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Aerial bombardment still a sticking point with Redskins’ secondary
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Question of the Day
TAMPA, Fla. — All smiles following a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team he coached for the previous three seasons, Washington Redskins defensive backs coach Raheem Morris marveled about Robert Griffin III’s ability on the game-winning drive.
“RG3 did some magical things,” he said. “That offense we got is pretty good.”
After battening down the Buccaneers‘ passing attack into the third quarter, the Redskins fell into the same troublesome pattern of allowing big plays that cost them a couple of games in recent weeks. That left defenders with a sour taste.
“We can’t win letting leads like that go. We’ve got to buckle down and finish games off,” cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. “That has to be our identity. We have to go out there and play for 60 minutes and keep hitting, keep hitting offenses in the mouth. We kind of let up a little bit, and we’ll keep working on that trying to get better.”
Hall termed the defensive performance “average,” but perhaps inconsistent would more apt. The Redskins held Tampa Bay to 132 yards and six points in the first half before allowing 241 yards in the second.
Over that time, a 21-6 lead turned into a 22-21 deficit, requiring Griffin and the offense to construct a last-ditch drive to set up Billy Cundiff’s redeeming field goal. Cundiff, who missed his first three attempts, said it should never have reached that point.
“We played well that first half. Those guys got going in the second half. I told these guys they were really good wideouts, Mike Williams, getting Vincent Jackson, [Tiquan] Underwood came in and did a nice job for them today,” Morris said. “They made a push at the end. But we were able to hang in there, hold them at the end there to a field goal.”
Salvaging a victory speaks to what coach Mike Shanahan called finding a way to win. Bending but not breaking in the final minutes contributed to that, but the second half should provide plenty of film which the Redskins can learn from.
What seemed to work in the first half hinged on good coverage and some excellent pressure from outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who had a sack and brought the heat on Freeman to help on Hall’s interception. With Brian Orakpo lost for the season and the defensive line not built to rush the quarterback, the onus is on Kerrigan to be a difference-maker, which he was Sunday.
“I knew our secondary was going to make the quarterback hold on to the ball long. So I just knew I had to keep rushing, keep fighting,” he said. “I knew if my initial move didn’t work, I had to go to my counter and keep rushing.”
“They were making plays. That’s all there really is to it. We still played, I thought, pretty solid throughout most of the game,” Kerrigan said. “They’re professionals; they’re going to make plays, too, and they got good skill players. We weren’t going to hold them down completely.”
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