What had first looked like a blowout, became a scrappy fight to the finish between the Redskins and the Bucs. After leading 21-6 in the first half, the Redskins allowed Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers to come back and make it 22-21. With 1:47 left in the game, Robert Griffin III was able to drive downfield and put his team in position for a game-winning field goal.
It would've been a less tense moment for Redskins fans if Kicker Billy Cundiff had been on fire the whole game. Cundiff missed his first three field goals, and with this being his last chance to redeem himself and win the game, he had to make it or risk being driven out of town like he was in Baltimore. With only seconds left, Cundiff drilled the 41 yard field goal, thus propelling the Redskins to Victory.
In this slobber knocker of a game, there were five things that we can take away:
1. Billy Cundiff has been taking "clutch" lessons
Ever since the AFC Championship game last year when he was still a Raven, Cundiff has caught a bad rap for missing the short, game-tying field goal against the Patriots. He was later cut by Baltimore in favor of rookie Kicker Justin Tucker, and found his way to Washington a day later. Eyebrows were raised in D.C. when incumbent starter Graham Gano was cut in favor of Cundiff, especially after he had beaten out Neil Rackers for the job during training camp.
The reasoning was that Cundiff had the bigger leg and since he led the league in touchbacks last year, that he was a better option than Gano. The jury was out on Cundiff, and Redskins fans were skeptical, but after last night, I'm sure they feel a little bit better about Cundiff's ability in the clutch.
Although he had missed his prior three field goals, he made it when it truly mattered, and won the game for his team. I don't know if RG3 has rubbed off on him or what, but Cundiff remained cool in the clutch. Surely he is no Adam Vinatieri, but it looks like the Redskins may have made the right decision with cutting Gano in favor of Cundiff.
2. Alfred Morris is the real deal
Ever since he burst onto the NFL scene in week one, the rookie from FAU has trampled over opposing defenses and has run the ball quite effectively for the Redskins. After yesterday's game, Morris is now tied for the lead in rushing touchdowns scored this season with Arian Foster. That's pretty good company for a sixth round pick, whom many never even gave a chance to make the roster, much less be a starter.
Ever since Mike and Kyle Shanahan came to Washington and plugged in their zone-blocking scheme, they have been trying to find that running back who fits the mold they are looking for, and it sure looks like they got him. Morris has embraced the system extremely well and is putting up numbers because of it.
He is averaging 94 yards per game, 4.6 yards per carry, and has scored four touchdowns to boot. Morris is a powerful, one-cut back who is getting it done on the ground for the Redskins. Despite the handful of similarities, I'm not calling him Terrell Davis quite yet, but it's still early. It looks like the sky's the limit for this guy.
3. Robert Griffin III is one tough cookie
After being hit a total of 29 times in a week three loss to Cincinnati, many expected RG3 to be slowed down a bit. There were questions raised as to why Shanahan was putting his new toy in so much danger because of the triple option play.
After running the triple option 10 times last week, Shanahan did not call it once this week. The play calling instead played off the strengths of Griffin III as opposed to running him ragged. RG3 threw the ball when he should've thrown the ball, and ran the ball when he should've ran the ball. This was the kind of gameplan that is best suited for his skill set, and it was executed nicely.
Griffin III has made it clear that he is able to get knocked down and stand right back up again, no matter how big the hit, now matter how much he hurts, he will always stand up and dust off his shoulders. This guy is tougher than we all thought.
4. Mark Barron, the next Sean Taylor?
Hear me out, Sean Taylor is in my opinion one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game, and he is dearly missed by Redskins fans and NFL fans alike. That being said, the kid from Alabama has shown Taylor-esque ability so far this season.
Barron swarms the ball on each play, and always gets a piece of the action. He is a tackling machine; once you get hit by him, there's no way you're going forward anymore than you already have. He has displayed ball-hawking abilities and has defensed several passes so far this season. Although Barron is not as big as Taylor was, he plays much bigger than his 6'2" 213 pound frame.
Barron can play deep, or in the box. He has demonstrated that he can make an impact on any given play. Barron has all the qualities you want from a safety, and it's not hard to believe that this kid will be the next great safety in the NFL.
5. Greg Schiano only has one facial expression
Through 4 games this season, the Bucs have won once and lost the other three, but you could never tell from the look on Schiano's face. I don't know if he's just trying to not get too excited over anything or what, but it seems like Schiano always has the same look on his face. No matter if the Bucs score a touchdown or lose a fumble, Schiano's demeanor never changes.
It's the same look, with his lips slightly pursed and his eyebrow somewhat raised. There have been coaches in the past that have shown minimal emotion similar to Schiano such as Tom Landry and Tony Dungy. Now, I'm not saying Schiano is on the same coaching level as those guys, but in terms of almost blank facial expressions and not showing much emotion, he's right there with them!
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