Bashaud Breeland's fourth-quarter tackle of Doug Martin before the Tampa Bay running back could get into the end zone was massive. So too was Jordan Reed's touchdown catch with 24 seconds left to go in the game.
But momentum really started to shift in Washington's favor when Dustin Hopkins executed a surprise onsides-kick to quickly give his team the ball back after they had just cut their deficit to 24-14 in the third stanza. The offense then marched down the field again and immediately scored to get within three points.
After the win, the kicker talked about how important it was for him to keep his composure during the incredibly important turning point.
"I was definitely, before that, trying not to get wrapped up in the moment," he said. "And make sure I didn't overkick the ball."
The man who Jay Gruden has referred to as "magic" says that he practices those types kicks a lot, but he isn't quite ready to give himself the praise that Washington's head coach has been heaping on him recently. He did admit, however, that the Redskins noticed something about the Buccaneers' return team that made them think that particular play could work against them.
"When another team allows you to have that opportunity — you see something in the game plan that opens up — then you work on the kick to try and make it work," he said.
Gruden expanded on that idea in his press conference.
"We worked on it all during practice and we saw the look a couple times," he said. "We kicked off before that [and] we liked the opportunity to take a shot with it. It was a great kick, great kick by [Hopkins] and a big play, big play in the game."
Hopkins' job wasn't done after the gusty call, though. After Reed caught the game-tying pass late in the fourth, he had to come on amidst FedEx Field's hysteria and knock in an extra point to put Washington up 31-30. For him, he made sure to keep everything as routine as he could.
"I'm not trying to think about where we are in the game or anything like that," he said. "I'm just trying to treat it like another extra point and go through my mental cues…To be a part of [the comeback] with a couple of kicks was huge."
Since arriving in D.C. after Week 1, Hopkins has been money. He's missed just one field goal on 12 attempts and is perfect on PAT's. Being a kicker in the NFL this year has been tough, but for Hopkins, he's made it look quite easy. And on Sunday, he changed the entire complexion of the matchup with a simple flick of his right foot. Not bad for a guy who was taking part in only his sixth career game.