Redskins Coach Jay Gruden played along with the talking-head narrative about his job security Monday after it took the biggest comeback in franchise history, 24 points, to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31-30, Sunday at FedEx Field.
But Gruden was asked on how he would’ve felt the morning after the game if Washington didn’t pull off the miraculous victory.
“I try not to think about that; I probably wouldn’t be standing up here today,” Gruden joked.
Of course, Gruden was expected to remain as the head coach even if the Redskins fell to 2-5. Gruden went along with the hypothetical story line about his coaching future that many have already dissected less than 24 hours after the game.
The urgency was noticeable, however, once the Redskins went inside the locker room on Sunday, down 24-7. Gruden ripped into his team at halftime after its worst first-half performance this season. Washington responded with its best second-half outing of the year, outscoring Tampa Bay, 24-6.
The team fed off its third-quarter momentum, scoring 14 unanswered points. Gruden made a gutsy call in the third quarter that paid dividends with a successful onside kick attempt following wide receiver Ryan Grant’s three-yard touchdown reception. The offense responded again with a seven-play, 51-yard drive that concluded with a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Reed.
“It’s a risky call, I guess, but I just felt like the look was good there and we practiced it,” Gruden said. “I hate practicing plays like that out here and never calling them. You have to call them. You’ve got to show the courage, the team has to see it. I think the team was excited for it. If it doesn’t work, we prepped our defense up.
“ ‘Hey, we’re going to do this. If it doesn’t work, be ready for a sudden change. They’re going to have good field position so you’re going to have to get a stop.’ The defense was ready for it, [defensive coordinator] Joe Barry was ready for it. If it didn’t work, I had faith in the defense that we could get the ball back anyway. The look was great. [Dustin] Hopkins did a great job during practice executing that kick and staying onsides.”
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