TB-WAS Grades: Cousins leads furious comeback to stun Bucs
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Redskins’ 31-30 win over the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
– Despite eventually losing the contest, quarterback Jameis Winston (+5.0) played his best game of his young NFL career against Washington. He was very accurate throwing downfield, as he completed 10 of his 12 passes traveling 10+ yards. While it was a good performance overall, Winston did feel the pressure on some occasions yesterday. His accuracy dropped from 81.8 percent from a clean pocket to 42.9 percent when he was moved off from his spot. He also threw both of his touchdowns when he was not pressured. In addition, his overall grade would have been even better if he hadn’t fumbled the ball on a scramble.
– A big reason behind Winston’s impressive performance yesterday was the play of wide receiver Mike Evans (+3.0). Winston had a passer rating of 145.1 when throwing toward the second-year wide receiver, as he caught 8-of-11 targets for 164 yards and a touchdown. Evans was especially effective as a deep target, as he caught 9-of-10 passes thrown to him more than 10 yards downfield. His role did not stop at catching the passes, as he also added 30 yards after the catch. Similarly to Winston, his grade would have been higher if not for two penalties.
– Rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander (-3.0) tied the best run defense grade of his career; however, his struggles in coverage greatly contributed to Washington’s comeback yesterday. Alexander allowed seven receptions on seven targets for 86 yards, and quarterback Kirk Cousins had a passer rating of 117.9 when targeting him. He was often beat by Washington’s Jordan Reed (+2.1), who took over the game in the second half as the tight end caught four passes in Alexander’s coverage. The linebacker also failed to limit the Washington receivers’ yards after the catch, since 47 of the 86 yards he allowed came after the reception.
QB Jameis Winston (+5.0)
WR Mike Evans (+3.0)
TE Luke Stocker (+2.9)
FB Jorvorskie Lane (+2.5)
DT Clinton McDonald (+2.5)
– Kirk Cousins (-0.8) embodied the often-heard term of “game manager” quarterback as he led Washington’s comeback yesterday. Although Cousins was very accurate and had a completion percentage of 82.5, he was not asked to do a lot by his team. This is well-represented by the fact that 31 of his 40 pass attempts (77.5 percent) were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. However, Cousins did have some success downfield, too, but his completion percentage immediately dropped to 66.6 percent when throwing 10 or more yards downfield. Also, it is necessary to note that Cousins would not have had the opportunity to throw a game-winning touchdown if Chris Conte had not dropped the quarterback’s ill-advised pass on the previous play.
– While Washington never really got the ground game going yesterday, this was due to multiple reasons. First of all, Washington was playing from behind for most of the game, and was more inclined to pass in these situations. Also, there were some weaker performances in the middle of the offensive line, as left guard Spencer Long (0.7) and center Josh LeRibeus (-3.1) both graded negatively in the run game. However, the other players responsible for creating space for the running backs did their jobs really well. Brandon Scherff, Derek Carrier, Trent Williams and Morgan Moses all earned grades above +1.0 in the run block facet of the game.
– Similarly to Kwon Williams on Tampa Bay, the other LSU alum linebacker, Perry Riley (-5.8) also struggled yesterday. However, Riley’s weaker performance was not due to his play in coverage, as he wasn’t targeted once yesterday. It was not because of his work as a pass rusher, either, since he picked up a quarterback hit on one of his two pass rushing snaps, which earned him a positive grade in that facet of the game. However, it was because of his performance against the run, where he has struggled in previous games, too. He was constantly pushed around by Washington’s offensive linemen and failed to come off of blocks. Although he was on the field for 41 plays, Riley managed to record only one solo and one assist tackle, and neither one represented a failure for the offense.
RT Morgan Moses (+3.6)
LT Trent Williams (+3.0)
DE Jason Hatcher (+2.6)
TE Jordan Reed (+2.1)
OLB Trent Murphy (+1.9)