As the Redskins celebrated the big comeback win in team history, the Bucs lamented what could have been and what mark the game will leave going forward.
Tampa Bay led 24-0 in the second quarter, 24-7 at halftime and 30-24 after kicking a field goal with 2:24 left to play.
"This is one of those losses you get a permanent scar from," linebacker Lavonte David said.
The loss was the second-biggest collapse in Bucs history. In 1987 they blew a 25-point lead to the Cardinals, who were playing in St. Louis then.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy believes that it was only half of a collapse. He thinks rookie quarterback Jameis Winston and company got the job done.
"The offense won the game today," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "They played well enough to win the game. This one is on us (the defense). You see it more on the guys on defense's faces. … The offense gave us 30. We gave up 31."
There was a moment, though, when the Bucs offense could have put the game away. After Doug Martin bolted 49 yards down to the Redskins five-yard line, the Bucs had a chance to take a 10-point lead with less than four minutes to go. Martin tried to punch it in on first and second down but he just got to the one. On third and goal, Charles Sims, a capable back who is not the caliber of Martin, went into the game and lost two yards.
Martin was asked why he wasn’t in the game on third down and he perhaps showed a touch of frustration. "Maybe they thought I was tired,” he said. “I don't know."
Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith opted for the field goal and the six-point lead rather than gambling to clinch the game with a touchdown.
"It just seemed the way to do it was to go for (a six-) point lead," he said. "Take the field goal option out of it and make them have to go the distance for a touchdown."
It was a defensible move but it didn’t work out. Cousins and the Redskins went the distance for the winning touchdown and one of the best wins in recent team history.
But then there is the other side of the coin.
"It's probably one of the worst losses I've been a part of," David said.
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