Hi there, thanks for joining me for the one enjoyable quarter of this week's game review. As always the text in bold is the official play by play taken from the NFL Gamebook, and my commentary is added below most plays.
G.Gano kicks 66 yards from WAS 30 to TB 4. M.Spurlock pushed ob at TB 24 for 20 yards (P.Riley).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 15:00, (1st play from scrimmage 14:56)
1-10-TB 24 (14:56) L.Blount left guard to TB 30 for 6 yards (L.Fletcher, R.McIntosh).
Golston is carried inside by the LT which opens up the cutback lane on the counter action and lets the FB get a shot on Doughty. This could have been a bigger gain but Fletcher does a nice job of shaking off a block by the LG and repositioning himself to make the stop.
2-4-TB 30 (14:17) J.Freeman scrambles up the middle to TB 33 for 3 yards (K.Golston, L.Alexander).
Carriker drives through the RG’s outside shoulder and gets deep into the backfield before getting slowed by the RB. The lack of any sort of push from Golston and Maake (surprise!) gives Freeman all sorts of room to step up into, so even though he briefly slips and Carriker eventually breaks through the blocks this turns into a short scramble instead of a sack.
3-1-TB 33 (13:32) (Shotgun) J.Freeman pass incomplete deep right to K.Winslow (L.Fletcher) [B.Orakpo].
Four man front, with Holliday and Golston as the DTs. Holliday blows up the RG (rough start for that guy, huh?) and dives at Freeman’s feet, but Freeman is able to escape that and Orakpo’s edge pressure because Carter tried to redirect his rush to the inside. If he had just contained the pocket Freeman would have been sacked instead of just taking a hit after the throw. Excellent job by Fletcher of running with a very fast TE downfield.
4-1-TB 33 (13:22) R.Malone punts 59 yards to WAS 8, Center-A.Economos. B.Banks to WAS 16 for 8 yards (A.Hayward, A.Economos).
Two blocks in the back (by Westbrook and Blades) that were far more blatant than some of the blocks that have cancelled out long returns for Banks in the past.
Washington Redskins at 13:09
1-10-WAS 16 (13:09) PENALTY on WAS-W.Montgomery, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at WAS 16 - No Play.
1-15-WAS 11 (13:09) R.Torain left tackle pushed ob at TB 35 for 54 yards (E.Biggers).
Rabach gets driven back, but Trent opens a hole by driving the RDE to the outside. The playside OLB does us a favor by running past the gap, and Lichtensteiger gets a nice second level block on the MLB, and then goes to the ground and trips him up in such a way that also takes down a closing safety, thus springing the big run.
1-10-TB 35 (12:44) R.Torain up the middle to TB 34 for 1 yard (G.McCoy, S.Jones).
This has happened before and it makes me angry each time… both Lichtensteiger and Rabach make a slight chip on the DT then go to the second level while expecting the other to hold the block, so the guy comes clean up the middle. Another screw-up mean there’s no hope for escape: Trent ignores the other DT, but Cooley is accounting for the RDE (who stays in coverage due to LBs blitzing on the other side) so that’s a second DT closing on Torain in the backfield.
2-9-TB 34 (12:09) D.McNabb pass short middle to R.Torain to TB 27 for 7 yards (R.Miller, B.Ruud).
Torain has a lot of blockers in front of him on this screen, but none of them block particularly well and it’s Torain who turns this into a decent gain. Sellers is way downfield but can’t get a handle on the LB who is covering him. Neither Lichtensteiger nor Montgomery pick the LB up, and he then runs through a glancing blow from Rabach to nearly wrap up Torain.
3-2-TB 27 (11:34) D.McNabb pass short left to A.Armstrong to TB 20 for 7 yards (R.Barber).
Trent’s successful cut on the LDE opens a lane for the quick hook to Armstrong.
1-10-TB 20 (10:58) D.McNabb pass short right to M.Sellers to TB 17 for 3 yards (B.Ruud; Q.Black).
2-7-TB 17 (10:22) R.Torain left tackle to TB 16 for 1 yard (S.Jones).
Montgomery cannot control his DT and the hole is shut despite before Torain can take advantage of nice second level blocks by Lichtensteiger and Rabach.
3-6-TB 16 (9:46) D.McNabb pass incomplete short left to C.Cooley.
Good recognition by Keiland of the MLB blitz – he picks him up but McNabb feels more pressure than is really there and botches the open throw to Cooley in the flat.
4-6-TB 16 (9:41) G.Gano 34 yard field goal is No Good, Hit Left Upright, Center-N.Sundberg, Holder-H.Smith.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 9:38
1-10-TB 24 (9:38) J.Freeman pass short right to J.Gilmore pushed ob at TB 36 for 12 yards (D.Hall).
No pressure at all, and Alexander is looking into the backfield and is a bit slow following the TE into his cut.
1-10-TB 36 (9:07) L.Blount left tackle pushed ob at WAS 46 for 18 yards (K.Moore, L.Fletcher).
The TE kicks out Orakpo and Orakpo, as is becoming alarmingly routine, cannot shed him to save his life. Golston is driven to the inside to open a big hole, but Fletcher (temporarily) shuts it by destroying the pulling guard. All he needed was for Orakpo to eventually shed his block, or for Buchanon or Rocky to make solid tackles when they get a shot at the RB about 5 yards downfield. None of those things happen.
1-10-WAS 46 (8:30) L.Blount left guard to WAS 42 for 4 yards (K.Golston).
The RG goes to the ground while getting off the line, so he fails in his second level block on Fletcher.
2-6-WAS 42 (7:48) J.Freeman pass short left to E.Graham to WAS 37 for 5 yards (K.Moore, R.McIntosh).
The FB exploits Orakpo perfectly by giving him a bit of a chip but then letting him slip by while setting up for the screen. Fortunately the FB loses his vision and fails to notice that if he ran to the outside he had a wall of blockers, and instead he cuts inside to traffic.
3-1-WAS 37 (7:03) (Shotgun) J.Freeman pass incomplete short left to M.Williams (P.Buchanon).
The blitz leaves Buchanon in man coverage and with no help to the inside, so this is a very nice play by Buchanon to reach around the WR and knock away the slant.
4-1-WAS 37 (6:59) R.Malone punts 26 yards to WAS 11, Center-A.Economos, downed by TB-C.Lynch.
Washington Redskins at 6:48
1-10-WAS 11 (6:48) R.Torain right guard to WAS 23 for 12 yards (C.Lynch).
Some nice blocking by the Redskins, which is aided by confusion in the Bucs defense. I’m not sure, but I think the DTs were trying to stunt. Rabach and Lichtensteiger grab hold of the RDT and carry him to their left. The LDT helps out Montgomery by also moving to the left – possibly trying to stunt behind his colleague – and Montgomery easily seals him to that side. The LDE takes himself out of the play by running around Fred Davis’ pull block, so Jammal Brown is free to hustle downfield and take out the MLB. Finally, the WLB is neutralized by his own confusion on his coverage responsibilities. Cooley starts line up wide to the right, then motions to the inside of Armstrong who is originally in the slot. The LB jumps to the inside on the run action, then decides he should be covering Cooley as he releases to his outside route. He runs himself right out of the play.
1-10-WAS 23 (6:11) R.Torain left end to WAS 46 for 23 yards (S.White).
Trent blows his block on the RDT, fortunately Torain is able to beat the guy to the outside (helped by Montgomery holding the other DT a little). Cooley manhandles the SLB (who is on the line basically playing the RDE position as the Bucs have only 3 DLs) and carries him way to the outside while Lichtensteiger takes out the MLB. Good downfield block by Santana springs him for even more yards.
1-10-WAS 46 (5:27) R.Torain right end to TB 44 for 10 yards (E.Biggers, C.Lynch).
1-10-TB 44 (4:46) R.Torain right end to TB 43 for 1 yard (Q.Black, T.Crowder).
An attempted stretch to the right. Montgomery gets pushed back and then tripped up, and Rabach fails to pick up the MLB so Torain has no cutback option when the corner is denied to him.
2-9-TB 43 (4:02) D.McNabb pass incomplete short middle to C.Cooley (T.Crowder) [R.Barber].
This is becoming a recurring theme with James Davis. He recognizes the blitz, but then is unable to land a solid block.
3-9-TB 43 (3:56) (Shotgun) D.McNabb sacked at WAS 45 for -12 yards (Q.Black).
Armstrong and Banks are in twins left, and there are three defenders right on top of them: the RDE with his hand down but in an ultra-wide split, the SLB, and a CB. All three of them rush the passer. The RDE attacks to the outside to draw Trent. The SLB slams into Lichtensteiger. The CB (renowned blitzer Ronde Barber) tries to shoot through that B gap but Cooley, from a backfield position, picks him up perfectly. So the blitz was recognized and all rushers were accounted for – but remember the SLBs attack on Lichtensteiger, which was meant to be diversionary? Well he actually sends Lichtensteiger reeling and there’s no one else left to stop him.
4-21-WAS 45 (3:31) H.Smith punts 34 yards to TB 21, Center-N.Sundberg, fair catch by P.Parker.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 3:24
1-10-TB 21 (3:24) L.Blount left end to TB 24 for 3 yards (L.Fletcher, P.Buchanon).
2-7-TB 24 (2:49) J.Freeman pass incomplete short middle to S.Stroughter [B.Orakpo].
Orakpo creates the only pressure at all, as Bryant (in at NT) drops into coverage, Daniels (LDE) and Golston get double teamed, and the TE blocking Alexander trips, taking him down in the process. Fortunately the RB is busy keeping an eye on all these futile pass rush attempts and (somehow) fails to notice Orakpo abusing his LT on the edge.
3-7-TB 24 (2:41) (Shotgun) J.Freeman pass incomplete short right to M.Spurlock (D.Hall).
Two DLs (Holliday and Carter) with wide splits, with Chris Wilson standing over center. Rocky and Orakpo blitz off the edges, while Holliday beats the LG to rush the throw. Freeman sees the pressure coming and gets it out quick, but Hall sees he’s going to have to go hot and jumps the route, but drops the easy interception that he probably would have taken back for a touchdown.
4-7-TB 24 (2:37) R.Malone punts 38 yards to WAS 38, Center-A.Economos. B.Banks to WAS 41 for 3 yards (A.Economos, A.Benn).
Washington Redskins at 2:22
1-10-WAS 41 (2:22) R.Torain left tackle to TB 47 for 12 yards (S.Jones, E.Biggers).
A good, hard backfield cut allows Torain to escape the unaccounted-for backside pursuit and slip through the tiniest of holes.
1-10-TB 47 (1:49) R.Torain left end to TB 43 for 4 yards (A.Woods, R.Miller).
2-6-TB 43 (1:07) R.Torain up the middle to TB 40 for 3 yards (Q.Black, B.Ruud).
The Bucs get caught flowing to the Redskins right, so the line seals them there and Torain runs behind them through an alley opened by Fred Davis crossing the back of the formation and taking down the RDE – but Trent misses his second level block.
3-3-TB 40 (:27) D.McNabb pass short middle to S.Moss to TB 32 for 8 yards (E.Mack, R.Barber).
The interior line adjusts nicely to a trail blitz by Ronde Barber and the MLB.