The Washington Redskins played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final preseason game of 2014 on Aug. 28, 2014.
Redskins.com's Andrew Walker takes a closer look at Thursday evening's brawl with the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
Forget the fact that the Washington Redskins' starters on offense and defense weren't playing in Thursday night's preseason finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Why? Because the game meant just as much to the team's player personnel folks and coaching staff, who got the chance to see the Redskins' second and third teamers compete for an entire game for a final chance to make the final 53-man roster.
By 4 p.m. Saturday, the team must trim 22 players from its current 75-man roster. With competition at virturally every spot for the Redskins -- especially at running back, wide receiver, defensive line and in the secondary -- Thursday's game certainly had an intense attitude for "just another preseason game."
And when the clock struck 0:00, the Redskins came out on top, 24-10, at Raymond James Stadium.
With the win, the Redskins improved their preseason record to 3-1.
REVEALING MOMENTYou could tell this game's meaning to some players from the opening kickoff. Rookie Zach Hocker's opening kick was fielded by the Buccaneers' Solomon Patton about four yards into the end zone. Redskins rookie safety Akeem Davis sprinted down the middle of the field and took on two Tampa blockers at full speed, creating a hole for his teammates to rush in and stop Patton at the Buccaneers' 17-yard line. Plays like that by Davis are the reason why the Redskins believe their special teams will be much improved this season, but it also showed, from the start, just how bad Davis wants to continue his Redskins career past this game.
PLAY OF THE GAMEGabe Miller came to the Redskins last season as a tight end, but the team this offseason converted him back to his natural position of linebacker. Miller made one of the better defensive plays for the Redskins this preseason near the end of the first quarter of Thursday night's game. Buccaneers' quarterback Mike Kafka dropped back to pass, and Miller – an outside linebacker – got to him quickly. Kafka appeared to try to throw the ball away, but Miller swatted the ball out of his hands and recovered the fumble, taking it to the Tampa Bay 2-yard line. The Redskins needed just two plays to get into the end zone, as quarterback Colt McCoy found rookie wide receiver Ryan Grant for the touchdown. Miller has certainly made his case to get a spot on the opening-day roster.
PLAYER OF THE GAMEQuarterback Colt McCoy hasn't had many chances in the past couple years to play an entire game, but that's exactly what he did Thursday night against the Buccaneers. McCoy, a third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2010, completed 22-of-29 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns. He even got a nine-yard run in the second quarter, utilizing the pump fake to open up the field and escape down the sideline for a first down. McCoy is listed as the team's third-string quarterback and will likely stay there after Thursday night's game, but he proved he is a valuable asset for fellow quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, offensive coordinator Sean McVay and the rest of the Redskins.
UNSUNG HEROLache Seastrunk did not catch a single pass in his senior season at Baylor in 2013. On Thursday night, he caught his first pass as a member of the Redskins from McCoy and took it 80 yards to the house for a third-quarter touchdown. Seastrunk showed off his home run capabilities on the play, juking a couple Tampa Bay defenders near the line of scrimmage, and then turning on the jets and going untouched the rest of the way. Seastrunk, like Chris Thompson, is looked at as a change-of-pace back to what starter Alfred Morris and backup Roy Helu Jr. already bring to the table. But you can't coach speed, and that's exactly what Seastrunk brings to the table for Washington.
With the final auditions now in the books, the Redskins player personnel staff and coaches have just a couple days to decide who makes their final 53-man roster.
By 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, the Redskins must cut their 75-man roster down to 53, and then by noon Sunday – after the claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction passes – the team will put together its 10-man practice squad.
Then the team turns 100 percent of its focus to the Houston Texans – their Week 1 opponent Sept. 7 in Houston.