WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 30-3 LOSS AT WASHINGTON?
The Buccaneers and Redskins rested their starters in the preseason finale for both teams, although Tampa Bay’s starters participated in a full practice at Georgetown University to make up for a lost practice on Monday due to Hurricane Isaac. The Bucs starters worked on their preparation for the Carolina Panthers, while Tampa Bay’s backups were dominated by Washington’s reserves, led by quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Roy Helu.
Cousins, a rookie who was drafted in 2012 despite the fact that the Redskins used their first-rounder on Robert Griffin III, completed 15-of-27 passes for 222 yards and one interception. Helu led a powerful Redskins rushing attack with 90 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries and added 34 yards on two catches. Evan Royster contributed 44 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, while Dorson Boyce had 44 yards on 10 carries in the fourth quarter.
Redskins Brandon Banks contributed two big plays in a 43-yard end around and a 47-yard catch, in addition to a 22-yard punt return to gash Tampa Bay’s defense and special teams.
Outside of wide receiver Tiquan Underwood, who had the best game for the Buccaneers with 82 yards on six catches, Tampa Bay didn’t make many big plays in Washington, especially on the ground. Mossis Madu led the Bucs with 23 yards on 11 carries, while rookie Michael Smith had four yards on four carries and Robert Hughes had four yards on two carries. The Bucs totaled 31 yards rushing on 17 carries (1.8 avg.), which paled in comparison to the Redskins, who rushed for 228 yards on 41 carries (5.6 avg.).
Third-string quarterback Brett Ratliff played the entire game for the Buccaneers and was sacked five times in the first half and threw a total of three interceptions. After the Bucs gained just 38 yards in the first half as Tampa Bay trailed 16-0 at the half, Ratliff stepped up a bit in the second half and led the Bucs to a field goal and finished 14-of-30 for 164 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.
Washington out-gained Tampa Bay 459-160 yards on offense.
HOW THE TEAM’S SCORED – BUCS vs. REDSKINS SCORING SERIES
First Quarter – Redskins 3, Bucs 0
After Washington started at its own 49, Cousins completed a 15-yard pass to Anthony Armstrong on third-and-2 to push the ball down to the Tampa Bay 28. Four plays later, the drive stalled and Billy Cundiff kicked a 39-yard field goal to give Washington a 3-0 lead.First Quarter – Redskins 6, Bucs 0
After a 22-yard punt return by Brandon Banks, Counsins kept the drive alive again on third down by scrambling for a gain of 11 down to the Tampa Bay 10 when the team needed eight yards. The Bucs defense stiffened and four plays later on fourth-and-goal from the 9, Cundiff drilled a 27-yard field goal to push Washington’s lead to 6-0.Second Quarter – Redskins 13, Bucs 0
Cousins launched a 46-yard pass to Armstrong, who was covered by Myron Lewis, down to the Tampa Bay 14. After a 13-yard run on second-and-10 from the Bucs’ 14-yard line, Royster finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown. The Redskins increased their lead to 13-0.Second Quarter – Redskins 16, Bucs 0
The Redskins drove 50 yards in seven plays led by running back Ray Helu, who had a pair of 17-yard catches to push the ball down to the Tampa Bay 14. A 10-yard pass interference penalty on Lewis set the Redskins up at the Bucs’ 4-yard line with six seconds left. On the final play of the half, the Redskins had to settle for a 22-yard Cundiff field goal just before halftime.Third Quarter – Redskins 23, Bucs 0
Buccaneers safety Sean Baker intercepted Cousins, but Tampa Bay gave the ball right back with an interception at the Washington 25. After runs of eight and 10 yards out to the Washington 38, Cousins launched a deep 47-yard pass to Banks down to the Tampa Bay 15. On the next play, Helu rushed around left end for a 15-yard touchdown. That gave the Redskins a 23-0 lead in the third quarter.Third Quarter – Redskins 23, Bucs 3
Ratliff completed a 15-yard pass to Robert Hughes to give the Bucs a first down out to the Tampa Bay 35. Tiquan Underwood came up with two big catches – an 11-yarder on third-and-8 at the Tampa Bay 48 and a 20-yard catch down to the Washington 20. But three straight incompletions by Ratliff resulted in Tampa Bay settling for a 43-yard field goal from Kai Forbath.Third Quarter – Redskins 30, Bucs 3
On second-and-10 from the Washington 26, Banks took an end around 43 yards down to the Tampa Bay 31-yard line. Helu ran around right end for 10 yards down to the 21. Helu finished the drive off with two 6-yard runs, including one for a touchdown to give Washington a 30-3 lead.WHO WAS THE BUCS’ MVP?
Two players really stood out for the Bucs in Washington. Reserve Bucs safety Sean Baker made his case for making the roster as a backup safety by recording six tackles, two interceptions, two pass breakups and one fumble recovery. Baker outplayed backup safeties Cody Grimm (four tackles) and Larry Asante. Rookie safety Keith Tandy led the Bucs with nine tackles, but did have a couple of busts in coverage.
Wide receiver Tiquan Underwood solidified his roster spot in Tampa Bay with a big night in the nation’s capital. He led the Bucs with a game-high six catches for 82 yards, including a 20-yarder and a 23-yard reception. His only fault in the game was not fighting hard enough to break up a third quarter interception downfield, but made up for that by tracking down an interception return and making a touchdown-saving tackle in the fourth quarter.
Underwood finished the preseason leading the Buccaneers with nine catches for 158 yards (17.5 avg.) and showcased his speed and ability to separate in the preseason opener at Miami with three catches for 76 yards and on Wednesday night at Washington. WHO REPLACES DAVIN JOSEPH?
The Buccaneers are searching for a replacement for right guard Davin Joseph, who is out for the year with a knee injury last week against New England. Journeyman Jamon Meredith started at right guard, but got overwhelmed by Washington’s reserve defensive linemen and gave up a sack in the first quarter and was also whistled for two false starts.
Ted Larsen, who started at center in Washington, is slated to get the first crack at the starting right guard job, but also gave up a first quarter sack. Derek Hardman, who is also in the mix to replace Joseph after doing so in 2010, started at left guard and was pushed around quite a bit.
In addition to surrendering four sacks, the Buccaneers offensive line couldn’t get anything going in the running game as the team rushed for only 31 yards on 17 carries. None of the candidates to replace Joseph starred in Washington. In fact, all three primary options played poorly.WHICH BUCCANEERS DIDN’T PLAY AND WHO GOT HURT?
The Buccaneers starters and many second-string players on offense and defense did not play in the preseason finale at Washington. Even kicker Connor Barth and punter Michael Koenen didn’t play, leaving Kai Forbath as the team’s kicker and punter on Wednesday night. Long snapper Andrew Economos didn’t even play in Washington as backup tight end Zach Pianalto handled those duties.
Rookie guard Desmond Wynn was shaken up at the end of the third quarter and left the game holding his right arm.WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?
Bucs head coach Greg Schiano will likely put more stock in what happened on Wednesday’s practice at Georgetown University with the Bucs starters and the backups than he did with the team’s third-string players. But the fact that the candidates to replace right guard Davin Joseph didn’t fare well at all has to concern Schiano.
In fact, the Buccaneers’ offensive and defensive linemen were overwhelmed by the Redskins reserves at the same positions. Tampa Bay’s offensive line surrendered five sacks and couldn’t open up any holes for the Bucs running backs. The defensive line couldn’t generate any pass rush at all and was disappointing in Washington. The Bucs have some very good starters, as the Patriots found out last week in the 30-28 win over New England, but depth is lacking in Tampa Bay.WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?
Tampa Bay finished the preseason with a 2-2 record and will host the Carolina Panthers in the 2012 regular season opener on September 9 at 4:15 p.m.
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.