The Washington Redskins avoided a second-half meltdown to win their first game since the season opener as they escaped with a 24-22 road win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 30 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
Washington gave up an 18-point first half lead and allowed Tampa Bay to score 19 unanswered points before taking a late 22-21 lead with less than two minutes remaining the game.
But rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III quickly marched the Redskins down the field to set up a game-winning 42-yard field goal by veteran kicker Billy Cundiff, giving Washington the 24-22 win.
Most Outstanding Player of the Game:
RGIII put on another highly productive game, this time against Tampa Bay. The rookie QB completed 26 of 35 passes for 323 yards. He didn’t throw a touchdown, but he ran for two scores that led to Washington’s early 14-3 lead. Griffin, of course, also engineered the drive with less than two minutes on the clock that led to Cundiff’s clutch kick.
Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris was also outstanding, rushing for 113 yards and a 39-yard touchdown on 21 carries.
Unsung Hero of the Game:
Veteran kicker Billy Cundiff may not get as much love from the Skins fans as he deserves for nailing the 42-yard game-winning field goal. He missed three other kicks earlier in the game (some very short kicks at that), which made it harder for the Skins to keep Tampa from coming back to retake the lead. But Cundiff still deserves a little praise for bouncing back from those misses and making the one that really counted at the end of the game. Maybe Cundiff (formerly of the Baltimore Ravens) has finally redeemed himself as a clutch kicker after missing an easy field goal at the end of the 2012 AFC championship game that kept the Ravens from reaching the Super Bowl.
More Game Notes:
Washington’s defensive unit came close to beating out Cundiff for the title of Unsung Hero of the Game. The Skins’ defense is usually the unit that fans blame for the team’s misfortunes. Sometimes they deserve it. They’ve allowed every opponent this season to score at least 30 points. But not today. Washington’s defense held Tampa Bay to only 22 points and stopped them late in the game to keep give their offense a chance to finish off Tampa Bay for the win.
Washington allowed Tampa Bay’s offense to produce 373 yards on offense, 100 yards less than what Griffin and the Skins offense produced (474). Washington also won the time of possession battle at 32 minutes to 28 minutes for the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay fourth-year quarterback Josh Freeman, one of five African-American starting quarterbacks in the NFL along with Griffin, was productive, despite the loss. Freeman completed 24 of 39 passes for 299 yards and a touchdown.
Washington will next host the red-hot, currently undefeated Atlanta Falcons (4-0 overall record) on Oct. 7 at the FedEx Field in Landover, Md.