After the Bucs scored to make the score 17-10 in the third quarter, they had five possessions to try to tie the game. It was in those series that the Redskins defense won the game.
Drive 1--Bucs get the ball at their own 8 after a punt with 5:40 left in the third quarter:
This was the series during which Sean Taylor was ejected from the game. Tampa Bay got one first down and then they were facing a fourth and six at the 22 after Simms dropped back, found nobody open and scrambled for four yards. Then the "incident" took place, which will be discussed later.
Fortunately, it didn't cost the Redskins as after a three-yard Williams run Salave'a tipped Simms' second down pass and Lemar Marshall got in the way of the intended receiver on a screen. In between the two passes, the Bucs had to burn a timeout as Simms didn't like the defense he saw. That would prove to be key in the late going as Tampa Bay ran out of timeouts.
Drive 2—Bucs get the ball at their own 14 after a punt with 13:18 left to play:
This drive almost never got started for the Bucs as Jones muffed the punt. Had the Skins been as close to the returner on that play as they usually are, they would have had a shot at it. The drive got jump started when on second and eight from his own 27, Simms scrambled out of the pocket, eluded a couple of potential sackers, and found Ike Hilliard for 19 yards.
A slant to Galloway advanced them into Redskins territory at the 28. That would prove to be Tampa Bay's last first down on the game. It was then that the Redskins staged their first big stand.
On first down, Williams tried the middle and picked up three. The Williams put a move on Lemar Marshall after catching a swing pass and turned what could have been a loss into a six-yard gain. On third and one, the Redskins, led by tackle Cedric Killings, reestablished the line of scrimmage a yard in their favor. That forced Alstott, who was lined up at fullback and didn't have a chance to gain much forward momentum, to leave his feet early and Marcus Washington and others were able to drag him down a full yard shy of the first down.
Gruden eschewed the field goal attempt and went for it, a sound strategic move given the anemic state of the Redskins' offense. They had to burn their second timeout as Gruden didn't like what he saw defensively. It didn't matter as the Redskins sniffed out the play action pass that Chucky had called. Marcus Washington didn't bite on the play fake and he was in Simms' face immediately. The play was blown up and it had no chance.
Drive 3—Bucs get the ball on their own 35 after a punt with 5:58 left to play:
After Simms scrambled for six on first down, he threw high and missed an open Joey Galloway. Then Omar Stoutmire, who had a sack in the first half, made another big play as he had perfect timing to knock Simms' well-thrown pass away from tight end Anthony Becht.
Drive 4—Bucs get the ball after an interception on the Washington 35 with 3:43 to play
After Williams ran for five and Simms threw incomplete for Galloway, the fun began.
With the Redskins shuffling players on and off the line, they couldn't get the snap off and took five yards for a delay of game. On third and ten, Simms did the exact same thing that he did in the late going back in November, he hit receiver Edell Shepherd with a perfect pass in the end zone. Back in Week 10, Shepherd caught the ball to pull his team within a point, setting up the controversial two-point conversion. Today, he dropped the ball.
It looked like the game was about to be tied. . .
. . .and Shepherd celebrated, but prematurely. . .
. . .because he's dropped the ball.
And sorry Tampa fans who all of a sudden think that replay is faulty, it was incomplete. He has to maintain possession when he hits the ground, that's the rule. He did not. Back Judge Lee Dyer was right on top of the play and he made the right call, not the home town call, and replay upheld it.
On fourth down, Shepherd got past Ade Jimoh and Ryan Clark was a little late with deep help. Simms had plenty of time to throw against a three-man rush but overthrew his receiver badly. A pass as accurate as the last one was probably would have resulted in another opportunity for Shepherd to score.
Drive 5—Bucs get the ball after a punt at their own 46 with 1:05 to play:
No scares here; instead, it was one and done. It looked like Simms, facing a three-man rush again, wanted to go to Galloway on the left sideline about 15 yards downfield. Cornelius Griffin, who was being triple teamed, was a few yards away from Simms as he released. The big tackle got a few fingers on the ball, enough to direct it straight into the arms of Washington about ten yards past the line of scrimmage. Finally, game over.