Redskins punter Tress Way said his attempt to "flip the field" during a fourth-quarter punt ultimately turned into a 69-yard return for a touchdown Sunday vs. the Dolphins.*
With just more than 10 minutes to go in Sunday's season opener against the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins punter Tress Way, the reigning league leader in punting average, tried to do what he does best: flip the field for the Redskins' defense.
Check out these top photos from the Washington Redskins' 2015 Week 1 matchup against the Miami Dolphins Sept. 13, 2015, at FedExField.
But the Dolphins' decision to pad the coverage on the punt – instead of going for the heavy rush – paid off, giving returner Jarvis Landry plenty of space to get up field, hit a hole and speed towards the end zone. Sixty-nine yards and an extra point later, and the Dolphins had claimed their first lead of the game, 17-10 – one they wouldn't relinquish in front of 76,512 fans at FedExField.
"I think that they ended up holding up and not rushing as many guys, and I was trying to flip the field a little bit, trying to get momentum going," Way said. "I usually hit the ball pretty straight up in the air, try and specialize on a high hang time ball, and I think I just tried to unleash it a little bit and flip the field, and Landry's a heck of an athlete and he brought it right back up [to] the house."
Way said he could immediately tell, based off the spin of his kick, that he had likely given Landry a little bit too much room for his coverage to adequately get down field to make a play.
"I think I wrapped it up a little tight – usually my punt will have a little bit of a wobble to it," Way said. "I ended up looking down there and I had a real bad feeling in my stomach that I gave him a little too much room, and sure enough he came right up the gut and took it to the house."
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin credited his return team with a solid "hold up" on the play.
"It looked like our jammers did a good job as well," he said. "I remember when he caught the ball there seemed to be a lot of space when he first caught the football, which is an indication that our guys did a good job. He's good in the open field -- he's a tough guy to get on the ground."
The Redskins' special teams units were already reeling heading into the season after losing their two top playmakers in captain Adam Hayward (knee) and Niles Paul (ankle), each of whom suffered season-ending injuries during the preseason.
Way said it's been tough dealing with those losses, but the team is not going to use them as an excuse for any deficiencies – Sunday's big punt play included.
On that play especially, Way – voted by his teammates as the Redskins' team captain – takes the blame.
"Man, we've done a good job," Way said of the coverage units since Hayward and Paul's injuries. "We've got a solid group of guys and that was just one of those, 'I think I left everybody hanging out to dry.' I tried to flip the field and I kicked it a little too far. Wrapped the spiral up a little tight and it gave Landry plenty of room to run."