LANDOVER — Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan broke his right hand in the first half of the Washington Redskins’ 31-30 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Kerrigan said the injury occurred when he awkwardly rolled on the hand upon diving in an attempt to take down Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston early in the game. He left the game after the final play of the first quarter, a seven-yard run by running back Charles Sims.
“It’s hurting pretty bad,” Kerrigan said. “It’d probably be hurting worse if we would have lost, so I’m feeling good now, feeling OK.”
Just how much the injury will hamper Kerrigan, who signed a five-year contract extension with the Redskins worth up to $57.5 million this summer, remains to be seen. Coach Jay Gruden said Kerrigan is scheduled to visit a specialist on Monday.
Rookie Preston Smith saw an increased workload as a result of the injury, but Kerrigan’s loss, for any period, could be damaging to the defense. A Pro Bowl selection the last two seasons, Kerrigan has 3.5 sacks and 15 tackles this year.
Secondary steps up late
The Redskins’ defensive backs have outperformed expectations since losing starters DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver to injury. It was a different story in the first half against the Buccaneers, as Winston managed to pick apart the secondary and threw for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
Washington adjusted to slow down Tampa Bay’s passing attack in the second half, and it was the secondary that made the two biggest plays in the game’s final minutes.
With 4:10 remaining, Buccaneers running back Doug Martin burst through the right side of the Redskins’ defense for 49 yards. He appeared to have a clear path down the sideline to the end zone when cornerback Bashaud Breeland tracked him down and wrestled him to the ground at the five-yard line.
Breeland injured a hamstring on what would prove to be a game-saving play. He did not return on the Buccaneers’ final possession and said after the game that the hamstring was sore, but he didn’t yet know the extent of the injury.
“It’s the play of the day,” Gruden said. “They score there, and the game’s over. That shows what kind of guy he is. I talk about Breeland being an ultimate competitor — if he takes that play off, for one instance, they go up by 10 and the game’s over, most likely. He hustled, got him down at the five, got a stop.”
Two plays later, on third-and-goal from the one-yard line, free safety Dashon Goldson met Sims in the Buccaneers’ backfield for a two-yard loss. Goldson said he had seen that play before.
“That was the same play I made against the New York Jets last week,” Goldson said. “I came free and made sure I put my face on the running back.”
The tackle by Goldson, who spent the last two seasons with the Buccaneers, forced Tampa Bay to kick a field goal. It also kept the Buccaneers within striking distance as the Redskins’ offense took the field down six points with 2:24 remaining.
“I practiced against those guys all the time,” Goldson said of facing his former teammates. “It was good to go live against them.”
Third downs prolong drives
The Redskins went 0-5 on third down in the first half, but turned it around with four consecutive conversions and finished 5-for-11.
One of those conversions was on a three-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to tight end Jordan Reed, who returned after missing Washington’s past two games as he recovered from a concussion.
“You can see what type of impact he has on our offense when we are rolling,” Gruden said. “Jordan had a big game, and a big-time impact on this game today.”
Reed’s second touchdown grab of the day, which proved to be the game winner, also was on third down.
“When we’re in a third down situation,” Reed said, “I’m usually one of the primary guys that we go to.”
Bostic inducted into ‘Ring of Fame’
Jeff Bostic, the center on the legendary Redskins offensive line known as “The Hogs,” was inducted into the team’s “Ring of Fame” at halftime. Bostic wore a proud expression as the highlights of his decorated career were played on the video boards.
“It’s good to see my old teammates,” Bostic said. “The older we get, the better we are. I also get to enjoy this with my three daughters and wife and a lot of family and friends in the stands.”
Before speaking about the honor, the three-time Super Bowl champion announced to the crowd that he was cancer-free after being diagnosed with prostate cancer last year.
Five injured players inactive
In addition to Culliver and Hall, the Redskins were without wide receiver DeSean Jackson, center Kory Lichtensteiger and running back Chris Thompson because of injury. Quarterback Robert Griffin III and defensive end Frank Kearse were healthy scratches.
With Thompson out, Matt Jones filled in as the Redskins’ third-down back. Jones, out last week because of a sprained toe, caught three passes for 22 yards.
Three inside linebackers — starters Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley and backup Mason Foster — missed a portion of the game with injuries. Robinson bruised his ribs and Riley battled an unspecified lower leg injury, while Foster strained a hamstring. Left tackle Trent Williams, out last week as he recovered from a concussion, sprained a finger, according to Gruden. … The Redskins have won three consecutive home games for the first time since a seven-game winning streak that ended the 2012 season. … In addition to being the first successful onside kick attempt in the NFL this season, Dustin Hopkins’ third-quarter attempt, recovered by strong safety Trenton Robinson, marked the first time Washington has recovered an onside kick since a Nov. 4, 2007 game against the New York Jets. … Gruden challenged what was ruled a 14-yard reception by Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson in the third quarter. The challenge, Gruden’s first since Week 14 last season, was successful as the ruling was overturned.