|Redskins kicker Billy Cundiff makes the game-winning field goal against the Buccaneers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. (US Presswire)|
The Redskins (2-2) followed a similar blueprint that they used in the first three games: Move the ball offensively, allow big plays defensively. For the third straight game, the Redskins had the ball at the end with a chance to tie or take the lead. This time, thanks to Robert Griffin III's decision-making, they won 24-22 with a Billy Cundiff field goal. With 4-0 Atlanta up next, the Redskins couldn't afford a 1-3 start.
The Redskins gained 474 total yards and scored 24 points – with three missed field goals. They also rushed for 160 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry, with rookie RB Alfred Morris leading the way (113 yards, 21 carries). QB Robert Griffin III accounted for 323 yards passing, 43 rushing and one touchdown. The Redskins did an excellent job getting yards after the catch all day, a function of checkdowns and well-designed plays. But the Redskins need to do better than two of 11 on third downs.
Previous game's grade: B
The grade would be lower, but it's not like the Redskins played poorly the whole game. They allowed 373 total yards, with 119 coming on two pass plays. The Bucs had only 132 total yards at halftime. The Redskins consistently give up big plays – this time CBs DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson were the primary victims. But the pass rush failed to help as Bucs QB Josh Freeman was sacked only one time on 39 pass attempts. Brian Orakpo's absence was felt in the rush. The Redskins mixed their coverages to confuse Freeman; it seemed to work in the first half but not the second. Both big plays were surrendered in basic man coverage.
Previous game's grade: D-
Special teams: B-
Give Billy Cundiff credit for coming through in the clutch after a brutal day with three missed field goals. If you can't make long ones (he's missed 13 of his last 15 from beyond 50 yards) you'd better be automatic from inside this range. Instead, he missed from 41 and 31 in addition to the 57-yarder. But he made the 41-yarder with three seconds left for the win. P Sav Rocca was outstanding with good distance (46.7 yard average) and hangtime, helping the coverage. The return game was average.
Previous game's grade: B+
The Redskins prevented Griffin from taking another pounding by rarely calling his number. They still moved the ball on the ground, though they had a handful of negative runs. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan calls a good game when playing from ahead. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's group continues to allow big plays (20 pass plays of 20 or more yards this season and an NFL-high six of longer than 40 yards). Haslett mixed coverages, but the defense generated no pressure. The Redskins desperately needed this win with a tough upcoming schedule and displayed some toughness to achieve the win after blowing a lead. Of course, it helps to have Griffin.
Previous game's grade: C-