By Talib Babb, special to Breaking Burgundy
The Washington Redskins have lost two straight games and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming to town.
The last time anybody said "Oh no, we play the Bucs this week", Warren Sapp was probably on the team. I bet Bucs fans miss those good old days. Damn, actually, I bet Warren Sapp misses those good old days with the way things are going for him now.
But, this week Washington is actually treating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a "must-win" game. Really, coach Jay Gruden said this week against Tampa Bay is "code red" in D.C. and for good reason.
Flashback: 11 months ago in Week 11, the Bucs came to town and beat the Redskins as if they were the '02 Super Bowl team. It got ugly, like Tampa Bay’s uniforms ugly.
Mike Evans* caught seven passes from Josh McCown for 209 yards and two touchdowns. The Bucs sacked Robert Griffin III six times, picked him off twice in the first quarter and caused three turnovers in total in a 27-7 loss.
[*Evans has played in four of the five games this season and doesn’t have 209 yards nor two TDs total]
But wait, there’s more!
After the game is when things got real reality show-ish. RG3 said something to the effect of “great quarterbacks don’t play well if their guys don’t play well,” then Gruden responded with some ether.
“Robert needs to understand he needs to worry about himself number one and not everybody else," blasted the head coach. "It’s his job to worry about his position, his footwork, his fundamentals, his reads, his progressions, his job at the quarterback position.”
I can’t forget about the DeSean Jackson Instagram post that went up the following morning about how “you can’t do epic s**t with basic people,” which is a quote he may have ripped from Aristotle, but I’m not sure.
That game was the Bucs second and final win of last season. That dismal record eventually led to them landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, which led to them selecting their current starting quarterback, Jameis Winston. By the way, Maryland is the crab state. If Winston stops by any seafood spot here, the last thing he should expect is a hook-up this week.
I digress, let’s focus on why this Sunday is important.
The history lesson is over. Let’s focus on why this Sunday is important.
The Skins are 2-4 and somehow still are just a game back of the division lead. Most importantly, some are questioning if Kirk Cousins should still be starting after his past two performances. In other words, whether it’s windy or a monsoon outside, he desperately needs a good game to keep the critics off his back.
The last thing the Redskins need is a poor performance and a loss before they enter the bye week, especially to the Buccaneers. Gruden would rather deal with questions from bill collectors before he has to spend two weeks fielding questions on what he’s going to do at the quarterback position.
Here are some stats that probably don’t matter, but just happen to be below this sentence so you might as well read them:
- - Tampa Bay leads the all-time series against Washington 11-10
- - The Bucs and Redskins both have a minus 2 turnover differential
- - This season, Cousins has 6 TDs and 8 INTs while Winston has 7 TDs and 7 INTs
- - The Redskins have been outscored in the 3rd quarter 78-3 this season
- - The Redskins as a team have 85 rushing yards total in their last two games. By comparison, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has 81 rushing yards in his last two games.
I don’t know what will really happen, but I can tell you both groups of defensive backs are daydreaming about how many interceptions they plan on catching on Sunday.
I don’t know what will really happen, but I can tell you that if Bashaud Breeland has another three takeaway game, as a city we seriously need to consider getting Breeland’s face painted on the side of Ben’s Chili Bowl.
I don’t know what will really happen, but I can tell you that the early weather forecast calls for rain on Sunday. If it does, Gruden still won’t be crazy enough to mention the weather as an excuse again.
We have a few more days to endure the angst of whether this Jay Gruden steered ship is closer to sinking or not, but a win will get it on the right path for a few more weeks at the very least.
Talib Babb is a freelancer for CSNmidatlantic.com, producer for 106.7 The Fan, stand-up comic and Maryland native. You can find him on Twitter @talibbabb.