Before Sunday, Ryan Grant had a difficult last couple of weeks.
First, there was his slip in Atlanta on Oct. 11, where the wide receiver's loss of footing was a big reason why the Redskins lost the game. Then, there was his quiet afternoon on Oct. 18 in New York, where the second-year pass catcher hauled in just two passes for 22 yards as he continued to have trouble filling in for the injured DeSean Jackson.
But against Tampa Bay, Grant was a difference maker on the outside. And he said the guy he's playing in place of was vital to his success.
"He tells me to stay in it," Grant said of Jackson, who was seen talking to #14 on the sidelines throughout the Redskins' 31-30 victory over the Bucs. "Being a wideout, it gets frustrating sometimes when you don't get the ball as much as you want it. But that's my big brother. He just tells me to stay in it and stay focused and it's gonna come my way, and today it actually did."
The highlight of Grant's day came in the third quarter, when Kirk Cousins found him in the back right corner of the end zone for his first career touchdown reception. The score cut Tampa's lead down to 24-14.
After completing the catch, Grant immediately popped up, tossed the ball to a nearby referee, and sprinted to the sideline. So what was the deal on that celebration? Wouldn't a receiver want a little more of the spotlight after such an important moment?
According to Grant, he kept things quiet because of where his team was in the matchup.
"If we were winning I probably would've done a little something," he said. "But we were down at the time, so I just wanted to get in and get out."
Grant's role in 2015 was supposed to be to provide depth at the position, and come in when the offense went with four and five-receiver sets. But that all changed when Jackson went down with a hamstring injury in Week 1. Since then, Grant's been seeing a ton of action, and the results have been up-and-down. His output versus the Buccaneers, though, was his best of the year (3 catches for 54 yards and the score), and he said a lot of people, including himself, have played a role in him staying focused.
"I'm even-keeled," Grant said. "I don't get too high or get too low. I'm just happy that Kirk, and Sean [McVay], and coach Jay, and [position coach] Ike Hilliard, I'm glad that they believe in me."
As for the pigskin that participated in Grant's milestone, the one that he flipped to the ref like it was his 50th TD instead of his first? It shouldn't surprise you that Grant didn't seem too worried about it. Fortunately, it does sound like he'll indeed get it back soon.
"One of the equipment guys have it. And if they paint it up real nice for me, man, I'll probably just send it home and have my dad put it in a case and put it on the wall."