Reporting Chuck Carroll
TAMPA (CBSDC) — Billy Cundiff missed his first three field goal attempts, but drilled his fourth with just three seconds remaining to lift the Washington Redskins to a 24-22 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Cundiff, who was ousted in Baltimore after his miss in the AFC Championship game, was on his way to a disastrous afternoon before becoming the hero. His misses from 31, 41 and 57 yards were erased with the game winner.
Robert Griffin III beautifully orchestrated the seven-play, 56-yard drive with less than two minutes on the clock to give the kicker his shot at redemption.
On the previous drive, Tampa kicker Connor Barth connected on his third field goal of the day, erasing what had previously been a 21-3 deficit.
But it was Washington who had the ball last and were able to snap Tampa’s 19-0 scoring run and end two-game losing streak to pull their record even at 2-2.
Robert Griffin III passed for 323 yards and rushed for 43 more, including a five-yard touchdown in the win.
Griffin tied a franchise record with his fourth rushing touchdown of the season. He joins Eddie LeBaron and Joe Theismann as the only other quarterbacks in team history to achieve the feat.
Running back Alfred Morris also added his fourth score of the year, marking the first time in history two rookie teammates have each rushed for four touchdowns in their first four games.
Morris notched the first 100-yard game of his career. The Florida Atlantic product rushed for 113 yards on 21 carries, including a 39-yard score.
Washington’s secondary, which was subject to a great deal of criticism heading into Week 4, played well in the first half by limiting Josh Freeman to 82 passing yards. However, the group was exploited after halftime and ended up surrendering 293 yards total on the afternoon.
Raheem Morris’ unit was allowing an average of 337.3 yards per game through the air prior to Sunday.
Trent Williams, who was limited in practice with a bone bruise this week, was able to start and anchor the Redskins offensive line.
The start of the game was overshadowed by a freak pre-game collision that delayed Brandon Meriweather’s debut and kept wide receiver Aldrick Robinson on the sideline.
Video of the accident showed Meriweather writhing in pain after the hit, holding his the same troublesome left knee that has kept him on the shelf this year.
Both players were subsequently placed on the team’s inactive list.
Also on the injury front, Niles Paul served as the return man on kickoffs in place of Brandon Banks. The regular return man landed on this week’s injury report with a hip ailment.
Banks did maintain punt return duties.