Here are my observations after taking a second look at the game. Here is the second half,the first half review is here.Third quarter--Brandon Banks was on the field for two defensive snaps. Early in the third quarter he motioned into position behind Griffin and the quarterback faked a handoff to him. The fake drew even the offside defenders to the right, allowing Davis to get a little running room after Griffin threw him a pass on the left side. Davis ran right between blocks by Josh Morgan and Trent Williams and got 12 yards and a fist down. The fear of Banks speed set it up.--The Redskins were on the move to put the game away until a first-down clipping call on Will Montgomery spiked the drive. It clearly was a clip and looks like Morris may have been trapped for a loss of seven yards or so had he not done it. After that, a pass intended for Hankerson was tipped away, an underneath pass to Hankerson picked up 10, and the Griffin ran well short of the first down.--Richard Crawford made a nice, open-field tackle on Benn to prevent the Bucs from converting a third down. He got into the bigger receiver with this shoulder and stopped him a yard short of the sticks.--Again, bad optics as Griffin yells at the defender who hit him late to draw a flag but the offensive line does nothing.--Shanahan said that Garons personal foul on Aquib Talib came prior to the whistle. That turned a third and four into a third and 19. On the original camera shot you can see it happen while Royster, who caught a short pass form Griffin, was fighting for an extra yard or two. Its hard to tell if the whistle had blown. It was a good 8 or 10 yards away from the action, though, and Talib clearly wasnt going to be involved in making the stop. That is going to get flagged most of the time.--The play that got Freeman and the Bucs going, a 65-yard pass and run to Mike Williams, happened both because Wilson hesitated when Williams broke down the sideline and because Madieu Williams missed a tackle near midfield. There is no reason for Wilson to let Williams get past him there. A big play was the only thing that would get the Bucs back into the game and he got it.--Ill chalk up the seven-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson up to great athletic ability. Jackson gets paid a lot of money to make plays like that and, in this case, he did. Hall could have been a little closer to him and Williams could have anticipated that Jackson was going to get the ball and moved over there sooner but Im not sure it would have done any good.--The second time they use the quick pitch to Morris it picks up seven and a first down.--One of Griffins few off-target passes of the season was a little behind Morgan and it almost got picked off. It was tipped in the air and linebacker Mason Foster was close to a diving interception.--Banks speed set up the razzle dazzle as the Bucs defense was pulled over to the left with Griffins first lateral and Niles Paul had all kinds of room to run after he caught Griffins forward pass. Had Banks not actually run the ball a few times last week against the Bengals this and the previous play with him in on offense would not have been nearly as effective.Fourth quarter--Again, just a great athletic play by Jackson on Freemans deep pass to Jackson right after Cundiffs 31-yard miss. And anything but a perfect pass is incomplete.--We thought that the field would be an issue after a college game was played there Saturday night. It turned out not to be but Hankerson did slip on a cut during a route. If he keeps his feet, its likely a reception and a first down. Because he slipped, the pass was nearly intercepted. As it was, it became second and 10. A sack and an incompletion followed and the Redskins chance to respond to the Bucs second TD was gone.--Maybe some day offenses wont expect Ryan Kerrigan to get fooled on screen passes. But Sunday was not that day as he took away a scoring opportunity for the Bucs by sniffing out a screen and tackling D. J. Ware for a seven-yard loss on third and three at the Redskins 31. They were in Connor Barths field goal range before the play but they had to punt due to the loss.--Not much to say about RG3s scramble on third and 10 that came up short of the first down. He had no chance to extend the ball out to get it over the line to make as he was getting tackled. It was very clearly short and I have no idea why Shanahan decided to challenge.--Theres not much more that can be said about the final drive except that there were two terrifying moments. The second was 0-3 Cundiff lining up for the game-winning field goal. The first came right before that after Griffin threw to Moss for seven yards. They rushed to line up as the clock ticked below 10 seconds. If anyone had committed a false start, the game is over after a 10-second runoff. Shanahan got the timeout before they got set, however, and Cundiff slipped the kick past the good side of the left upright.
The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.
That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.
Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?
Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.
For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016.
In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it.
Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.
I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.
To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.
Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will.
More offseason questions:
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!
There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans.
Doctson looks ready pic.twitter.com/opUrNtdInQ— ceroy (@ceroy16) February 23, 2017
Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.
His rookie year, however, was a different matter.
The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.
A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!