LANHAM – Nate Sudfeld, the Washington Redskins former third string quarterback who has since been released and signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, got the opportunity to start the fourth and final game of the preseason against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Aug. 31.
Sudfeld performed admirably in the dress rehearsal, going 22-of-33 for 228 yards and no interceptions as he led Washington to a 13-10 win over the Buccaneers.
“(Sudfeld) did some good things and had a few throws that he wishes he’d have back,” said Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden. “I thought he led the team well and did enough for him to win the game.”
Despite managing the game well, the second-year signal caller failed to find the endzone when he vastly underthrew a deep ball down the field to Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School alumnus Zach Pascal. Pascal was also released on cut-down day.
With most of the starters having the night off, the Redskins wanted to nail down key positions for the players who were still on the bubble of making the squad before cut-down day. One of those players was running back Mack Brown, who was in the same predicament before last season against the Buccaneers.
During a torrential downpour, Brown rushed for 149 yards and a touchdown last year to remain on the team. This time around, Brown led the team in rushing with 19 carries for 69 yards, but also coughed up the ball trying to fight for extra yards later in the contest.
“He's done some really good things not only at running back, but on special teams as well,” Gruden said about Brown’s performance.”
Brown was appreciative of the opportunity.
“I’m thankful that the Redskins brought me in two-and-a-half years ago and I’m going to be playing football soon. Last year I was like the third or fourth running back, so every day I’m going like it is training camp. I just know how to go hard, and that is it.”
Washington Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins showed off his leg, nailing a 53-yarder to take the lead late in the first quarter. Then, Sudfeld led a promising drive for nearly seven minutes at the end of the first half where Brown and Matt Jones gashed through Tampa Bay’s interior defense down to the Buccaneers 18-yard line.
However, an incomplete pass intended for Jones fell to the turf, and forced a fourth down field goal attempt by Hopkins inside the two-minute warning. Even though the offensive unit looked in sync for a long drive, Hopkins couldn’t cash in the 36-yard field goal attempt, and scoring wouldn't resume until the fourth quarter as the teams engaged in a back-and-forth defensive battle.
Hopkins and Buccaneers kicker Zach Hocker traded field goals in the final quarter, but it was a rookie linebacker who made the play of the game.
Former Louisville Cardinal Josh Harvey-Clemons jumped in front of a pass intended for Bobo Wilson and returned the ball 40 yards return for a touchdown. He finished the game in a tie with fellow rookie linebacker Niko Marley for a team-leading 4.5 tackles.
“I’m a little tired, but overall I feel great about the play and how our defense played,” Harvey-Clemons said. “The play was a play action, and I got the receiver, and I don’t think the quarterback saw me, but he threw it right to me. I was just able to read it and get to the endzone.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Sefo Liufau hit Bernard Reedy for a 10-yard touchdown for the final score of the game late in the fourth, but Washington held on to finish the preseason 2-2.
The Redskins will be looking forward to taking on the Philadelphia Eagles at home on Sunday to kick off the 2017 NFL regular season.