Once again the Buccaneers defense looked pretty incredible. When they didn’t look impressive (like that last drive of the game) it wasn’t due to a lack of talent it was due to a lack of gas. By the end of the game, the offense’s utter inability to get anything going downfield had the defense running on fumes.
There were hiccups to be had, and this was the first game that saw the run defense savagely breakdown at times, but overall it’s hard to get on this defense for only allowing 24 points to one of the most explosive and dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL. Yes, RGIII statistically had his best game of his young career, but that’s only if you look at the box score.
And if you want to call upon the box score and say yes, Griffin had his best statisical game of the year then consider this: the Buccaneers almost beat RGIII at his best.
Sunday was the first time all season long that Griffin was held out of the endzone in terms of passing and it was just the second time he was held under 50 yards rushing. Griffin, who is known for his cannon of an arm, threw the most passes he has all year long but even with 35 attempts, he couldn’t find the endzone through the air.
There is really no excuse for the breakdown in the running game, but the defense was able to disrupt the Redskins offense early on and had the Buccaneers gotten something going offensively, it’s hard to believe that a regularly rested defense would have been able to harass RGIII better.
But when the Bucs got shots at RGIII, they took them. Mark Barron had two missile-like shots on RGIII, one that was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty. On the 15-yarder, the referees ruled that Barron didn’t have to drop Griffin the way that he did and called a pile driving penalty for the roughness. Many believed that the hit was clean, but Billy Cundiff’s missed field goal sort of helped heal wounds.
If there is a bright spot on this Bucs team it’s the defense. In three of the first four weeks the Buccaneers have held their opponents under 25 points and had they not allowed Eli Manning to blow them up in Week 2, Tampa would have one of the best points allowed defenses in the NFL.
There is obviously still a lot of growing to be done on defense, as the Bucs aren’t fully there as a unit. Penalties killed the Bucs on a few scoring drives and really didn’t help them get off the field — the main adversary to this unit. But if there’s a symbol of the growth this team needs to accomplish the defense epitomizes that.
And if there’s one thing that Tampa knows, it’s great defense.