Here are my observations after taking a second look at the game. Here is the second half, the first half review is here.
--Brandon Banks was on the field for two defensive snaps. Early in the third quarter he motioned into position behind Griffin and the quarterback faked a handoff to him. The fake drew even the offside defenders to the right, allowing Davis to get a little running room after Griffin threw him a pass on the left side. Davis ran right between blocks by Josh Morgan and Trent Williams and got 12 yards and a fist down. The fear of Banks’ speed set it up.
--The Redskins were on the move to put the game away until a first-down clipping call on Will Montgomery spiked the drive. It clearly was a clip and looks like Morris may have been trapped for a loss of seven yards or so had he not done it. After that, a pass intended for Hankerson was tipped away, an underneath pass to Hankerson picked up 10, and the Griffin ran well short of the first down.
--Richard Crawford made a nice, open-field tackle on Benn to prevent the Bucs from converting a third down. He got into the bigger receiver with this shoulder and stopped him a yard short of the sticks.
--Again, bad optics as Griffin yells at the defender who hit him late to draw a flag but the offensive line does nothing.
--Shanahan said that Garçon’s personal foul on Aquib Talib came prior to the whistle. That turned a third and four into a third and 19. On the original camera shot you can see it happen while Royster, who caught a short pass form Griffin, was fighting for an extra yard or two. It’s hard to tell if the whistle had blown. It was a good 8 or 10 yards away from the action, though, and Talib clearly wasn’t going to be involved in making the stop. That is going to get flagged most of the time.
--The play that got Freeman and the Bucs going, a 65-yard pass and run to Mike Williams, happened both because Wilson hesitated when Williams broke down the sideline and because Madieu Williams missed a tackle near midfield. There is no reason for Wilson to let Williams get past him there. A big play was the only thing that would get the Bucs back into the game and he got it.
--I’ll chalk up the seven-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson up to great athletic ability. Jackson gets paid a lot of money to make plays like that and, in this case, he did. Hall could have been a little closer to him and Williams could have anticipated that Jackson was going to get the ball and moved over there sooner but I’m not sure it would have done any good.
--The second time they use the quick pitch to Morris it picks up seven and a first down.
--One of Griffin’s few off-target passes of the season was a little behind Morgan and it almost got picked off. It was tipped in the air and linebacker Mason Foster was close to a diving interception.
--Banks’ speed set up the razzle dazzle as the Bucs defense was pulled over to the left with Griffin’s first lateral and Niles Paul had all kinds of room to run after he caught Griffin’s forward pass. Had Banks not actually run the ball a few times last week against the Bengals this and the previous play with him in on offense would not have been nearly as effective.
--Again, just a great athletic play by Jackson on Freeman’s deep pass to Jackson right after Cundiff’s 31-yard miss. And anything but a perfect pass is incomplete.
--We thought that the field would be an issue after a college game was played there Saturday night. It turned out not to be but Hankerson did slip on a cut during a route. If he keeps his feet, it’s likely a reception and a first down. Because he slipped, the pass was nearly intercepted. As it was, it became second and 10. A sack and an incompletion followed and the Redskins’ chance to respond to the Bucs’ second TD was gone.
--Maybe some day offenses won’t expect Ryan Kerrigan to get fooled on screen passes. But Sunday was not that day as he took away a scoring opportunity for the Bucs by sniffing out a screen and tackling D. J. Ware for a seven-yard loss on third and three at the Redskins’ 31. They were in Connor Barth’s field goal range before the play but they had to punt due to the loss.
--Not much to say about RG3’s scramble on third and 10 that came up short of the first down. He had no chance to extend the ball out to get it over the line to make as he was getting tackled. It was very clearly short and I have no idea why Shanahan decided to challenge.
--There’s not much more that can be said about the final drive except that there were two terrifying moments. The second was 0-3 Cundiff lining up for the game-winning field goal. The first came right before that after Griffin threw to Moss for seven yards. They rushed to line up as the clock ticked below 10 seconds. If anyone had committed a false start, the game is over after a 10-second runoff. Shanahan got the timeout before they got set, however, and Cundiff slipped the kick past the good side of the left upright.