bay, you could have gotten any odds from Vegas bookmakers on a Redskins comeback victory.

And if you had, you would be quite wealthy right about now.

On the back of a fantastic second half from Kirk Cousins, the Redskins came from behind to eclipse the Buccaneers and steal victory in a 31-30 heart-stopper. Not only was it the Redskins biggest comeback in team history, it truly was a game of two halves, and it makes for a very intriguing edition of What worked, what didn’t, what sucked. 

What worked

  • Simply put, Kirk Cousins was poor for the first quarter and a half, but then excellent for the remainder of the game. It all started midway through the second quarter, when Cousins led a 7 play drive that resulted in a Read Option QB keeper to the left for a touchdown.
  • That rushing touchdown appeared to light a spark under Cousins because he was on fire for the rest of the game. He finished the day 33/40, 317 yards, 3 passing touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown, and 0 interceptions. Whilst Cousins did have a sack-fumble returned for a touchdown in the game, overall his ball security was good enough to keep the Redskins in the game.
  • On his way to leading the Redskins to a comeback victory, Cousins connected with Ryan Grant once and Jordan Reed twice for touchdowns, with all three of those touchdown passes coming on short throws within the redzone.
  • A huge part of the Redskins third quarter resurgence was due to the recovered Dustin Hopkins onside kick. Earlier this week Jay Gruden referred to Hopkins onside kicks as “magic balls”, and it is easy to see why. The kick was textbook perfection. On a day when Kai Forbath missed an extra point for his new team New Orleans Saints, Hopkins emergence is massive for Washington.
  • The aforementioned two touchdown receptions by Jordan Reed highlight how crucial he is to this Redskins offense, especially with DeSean Jackson still sidelined. Reed led the team in receptions and receiving yards today, hauling in 11 catches for 72 yards. Reed is a difference maker for this team.
  • A huge amount of credit for today’s win needs to go to the Redskins Offensive Line, who gave Cousins ample time to throw the ball almost all game. Allowing only one sack today, the Redskins Offensive Line has allowed for one sack or fewer in five consecutive games for the first time since 2006. Special mention needs to go to Morgan Moses and Brandon Scherff, who have been anchors on the right side of the line.
  • Although the stat line for Mike Evans looks bad (164 yards, 1 TD), Bashaud Breeland played him about as well as you can today. Breeland’s best play of the day, however, was a late-game touchdown saving tackle on Doug Martin, bringing him down 6 yards shy of the goal line. The Redskins defense held out and forced the Buccaneers to settle for a Field Goal. Although Breeland appears to have injured his hamstring on the long play, it was a heroic effort in a clutch situation.
  • In a game where there were 20 penalties, the Redskins only accounted for 4 of them. A solid and disciplined day for the Redskins.
  • After horrible third quarter malaise in the first 6 weeks of the season where the Redskins had been outscored 46 to 3, they came out with noticeable adjustments on offense today, as noted by Mark Bullock:
  • The Special Teams unit did a great job containing the Buccaneers on both kickoffs and punt returns. Cornerback Deshazor Everett had two tackles on punt returns himself, as the Redskins held the buccs to an average 6 yards on 3 punt returns.

What didn’t

  • The Redskins came very close to losing against a Tampa Bay team that was 2 and 3 heading into today’s game and looking poor. Rookie Quarterback Jameis Winston, Running Back Doug Martin, and Wide Receiver Mike Evans all made the Redskins defense look sub-par today as they each stormed to high numbers. Simply put, the Redskins defense wasn’t good enough today.
  • The most worrying part of the Redskins defense struggles today was allowing the Buccaneers to notch up 190 yards on the ground for an average of 6.33 yards per carry.
  • Whilst the late-game heroics are certainly worth applause, Cousins turnover on the sack-fumble in the second quarter that was returned for a touchdown was a case of poor pocket awareness.
  • Andre Roberts ended the day on 3 catches for 49 yards, but it could have and should have been more. He really needs to work on his drops. They are killers.
  • Preston Smith had a nice game today, which only further highlights the poor play of Trent Murphy, who continues to struggle to generate any sort of pass rush or pressure. There are persistant murmurings that the coaches are limiting Smith’s snaps due to “maturity” issues, but he offers much more than Murphy, and needs to see more game time than he does.

What sucked

  • Matt Jones and Alfred Morris combined for 35 yards rushing on 15 carries. 2.2YPC average. Some of the blame can go to the Offensive Line not creating enough gaps, but really at the end of the day it was simply a poor outing from both backs.
  • Injuries always suck, but Breeland going down with an apparent hamstring injury late in the game has the potential to really hurt the Redskins if it is indeed a tear. With both Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall still sidelined, if none of these three Cornerbacks are healthy for the Redskins against the New England Patriots in two weeks after the bye, it will get real ugly real fast.
  • Add Ryan Kerrigans name to the growing injured list too, suffering a broken bone in his right (dominant) hand. It is unknown at this time if he’ll miss games because of this injury, or if he can play in some kind of cast.

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