Tampa Bay put up more than 500 yards of total offense and scored just 3 points.
Part of the reason was two missed field goals — one each in the first & third quarters — by the Tampa Bay kicker, Catanzaro, but the biggest reason was great individual plays by a number of Redskins defensive players through out the game.
Josh Norman INT
1st Quarter 10:44
On the game’s first drive, the Bucs had driven 60 yards and were in the Redskins’ red zone. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a pass to the the goal line that was intercepted by Josh Norman and returned over 30 yards, setting the tone of the ballgame.
Tampa Bay self-destruction
This was a game where Tampa Bay repeatedly drove the ball downfield — they marched inside the Redskins’ 25 yard line five times — then either self destructed via penalty or missed play, or turned the ball over due to hustle and smart play by the Redskins defense.
In addition to Catanzaro’s two missed field goals, Mike Evans dropped a touchdown pass with 3:39 left in the 4th quarter that could have kept his team alive. Instead, Ryan Fitzpatrick lost a forced fumble on the very next play to kill any chance that the Bucs still had.
Preston Smith & Ryan Kerrigan
4th quarter 03:36
That lost fumble on Tampa Bay’s last meaningful drive occurred on a sack by Preston Smith, in which Ryan Kerrigan reached in to force a fumble, and then fell on top of the loose ball. From there, the Redskins mostly just handed the ball off to Adrian Peterson and ground out enough first downs to simply kill the remaining clock and ice the game.
Ryan Anderson & HaHa Clinton-Dix
4th quarter 10:56
The Kerrigan forced fumble was the second of the game. Probably the single most important play of the game by a Redskin was made by Ryan Anderson on a check down pass to Jaquizz Rodgers. Chris Spielman, analyzing the game from the booth, did a great job of highlighting what made Anderson’s play so impressive.
No. 52 was rushing from his LOLB position with Tampa Bay threatening inside the Redskins red zone again, and seeing the checkdown pass, turned and chased the ball. He came up behind running back Rodgers, punched the ball out with his right hand and still wrapped up the runner for the tackle. The ball flew a long way, rolling into the Redskins’ end zone where it was covered up by Clinton-Dix for a touchback.
Greg Stroman INT
4th Quarter 14:07
Tampa Bay suffered THREE turnovers in the 4th quarter. Before the two fumbles, rookie CB Greg Stroman stopped the Buccaneers’ first drive of the quarter by intercepting a pass intended for tight end O.J. Howard. The rookie was in the game because Quinton Dunbar was out injured, and Tampa Bay spent much of the first quarter abusing Danny Johnson in coverage.
Stroman’s interception led to a Dustin Hopkins field goal, the final score of the game by either team, to put the Redskins up by 13, forcing Tampa Bay to have to score two touchdowns to get back into the game. That pressure to score resulted in the late turnovers and the dominant win by the Redskins.
The Redskins kicking game - Tress Way & Dustin Hopkins
Tress Way continued his fantastic play this season by again pinning Tampa Bay inside their own 20 FOUR TIMES without once causing a touchback. The only punt that didn’t end up inside the 20 was caught for a fair catch at the Tampa Bay 22. It was, ironically enough, Way’s incredible punting that allowed Tampa Bay to accumulate over 500 yards of offense, because they started every drive with a long field.
One punt in particular was very impressive by Way, as it hit near the 5 yard line, and — without any gunners from the coverage team nearby — the ball simply died and rolled to a stop at the 4 yard line.
Dustin Hopkins was perfect on three field goals, hitting from 43, 33, and 26 yards, as well as adding the PAT on the Redskins’ sole touchdown of the game, a 4th quarter catch by Doctson to finish an 8-play, 47 yard drive that began in the third quarter after the Bucs kicker missed his second attempt.
In a 16-3 win, the kicking game played a huge role.
The Redskins are all alone in first place in the NFC East, with the 2nd & 3rd place teams (Philly & Dallas) playing each other in the Sunday Night Football game. This is the first time the Redskins have been 6-3 since 2008.
The Redskins haven’t been winning on any ‘normal’ or ‘typical’ script this season, but they have been winning.
Defense. Run Game. Positive turnover differential. Great punting. Reliable kicking.