The 2020 Washington Football Team defense appears to be back. Washington’s defense arguably had its best performance of the season against quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, especially the secondary, in Sunday's 29-19 win.
WFT racked up two picks and four pass deflections against Brady. Washington is only the second team to hold Tampa Bay to 19 points this season, but the first to finish off with a win.
"We have a chance to build on something,” coach Ron Rivera said after the game. “It gives us confidence going forward."
Washington’s defense is nowhere near perfect, but has improved throughout the last four games with more pressure on the quarterback and three-and-outs.
“Our guys have improved incrementally the last few weeks … this is the culmination of it,” Rivera said.
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In its past four games, the defense has forced six turnovers. The WFT’s next challenge comes against Rivera’s old quarterback Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Washington fell to the Panthers 20-13 late last season.
If the WFT wants to turn this season around and contend for another playoff spot, the time is now. Washington is 3-6, and sits behind both the Dallas Cowboys (7-2) and Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) in the NFC East.
Washington rode its defense to the NFC East title and playoff berth in 2020. More performances like Sunday could get WFT back in contention.
“We wanted to win this more than they did,” safety Bobby McCain said. “We have to build off it and keep going.”
In a sense, to move to the future, the WFT needs to go back to where it was a year ago. Sunday marked a step in that double-direction.