Redskins.com’s Brian Tinsman takes a closer look at Wednesday night’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedExField:
Preseason exhibition games are less to do with team outcome and more to do with individual performance. This fact may never be more apparent than in the fourth preseason game, where roster spots and livelihood were on the line.
Indeed, the fourth preseason game is some of the best football of the year from a purely competitive standpoint, and the Redskins did not disappoint in that regard tonight. The Buccaneers will be a much better team than they showed tonight, and the Redskins will find out first hand in four weeks in Tampa Bay. But for tonight, the Redskins should be thrilled with the quality depth they have throughout the roster.
The revealing moment of the game happened on the first play from scrimmage, where Redskins nose tackle
PLAY OF THE GAME
Late in the third quarter, the Redskins executed their best gadget play of the preseason, faking the handoff to his running back and then handing it off to playmaker
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Running back Roy Helu Jr. made his triumphant return to the gridiron today, showing burst and effort in the running and passing game, finishing with 124 total yards and a touchdown. He got off to a rough start, fumbling a pitch out of bounds, but this can be attributed to his unfamiliarity with quarterback
Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins continues to impress, validating the decision by the Redskins front office to select him in the fourth round of the draft. Without question, the Redskins front office made the right decision in taking two quarterbacks, as the Redskins now have two intriguing young options to groom under center.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
--Despite practicing only once with the Redskins field goal unit, newly-signed kicker
--Veteran defensive lineman
--The Redskins rushing attack looked healthy and productive tonight, with
-- Redskins receiver
--Redskins seventh-round rookies
--Redskins starting fullback
--Redskins receiver Brandon Banks recovered from a rough start by blazing past Buccaneers’ defenders on two downfield plays. The first was a 47-yard diving catch in the red zone, followed shortly by a 43-yard handoff that ended up in the red zone. Banks has not had a strong preseason offensively, but turned that around today in just two plays. Both plays set up Redskins touchdowns.
-- The Redskins defense utterly dominated the first half of the game, limiting the Bucs’ offense to 38 yards, collecting five sacks along the way. The Bucs did not score for the first 38 minutes of the game, as the Redskins held them to the lowest score by an opponent in the 2012 preseason.
--The Redskins have improved on penalties each week of the preseason, collecting just three flags today for a preseason-low 23 yards. In a game that featured Redskins without much playing experience, this was a surprisingly low number, and a good focus on fundamentals.
WHAT WENT WRONG
--Brandon Banks made the big plays on offense tonight, but also had a critical error with a fumble on a handoff situation in the fourth quarter. Banks had the gap large enough to pick up the first down, but did not secure the handoff from quarterback
The Redskins wrapped up the preseason tonight, with all games counting henceforth. The Redskins open up on the road in New Orleans in 10 days, before going on to St. Louis Week 2. The Redskins will not return to FedExField until Week 3, when they host the Cincinnati Bengals. The Redskins will see the Buccaneers again soon, traveling to Tampa Bay for Week 4 of the regular season.
The Redskins held the Buccaneers to -4 yards in the first quarter, which hasn’t been done by the Redskins in regular season action since before 1950. The closest that the Redskins have come to this is allowing 5 yards in a quarter to Tampa Bay in 2003.
This game didn’t carry nearly as much hoopla as Saturday’s showdown against the Colts, but it may have made and broken NFL careers. Most players in need of a dynamite performance turned one in tonight, and the Redskins turned in a fundamentally-sound, total-team win.
Between now and the final roster cuts on Friday, the Redskins’ coaching staff will have very difficult decisions to make. Shanahan made it a goal to add more depth to the roster this offseason, and the results were highlighted with a big win tonight.