Redskins blow big lead, recover to win with 3 seconds to go, 24-22
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - With the game on the line, Robert Griffin III moved the Washington Redskins right down the field and to the second victory of his young career.
Billy Cundiff redeemed himself for a horrible day kicking, making a 41-yard field goal with 3 seconds remaining and the Redskins snapped a two-game losing streak with a 24-22 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Cundiff missed three earlier attempts, including a 31-yarder that wound have put the Redskins (2-2) up by two scores early in the fourth quarter. He also missed first-half tries of 41 and 57 yards, but was on the money after Griffin drove his team into position for the winning score.
Tampa Bay (1-3) wiped out an 18-point deficit to go ahead 22-21 on Connor Barth's third field goal, a 47-yarder with 1:42 remaining.
But Griffin wasn't finished. He completed three straight passes to move the Redskins from their own 20 to the 41, then ran for 15 yards to the 26. Cundiff kicked the game-winner two plays later.
Griffin threw for 323 yards without an interception and scored on a 5-yard run while Washington was building a 21-3 lead in the second quarter.
Pierre Garcon recovered a fumble by the second overall pick in this year's draft in the end zone for the Redskins' first touchdown.
Alfred Morris rushed for 113 yards and scored on a 39-yard run.
Josh Freeman threw for 299 yards and one touchdown, leading the Bucs back from their big deficit with help from Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson, who scored on a 7-yard reception late in the third quarter.
Jackson finished with six catches for 100 yards, and Williams had five receptions for 115 yards.
Griffin was sacked six times and was hit hard after handing off on some option plays, prompting coach Mike Shanahan to ask the rookie to take some precautions on the field to protect himself.
With regular officials back on the job, the Bucs were flagged twice for unnecessary roughness on the Redskins quarterback - once on a throw out of his own end zone and the other when he was picked up and dropped for a 2-yard loss by Tampa Bay rookie safety Mark Barron on a designed run.
Barron read the quarterback keeper perfectly, but was flagged when he lifted Griffin into the air before dumping him to the ground and falling on top of Griffin. The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner bounced right up, clapped his hands, then threw for 20 yards to Garcon on the next play.
Largely on the strength of containing Cam Newton and limiting Carolina to 10 yards on the ground in a season-opening victory, the Bucs entered Sunday allowing a league-low 47 yards per game rushing.
They gave up almost that much alone when Morris took a pitch from Griffin and started off left tackle before cutting back to the middle of the field on his TD run.
Tampa Bay's offense sputtered until Freeman connected with Williams on a 65-yard pass that led to the TD pass to Jackson that trimmed Washington's lead to 21-13.
Two more completions to Jackson, this time for 54 and then 22 yards, set up LeGarrette Blount's 2-yard TD that helped the Bucs pull within 21-19.
Griffin began the winning drive from the Washington 20 with 1:42 left. He completed passes of 15 yards to Santana Moss, 20 to Fred Davis and 4 to Evan Royster before taking off on his big run that got the Redskins into field goal range.
The Redskins played without safety Brandon Meriweather and receiver Aldrick Robinson, who were declared out after colliding in the end zone during pregame warmups.
The teammates remained on the ground for several minutes before being helped to their feet and walking to the locker room. Meriweather missed the first three games of the season with a sprained left knee.