I know there is a large majority who place sole blame for these blown leads on the defensive backs, and trust me, they deserve that blame! However, there is much more to defense's inability to close out an opponent.
The Bucs lack a closer on defense. They truly do not have the player everyone looks to with the lead in the 4th quarter to make the big play. To go along with the lack of a closer, the Bucs defense lacks that killer mentality to stomp on an opponent’s throat (figuratively) when they have them down. If the Bucs get one big defensive play, just one, against the Redskins, they win.
The secondary has been abysmal. There is just no sugar-coating it. Mike Jenkins has no reason to be starting. The only reason he is starting is because Lovie Smith has lost all confidence in Alterraun Verner, and Tim Jennings came to Tampa for the money alone. Oh, and don't get me started on the horrific safety play.
Another target for fans and media alike during these blown leads has been the lack of a pass rush. I'll agree and disagree. I know it's easy to point to the defensive ends because there isn't a household name, and say they're the problem. For me, the ends are doing their job by getting up the field and forcing the great Kirk Cousins and Matt Ryan to STEP UP IN THE POCKET.
And there's your problem. The Bucs have faced two immobile quarterbacks and have allowed them to simply step up in the pocket on a consistent basis because of ZERO push from their defensive tackles. If the Bucs and Lovie Smith are going to continue getting zero push from their pro bowl defensive tackle and his comrades, it's up to Lovie Smith to get creative and bring additional pressure up the middle to prevent these quarterbacks from being so comfortable.
People within One Buc Place are noticing a lack of push from their star defensive tackle, and so are the fans. If he's not going to do it on more of a consistent basis, maybe the Bucs need to find someone who will. Oh, and falling to the ground and hugging Matt Ryan's foot was nice and all, but why in the hell was he able to unload that pass in overtime? Pull an alligator death roll and either bring Matt Ryan to the ground or snap his ankle. As a good friend of mine said, "it looked like my son grabbing onto my leg and not letting go."
Eli Manning is coming off a 6 touchdown performance against the Saints, but we all know Eli can get flustered and turn the ball over. If the Bucs allow him to simply step up in the pocket like they have let the aforementioned Cousins and Ryan, Eli might have a chance to out-perform what he did against the Saints defense.