The first quarter started on a sour note for the Washington Redskins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as both teams were forced to punt on their opening drives.
But that’s when the Redskins’ offense got things rolling.
Highlighted by long passes to Darrel Young and Fred Davis — and a 1-yard fumble recovery in the end zone by Pierre Garcon — the Redskins take a 7-3 lead going into the second quarter.
The Redskins won the opening coin toss and deferred to the second half, and Billy Cundiff’s opening kickoff sailed out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman had moderate success mixing in different receivers on their first drive. His first pass was complete to Mike Williams for 12 yards. On his second pass, with outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan in his face, he found receiver Arrelious Benn for a three-yard gain. Halfback Doug Martin took his first hand off three yards, setting up a third and 3 from the Buccaneers’ 39-yard line. Freeman, in the shotgun, found Vincent Jackson for a six-yard reception and the first down.
But the Redskins’ defense stood strong three plays later, when, on 3rd and 10 from the Tampa Bay 45, Freeman — unable to find a receiver — took off and was slammed down by cornerback DeAngelo Hall after just five yards, forcing a punt.
The Redskins took over for their first drive from their own 10-yard line. Quarterback Robert Griffin III, from the pistol formation, handed off to running back Alfred Morris, but the Bucs were flagged for an offside penalty, moving the ball ahead five yards.
On 1st and 5, Morris was swallowed up in the backfield for a loss of three yards. On the next play, Griffin III — with a defender in his face — essentially threw the ball straight in the ground. On 3rd and 8, the Redskins could only muster six yards on a screen to halfback Evan Royster, forcing a Washington punt — a 61-yarder, Sav Rocca’s longest of the season.
The drive never really had the chance of getting off the ground, even after the Redskins were the beneficiary of an offside penalty.
The Buccaneers started to get rolling on their next drive. On their third play of that drive, Freeman found Williams for 20 yards to get into Redskins’ territory at the 39-yard line. After a holding call that pushed it back to the 49, Freeman found Martin on his left for a six-yard gain. Two plays later — facing a 3rd and 8 from the 37 — Freeman found running back D.J. Ware for five yards, setting up a 50-yard field goal attempt by Connor Barth, which he nailed, giving the Buccaneers an early 3-0 lead with 4:42 remaining in the first quarter.
The holding call on the Buccaneers was certainly a momentum killer for the home team.
The Redskins’ next drive began at the 25-yard line. Two plays later, Morris took the handoff to his left and rumbled for 17 yards. On the next play, Griffin III found his fullback, Darrel Young, wide open to the right, and Young shook off a defender and was tackled 24 yards later.
A holding penalty — this time on the Redskins — set up a 1st and 20 from the Buccaneers’ 40-yard line. The Redskins went into a 5-wide, empty-backfield formation on their next play as Griffin III found tight end Fred Davis, who also evaded tacklers and got a 26-yard gain to the 14-yard line. Three plays later, on 3rd and 5 from the 9-yard line, Griffin III — again with an empty backfield — took off and lost the ball at the goal line, but receiver Pierre Garcon, playing for the first time since the first quarter of the Week 1 victory over New Orleans, was right there to recover for the touchdown.
It was one of those “Phew!” moments for Griffin III and the Redskins. Hope you at home didn’t break anything jumping out of your chairs.
Tags: 2012 regular season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, washington redskins
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