By Kyra Hallett
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played another close game, but could not pull out a victory, losing to the Washington Redskins 24-22. The Bucs actually played well in the second half, but Redskins kicker Billy Cundiff kicked a 41-yard field with :03 remaining in the game to win it for Washington.
The Bucs' offense did not show up until the second half. In the first half, they could not make pass completions and had to rely on their kicker to get them on the board. It was the first time this season the Bucs did not score on their opening drive.
After the halftime, the team played with urgency. The running backs plowed through players with Doug Martin getting most of the yards at 33. LeGarrette Blount and D.J. Ware ran for 17 yards a piece with Blount getting a touchdown, his first this year.
The wide receivers woke-up with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams recording over 100 yards each. That was the first time since 1992 that the Bucs had two receivers get over 100 yards. Both also had their biggest plays of the seasons. Jackson had a 54-yard reception and Williams had a 65-yarder, a career long for him. Jackson also caught a seven-yard pass for a touchdown. One of the new additions, Tiquan Underwood, received the ball three times for 39 yards.
Once again tight end Dallas Clark was not big on the radar. He only got the ball three times for 15 yards. He has not been that threat that the Bucs were hoping for the first half of the season. Grade: B
Quarterback Josh Freeman:
Josh Freeman threw for almost 300 yards for the first time this season. He was 24-of-39 for 299 yards, one touchdown, one interception and one sack. He looked like a completely different quarterback the second half, when he was allowed to throw more often. It seems like the coaching staff is pushing to establish the run game, but when this doesn't succeed and they give Freeman more opportunities to throw the ball, he turns it on and makes big plays.
Freeman rushed twice for eight yards and his longest run was for five yards. Grade B-
The special teams bounced back from last week's B+ and jumped to an A+.
Kicker Connor Barth extended his consecutive field goal streak to 25 in a row. Barth made field goals of 50, 57, and 47 yards. The 57-yarder was Barth's career best and second longest in Bucs' history.
Punter Michael Koenen also had a great day. He punted a season-long 65-yarder.
Also, new punt returner Roscoe Parrish had a good game. He did not drop a single ball and always gave the Bucs good field position. He averaged nine yards per return.
The coverage teams performed well, never allowing Washington to start with quality field position. Grade: A+
The Bucs' D did their thing once again. They brought pressure on quarterback Robert Griffin III, but he still got lots of yardage. The Bucs sacked him twice with Michael Bennett getting one and George Johnson and Mason Foster splitting one. Foster almost had an interception, but it fell incomplete. Lavonte David led the team in tackles with 12 and two assists. He also left the game for a short period of time due to an injury, but soon returned and continued to be a threat. Another player that left the game with an injury was cornerback Eric Wright. Wright left with a head injury and did not return. E.J. Biggers took his spot and had a big game. Sunday was Biggers' first game this season since his injury on the first day of training camp. He broke up several big plays and even almost had a pick. Grade: A-
The game was a tough one to swallow for Bucs fans heading into the bye week. They will now prepare to face the Kansas City Chiefs for Week Six.
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Kyra Hallett is a freelance writer and a Multimedia Sports Journalist. She has experience covering Tampa Bay sports in many outlets including Examiner.com. Her dream job would be to work with the athletes and their fans. You can view some of her work at KyraHallett.com or here at Examiner.com.
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