I am going to be up front here and say that I think the Redskins lost this game more than we won it. But we still played a good game. I am not trying to take anything away from what our team did but I in no way think we could have performed this well against a good team. We played well against a bad team.
DE Jacquies Smith (#56) played exceptionally well. It is hard to measure his performance against the Redskins offensive line as they have their own problems there, but he has been consistently good over the past few weeks and really shined in this game. He flat out beats T Tom Compton (#68) for an awesome sack in the 2nd quarter, hustled 15 yards down field to get in on a tackle causing a fumble in the 2nd quarter, beats his man for another sack in the 3rd, and got another gimme sack in the 4th. He was a thorn in the side of the Redskins protection all day. He definitely gets the defensive game ball.
DT Clinton McDonald (#98), who I think has not been getting enough praise for his performances all year, did very well too. He had a good sack at the start of the 2nd quarter where he just bulldogged his blocker and pushed him back to get at the quarterback. He did the same thing last week for a great sack too. This man is by far the strongest defensive lineman we have. He was double teamed an astounding 48% of the time in this game so the Redskins tried their best to keep him in check. He had a couple of good throws of his blockers that makes me wonder if he practices judo. One throw late in the 4th quarter was a perfect execution of a judo hip throw. Not only did he toss his blocker on that play but he ran down field ten yards and makes the tackle. That is the kind of hustle we want to see with this ball club.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the first play of the game by the Redskins. They threw a pass that was bobbled and intercepted by LB Danny Lansanah (#51). While the interception was great and really set the tone of the game for the Buccaneers, it was the play by LB Lavonte David (#54) that I want to bring to attention. It was pretty funny.
David is the best player on the Buccaneers in my humble opinion but on this play I think he forgot that he was not playing two hand touch football. Firstly, he comes around the right end on a blitz and has a direct shot on the quarterback. QB Robert Griffin III (#10) is in the midst of a quarterback option which David thinks is a hand-off to the running back so he goes after the running back. Griffin in the meantime has pulled the ball back and is standing in the pocket. When David realizes that the running back does not have the ball he turns back to Griffin and, again, has a straight shot to clobber him. Griffin, for some weird reason, just stands there while David bears down on him. He kind of does a half attempt at a pump fake and then turns his back to David, obviously expecting to get hit pretty hard. David has other thoughts. It appears that David thinks that Griffin has thrown the ball so he runs up to Griffin and touches him with two hands like you would while playing two hand touch football. David then turns around to see down field. Griffin, realizing that David was not going to tackle him decides to jump around like a spring for a bit before and during his pass that gets intercepted. I bring this play up simply because I found it amusing. It makes me wonder how much the whole “don’t touch the quarterback” mentality of the league caused David to be so gentle.
On offense, I am giving credit to the offensive line, WR Mike Evans (#13), and QB Josh McCown (#12). Evans had a monster game and Josh made good decisions. McCown played very well by having no bad decisions and throwing some great and on-target passes. Not once did Evans have to do much to catch his passes. They dropped right into his hands. But even as good as Evans and McCown played, neither one could have been done without the blocking of the offensive line. McCown had a time to throw average of 2.76 seconds, which is a long time. The Redskins blitzed 26% of the time and 44% of the pass plays. Yet McCown had plenty of time and was only pressured 7 times that I counted. He had 4 bad passes which included two passes thrown under pressure and two thrown as jump balls that landed out of bounds. The jump balls out of bounds is a tactic that our offense is using so to call them bad passes is really being unfair. The receivers only dropped 2 balls.
At the beginning of the article I talked about how I think the Redskins lost more than we won and I will explain why I think that. The Redskins had the opportunity to score 20 points but failed. They did not fail due to anything that we did. Two missed field goals and two incomplete passes that were sure touchdowns. If nothing else, they should have tied the game. They beat us in almost every category that matters. They beat us in time of possession by almost 10 minutes which is a huge amount in the NFL. Their running game destroyed us getting 5 yards per carry average while we were getting less than half of that. They had 20 first downs to our 12. They had 9 penalties for 67 yards to our 11 for 101. While we held the lead the whole game, for the first time this season, it is not like we were kicking their butts all up and down the field.
We got lucky with the ball bounces too. While we fumbled one on a punt that they recovered, it ended up not hurting us that much because they missed the field goal attempt. In the first quarter, when the game was still up in the air, we got extremely lucky when Trent Murphy blew past G Patrick Omameh (#66) and RB Bobby Rainey (#43) to strip-sack McCown. Luckily we recovered the ball and kicked a field goal on the very next play. We dodged a bullet there and as a result got 3 points. So with the missed field goal on their part after a recovered fumble and the missed recovery of a fumble which allowed us to score a field goal, that is a six point swing in fumbles in benefit to us.
Yes, we had 6 sacks. Yes, we had a receiver with 207 yards. But is that because the Redskins offensive line is not that great and they failed in coverage? I would have to say yes. Evans, while he did have some good catches, was the beneficiary of bad coverage and mistakes in the Redskins secondary as well as slack officiating. There was one touchdown that he had in the 4th quarter that Evans got by pushing off of the linebacker to get separation and a 51-yard reception in the 2nd quarter where he pushes off of CB Tracy Porter (#22). Both should have been penalties on Evans but were not called.
Our running game is an item of concern. Our running backs seem to lack vision and shiftiness. They rely too much on the offensive line to give them holes than they do anything else. Not once in this game did I see a running back get yards after contact. If they got hit they went down. And all of their yardage was due to the offensive line opening holes for them. Once they encountered a tackler they went down. RB Charles Sims (#34) has not been impressive at all. He looks like Doug Martin lite. I would like to see more shiftiness and vision. It would be nice to see a running back either run over a tackler or evade one.
Omameh has got to step up his game. He gets thrown around too much each game. I noticed in this game that they would leave a running back or sometimes the fullback in to help right behind Omameh. He is the weakest link on our offensive line, but not the only one. They played well against the Redskins but the Redskins are not exactly known for their pass rush. If they can do this against the Lions then I will be impressed. Unless Omameh gets a lot better very quick then I think Detroit’s front four are going to eat McCown for lunch. I think our offensive line might be good against less than mediocre teams but they are going to get destroyed by the good ones. T Anthony Collins (#73) made some costly errors during this game but most of the mistakes were on Omameh.
So, the bottom line is that we played well against a bad team. Their offensive line was worse than our defensive line. Their quarterback was worse than our quarterback. Their secondary was worse than our secondary. Our defense as a whole made very few mistakes but we capitalized on their mistakes. Their offense ran all over top of us and could have scorched our secondary for a couple of touchdowns but luckily for us they failed. Our offensive line played well against a lower than average pass rush but still made some huge mistakes. Our running game was pretty much non-existent. We played a little better than average all the way around and the Redskins played worse than average all the way around. We beat a bad team. Play like this against a good team like Detroit coming up and then I will be impressed.
Double teamed stats: Gholston (#92) 30%, McCoy (#93) 31%, McDonald (#98) 48%, Johnson (#90) 11%, English (#57) 16%, Smith (#56) 7%, Spence (#97) 22%.
Time to throw: McCown 2.76 seconds, Griffin 2.71 seconds.
Buccaneers blitzed 6 times or 9% of the time. Redskins blitzed 12 times or 26% of the time. Buccaneers ran 10 stunts for 14% of the time. Redskins ran 5 stunts. That was 11% of their defensive plays. The Buccaneers only ran 2 plays considered tricky (one running back screen pass and one play action bootleg–both in the 4th quarter). The Redskins ran 15 tricky plays for a total of 22% of the time. I counted 10 missed tackles by the Bucs on 4 plays. The Bucs average starting field position was on the 33 yard line. The Redskins average starting field position was on the 23. The Bucs had 8 possessions while the Redskins had 11. The Bucs kicked off to the Redskins to start the game.