TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- With the ball sitting on the 1-yard line, Jon
Gruden couldn't resist.
The temptation to give it to Mike Alstott on a gutsy 2-point
conversion call -- even if it meant going home without a victory --
was too strong.
At least that way, the Tampa Bay coach said, he would have gone
to sleep Sunday night knowing the Buccaneers gave it their best
"It would have been tough not knowing what would have
happened," Gruden said after Alstott somehow found a way across
the goal line to give the Bucs a stunning 36-35 victory over the
The run, with 58 seconds remaining, came after the Redskins
blocked a potential game-tying extra point -- but had jumped
offsides in the process.
For a moment, Alstott didn't even realize Gruden had decided to
try to break a two-game losing streak in dramatic fashion.
"People were hollering for me. I ran on the field, put on my
helmet, heard the call and thought: 'Uh, oh, here we go,'" Alstott
"You have to put the trust in your team and the players and
say: 'The heck with it.' You have to gamble once in a while."
Everybody in the stadium knew who would get the ball, but the
Redskins (5-4) could not stop the 248-pound fullback, who scored
earlier on touchdown runs of 2 and 1 yards. Alstott was hit at the
line and looked like he might fall short before twisting and
keeping his legs moving to barely get into the end zone.
The Redskins signaled the conversion failed, but the ruling
stood after the replay official's review.
"Any time you lose, it's tough. There are always 50 plays where
you could have won and 50 plays where you could have lost,"
Washington coach Joe Gibbs said.
"All of our guys thought he was on the ground. That's what
everybody told me. I didn't see it, but that's what instant replay
Clinton Portis ran for 144 yards and put Washington ahead with
an 8-yard scoring run midway through the fourth quarter. Mark
Brunell threw for 226 yards and two TDs, and Ladell Betts scored on
a 94-yard kickoff return for the Redskins.
The Bucs (6-3) surpassed their victory total for 2004 with Simms
winning for the first time as a pro in a game he started and
finished. The third-year pro struggled the previous two weeks after
taking over for the injured Brian Griese, but played with much more
poise Sunday than in losses to San Francisco and Carolina.
Tampa Bay had seven turnovers and Simms was sacked 10 times in
those defeats. The left-hander was 15-of-29 with no interceptions
and no sacks against a Redskins defense minus tackle Cornelius
Griffin and safety Sean Taylor.
Simms threw a 4-yard TD pass to Ike Hilliard to make it 28-28
late in the third quarter, then moved the Bucs 54 yards in five
plays to put the game in Gruden's hands at the end.
"I've never really been a part of anything like that -- in
college or in the NFL," the son of former New York Giants
quarterback Phil Simms said.
"I saw the blocked extra point and, of course, my heart went
into my throat. ... I was just sitting there, really just thinking
Washington began the day tied for next to last in turnover
margin (minus-9) and dug a hole with three early mistakes that
helped the Bucs build a 21-13 halftime lead.
Brunell, intercepted only three times in the Redskins' first
eight games, was picked off twice in the first half. He also
fumbled both times he was sacked by Simeon Rice, with Dewayne White
recovering one at the Redskins 5 to set up Alstott's 1-yard TD run.
"It's tough. You lose a fumble and throw two picks, you aren't
going to win in the NFL," said Brunell, who threw a 17-yard TD
pass to Betts and 7-yarder to Mike Sellers.
A week after finishing without any tackles in a loss to
Carolina, Rice had four tackles, two sacks and his fifth career
interception. ... The Bucs played without WR Michael Clayton
(sprained knee). ... Portis had his fourth 100-yard game of the
The NFL says it is close but still has yet to interview the four players named along with Peyton Manning in a report five months ago that linked them to PEDs.
ESPNDallas columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor and NFL Nation reporter Todd Archer discuss what Randy Gregory needs to do to have a long future with the Cowboys, plus a Dez Bryant-Russell Westbrook comparison.
ESPN Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson discusses how Kevin White looked in Chicago's OTA on Wednesday.
ESPN Redskins reporter John Keim says Preston Smith and the defense, including safety DeAngelo Hall, had a big day against the offense Wednesday.
ESPN Browns reporter Pat McManamon explains that perennial Pro Bowl tackle knows the wear and tear on his body; if he needs a day off in OTAs and during the season, Cleveland Browns are wise to give it to him.
DeSean Jackson has missed too many voluntary workouts to collect his $500,000 bonus, but Washington isn't concerned about his absences.