Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland turned in a historic performance in the first half of Sunday's game, collecting two fumble recoveries and an interception.
After last week's overtime loss to the Falcons, one in which cornerback Bashaud Breeland collected an interception and effectively shut down big plays from developing downfield, the Clemson product took pride in being undervalued as a defensive back.
"I ain't just average," he told the media, after helping to contain Julio Jones and an aerial Falcons offense.
On a slightly bigger stage, and on a blustery October day at MetLife Stadium, Breeland made sure the Jets and their fans knew that, too.
With the Redskins secondary lacking both of its starting cornerbacks in DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver for the second consecutive game, Breeland did his best in the Redskins 34-20 loss to New York to give his banged up team a chance on both sides of the ball.
That started almost immediately, when on the Jets' first play from scrimmage Kyshoen Jarrett forced a fumble on wide receiver Eric Decker, who coughed the ball up at the Jets' 36-yard line, where Breeland bobbled and then fell on the football. Several plays later, the Redskins scored a touchdown with the welcomed field position.
In the second quarter, Breeland was responsible for the strip, this time against wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who caught a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass for 12 yards before getting burgled.
Breeland, who he said Marshall carries the football like a running back, ripped it out among several players from the 6-foot-4, 230 pound receiver, initiating another takeaway that would end with points – a 54-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins.
"The style of running of 33 (Ivory) and 15 (Marshall) is that they are aggressive runners and are hard to take down," Breeland said. "But at the same time, when you are being so aggressive you kind of lose track of the ball. He kind of got careless with the ball, and I just took it away from him."
To turn his first half into an exclamation point, Breeland made his most athletic play with just 47 seconds remaining before the intermission.
With the Jets driving in a 10-10 game, Fitzpatrick looked for Marshall again down the right sideline. The ball was overthrown by a hair. Marshall outstretched his long arms to make a play on it, batting it slightly. Breeland, playing him tightly, saw the ball pop up and dove forward, corralling his second interception in as many weeks.
"On the pick, it just happened to bounce and I just saw it as it was going to the ground and just dove for it," he said.
Untouched, he got up and sprinted another 28 yards, providing momentum for the offense that was able to capitalize with three points and bring a lead into the half. All 13 first half points came off those turnovers after the Redskins had only managed three points off takeaways in their previous five games combined.
For Breeland, the feat was the first time a player in the past 20 years recorded an interception, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries from an opponent in one half.
The rare blemish he made came in the third quarter, when Breeland couldn't defend a ball thrown and caught by Marshall's shoelaces. The big receiver spun around his tackle, and a few more missed wraps, and in for the score.
"He's good. He's a tough guy, competitor, has some injuries he's dealing with, fought through 'em, made a good strip and then obviously his interception," head coach Jay Gruden said. "Last touchdown to Marshall was on him, but looked like he got pushed in the back, but who knows. He's a great competitor and he's good for our football team."
"I had to gradually get back into the groove of things. I feel comfortable with the coaches and the calls," said Breeland, who matched his career-high in interceptions after missing Week 1. "The players around me, I feel like they're going to do what they have to do so I can just go out and do what I got to do. So it's a process."
His kind of fight -- evidenced by the scraped left knee he polished up by his locker -- regardless of the score was again exemplified on a day shrouded with injuries and backups taking snaps they normally wouldn't.
Like his game against Atlanta, he found any way he could to lead by example, and in turn, even some of the playing field.
"It's good that I came out here and performed, but at the same time, you don't get the win, so it really doesn't mean nothing," Breeland said. "Wish I could be up here celebrating, but it didn't turn out that way for us."