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Washington Football Team Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Studs and Duds

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Oh what a feeling!!!

Waking up Monday morning after beating last year’s Super Bowl champions feels great!

It felt like things finally came together for this team in all three phases of the game - offense, defense and special teams, and for the first time all season, we played in, and won, with a complete team effort.

Let’s all try and enjoy this team win, and just take the rest of the season one game at a time.

Below are my Studs and Duds of the game - followed by some notes.


Studs:

Antonio Gibson - Gibson ran with determination and grit against what many consider to be the best defensive front seven in the NFL. What I loved about his performance, is that he seemed to get stronger as the game went on, busting some nice chunk-runs later in the game, and catching some key passes in big moments of the contest to move the chains.

He carried a whopping 24 times for 64 yards and two rushing touchdowns, while adding two receptions for 14 yards. His 2.7 yards per carry won’t wow anyone, but it was how and when he got those yards that mattered. Most impressive was his ball security and strong hands on his receptions.

Taylor Heinicke - Taylor may have played his best game as a member of the Washington Football Team. Now that we all know what he is, and there is really no pressure on the young man, it’s fun to watch him play loose and free - and when he does this, and plays within himself, he’s entertaining to watch, and the results are generally positive.

He was an efficient 26 of 32 for 256 yards with a beautifully thrown touchdown to Deandre Carter...and most importantly, NO TURNOVERS! He did get sacked five times, and some of those were on him for holding the football too long - but I’ll take that considering the alternative.

Deandre Carter - I said a few weeks ago, that I felt Deandre needed to see some more at wide receiver. In Sunday’s contest, he was second on the team with six targets, catching three of those for 56 yards and a touchdown. He also chipped in two kickoff returns for 47 yards, and added a punt return for 10 yards.

Kam Curl - Curl led Washington’s defense with 8 total tackles, and had a big hit that caused the ball to pop out of the receiver’s hands - which William Jackson III intercepted.

Joey Slye - Slye was perfect (yes, you read that right - PERFECT!), on the afternoon hitting all three of his field goals (with a long of 46), and both of his extra points.

Washington Offense - Yesterday’s game was the first time in FOUR YEARS that Washington has scored on all of its first four possessions in a game! And how about that final offensive drive of the game that went 19 plays, 80 yards and lasted 10:26 resulting in a touchdown to seal the win? Maybe the best drive I’ve seen in the last decade!!!

The Coaches - Most fans expect their team to come off a bye looking prepared, but lately, fans have been really down on this coaching staff, and I’m not sure many had a lot of confidence our staff would even put up a fight against the Bucs at home. Put put up a fight they did! Washington was well-coached, played disciplined, executed their assignments, and had a great game-plan Sunday while getting this crucial win.

Kudos to the staff on a well-coached game!

...Oh - and Scott Turner is underrated!


Duds:

Dax Milne - Milne caught both targets thrown his way for 22 yards, but his fumble, which was recovered by the Bucs in plus territory, allowed them to keep this one close until the end.

Tyler Larsen - I knew this team was going to miss Chase Roullier at center - and miss him we did Sunday against a stout Bucs interior.


Notes:

- Jonathan Allen was yet again a beast inside against the strong running game of Tampa. His stat line isn’t going to pop, but anyone who watched the game will know the impact he had in it. He recorded multiple pressures on Brady, and twice got two big hits on the future Hall of Famer both resulting in incompletions.

- Terry McLaurin remains the heart and soul of this team. On Sunday, he showed his toughness and determination, hauling in six receptions for 59 yards (both team highs), while dealing with a sore collar bone after taking a big shot by the Tampa defenders earlier in the game. Many of his catches, which came at big moments of the game, were of the contested variety in traffic.

- The bye week seemed to do rookie Jamin Davis well. He came out and looked fast, decisive and confident in his reads. He was strong against the run, and in position against the pass - making a few nice plays in the open field. This game may turn out to be a huge stepping stone for him.

- Despite giving up the long touchdown to Mike Evans in the fourth quarter, I though Kendall Fuller looked a lot better in both intermediate coverage and, especially, in his open-field tackling.

- William Jackson III finally looked healthy, and that health was reflected in his play Sunday. He covered and tackled well, and came up with a key interception early off the great play Curl made on his receiver. He did have a costly facemask penalty at the end of the half, but it was clearly not intentional. He was in coverage on Brate’s touchdown, but part of that was the linebacker (Mayo), getting sucked up in the play-action and not getting into his drop to help. Hopefully this is the turning point of the season for the talented corner.

- Landon Collins was playing a lot more as a true safety than a linebacker in this contest. I guess at this point it’s best we just label him a “football player”.