Fans around the D.C. area probably watched the Red Zone channel instead of the Redskins-Bucs game, and frankly, they were smart to do it.
The contest was ugly.
Midway through the third quarter the Washington offense had just 165 yards and was 1-7 on third downs. The Bucs moved the ball, a lot, but weird penalties, turnovers and a terrible kicker buried their scoring chances.
Still, a win is a win, and the Redskins are now 6-3 and are still in first place of the NFC East going into Week 11. The Redskins have a formula for wins, and while it isn't pretty, it's effective.
It was quite ugly - The Redskins offense has been a slog for weeks, and the Tampa game might have been the worst of it all. The team had to take a timeout on the third play of the second half. Think about that - the third play after halftime required a timeout. The third play. Out of halftime. How does that happen? Coming into the game, Tampa was giving up 34 points-per-game, last in the NFL. The Redskins scored just 16.
Good, bad and average - Let's start by saying Alex Smith does a very good job of protecting the football. On a scoring drive before halftime, Smith played it smart, didn't take any sacks and navigated the Redskins into field goal territory. He also made a great throw to Josh Doctson on the team's lone TD of the game. Smith doesn't make mistakes. But, and it's a big but, he also doesn't take chances. For the fourth time this season, Smith threw for less than 200 yards, and it was the fourth time in five games he finished below the Mendoza line.
Good Fitz, Bad Fitz - Ryan Fitzpatrick plays football the way a day trader hits the craps table. Every throw, every snap even, could result in something fantastic or something terrible. There is very little in between. Fitzpatrick piled up the yardage, 329 pass yards, but also had two interceptions and a bizarre penalty on an attempted lateral. He sealed the Redskins win with a late fumble down near the goal line. The Fitzpatrick experience is something everyone should go through, unless you're an NFL coach trying to hold onto a job. Here's the truth: Alex Smith and all of his caution will win wayyyyy more football games than Ryan Fitzpatrick and all his gunslinging. As Charley Casserly described Fitzpatrick, he's Brett Favre without Brett Favre's arm.
Bending not breaking - The Redskins defense deserves credit too. The unit held an explosive Tampa offense to just three meager points, and while the Bucs piled up the yardage, the team forced four turnovers and kept the Burgundy and Gold in control for much of the game. Josh Norman made a very impressive, athletic interception to start the game. Rookie Greg Stroman grabbed the first INT of his career, and second-year pro Ryan Anderson made a big play, punching the ball out of Bucs RB Jacquizz Rodgers' hands in the fourth quarter. Matt Ioannidis had a sack too, pushing his team-leading total to 7.5 on the year.
Bad kicker - The Tampa kicking situation is quite bad. Chandler Catanzaro missed two field goals, and missed them bad. On one of them, he even missed the net that hangs up behind the goal posts, and it was on a short kick. That just doesn't happen. Throughout the contest, the Bucs helped the Redskins win, and outside of Fitzpatrick's arm, Catanzaro's leg might have been the biggest booster for the visitors.
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