That was a playoff atmosphere in Washington. This Redskins team played hard, got in their punches (including an extra one allowed by the refs) and the Bucs kept fighting back.
Yes, the red zone fumble is unacceptable but Freeman took this team on his shoulders in the second half. Their drives were stalling for a myriad of reasons in the first half and, with Torain running for the yardage he did, possessions were limited. Josh Freeman fought back. He had the longest completion of his career, 64 yards to Arrelious Benn, and burst threw two defenders for a crucial two point-conversion.
His touchdown was the difference. They paid him all the money because he is a good leader and a great blocker but when his receiving ability shows up, it is often huge. They’ve won three of the last four games in which he has scored a touchdown and he’s scored one in three of the last five games. He could very well end the year with more touchdowns and yards than the more hyped Tony Gonzalez.
The Resilience of the Defense
Simply put, Graham Gano did not lose this game for the Redskins. The Bucs defense won this game for the Bucs. Mike Shanahan didn’t have to keep sending Gano out for field goal attempts in the conditions and the Bucs defense made a huge 4th and goal stop that was called 3rd and goal at the end of the game. While Washington is still trying to find ways to bolster their defensive line around Brian Orakpo, the Bucs lost their best defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy, to injury. It didn’t matter. Remember, if the refs had not given the Redskins an extra down, the Redskins would have had five possessions in the red zone and just one TD.
The Lack of Tempo On Offense
I’m not mad at the turnovers on offense but, in these conditions, Washington still got takeaways despite the conservative Bucs offense. The Bucs can’t play games close to the vest or you’ll see more teams do what the Falcons did last week and get a big play late.
LOOKING AHEAD: I think, when healthy, the Packers are the best team in the NFC. They may be without their quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. They also had a puzzling 4th and 1 call, asking Flynn to make a deep throw over a defender despite having no 1st team snaps all week. The Packers loss opens the floodgates and if Minnesota beats the New York Giants, the Buccaneers are in a position for the 6th and final seed in the NFC. It’s the Lions at the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium and the Bucs will likely win that game, extending the Cinderella story another week.
(Chris writes for Buccaneers Gab)