Only eight of the NFL's 32 teams have winning road records and three of those eight teams are just a game over .500 away from home. All told, NFL visitors are just 53-91.
But no team with an overall winning record has been less successful on the road than the Redskins (5-4 overall, 1-4 on the road) after last Sunday's last-minute 36-35 defeat at Tampa Bay. Washington's four-game road losing streak is the longest of coach Joe Gibbs' 14-year career.
"There are huge home-field advantages this year," Gibbs said. "You go someplace else, you're fortunate if you have 300, 400 people pulling for you, and that's a tough thing to overcome. It's a tough assignment up here, but you need to be able to do it if you're going to be a dominant team and a team that gets things done."
In their four home games (all victories), the Redskins have outscored opponents by an average of 24.5 to 12.8 and have five turnovers. On the road, they've been outscored 26.8 to 18.4 and have 13 turnovers.
"It's time for us to understand that we need to grow up as a team," linebacker LaVar Arrington said. "We're undefeated at home, and we've had two golden opportunities on the road (Tampa Bay and Denver where a deflected 2-point pass prevented them from rallying to force overtime) and we let them slip away for one reason or another. We've got to grow up. We can't let those types of games get away from us."
Prior to Tampa, Washington's last road loss was the 36-0 rout by New York at Giants Stadium on Oct. 30. The Redskins responded by beating Philadelphia 17-10 a week later to snap a seven-game losing streak against the defending NFC champions. Sunday's task against 3-6 Oakland at home doesn't look quite so imposing.
"I'm optimistic that this is a minor setback," Arrington said. "We have to approach it that way and not get too down on ourselves about letting that game get away from us. I think we'll be fine."
But they have to wait until at least Dec. 4 at St. Louis to prove again that they can win on the road.
--QB Mark Brunell's passing numbers (23 of 35, 226 yards, two TDs) were nice, but his three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble) were killers in Tampa. Brunell has fumbled on five of the 12 sacks he has endured in the past five games. He has three interceptions and two TDs the last three weeks after posting a 12-2 ratio the previous five games.
--After playing when the game got out of hand against the 49ers and Giants, QB Patrick Ramsey hasn't played the past two weeks. Ramsey will be in the NFL next season, but probably not in Washington.
--RB Clinton Portis' stats against Tamp Bay looked superb (23 carries, 144 yards), but Portis really cooled down after a red-hot start, with 98 yards on his first nine carries. He gained just 46 yards on his last 14 runs but did contribute a 2-point catch and what should have been the winning 8-yard TD run. However, Portis also managed just 3 yards on two carries when the Redskins needed 4 yards to run out the clock.
--RB Ladell Betts tiptoed down the sideline for 94 yards and his first NFL kickoff return score, caught a 17-yard pass for his first NFL TD catch and carried three straight plays for 23 yards to set up Clinton Portis' go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. All this in a game in which he sprained a knee. After averaging 34.0 yards per kickoff return at Tampa, Betts is now third in the NFC with a 25.7 average.
--WR Santana Moss had a spectacular, 42-yard, over-the-shoulder grab and a 22-yard reception. Both put the Redskins in the red zone and helped set up 10 points, but Moss (four catches, 79 yards) has now gone three games without a touchdown or an 80-yard day.
--WR David Patten stepped it up a little at Tampa Bay with three catches for 24 yards after catching just one pass the previous two weeks. Both Patten and Santana Moss could have done better jobs of preventing Brunell's interceptions.
--H-back Mike Sellers did it again against the Bucs, fighting his way into the end zone to take the team scoring lead from Santana Moss with his sixth touchdown. Sellers' 7-yard catch was the only time the ball was in his hands, giving him six TDs on 11 touches this season.
--H-back Chris Cooley solidified his status as Brunell's top target other than Santana Moss, catching six passes for 66 yards. Cooley trails only Moss in catches (41 to 53) and yards (469 to 935).
--K John Hall improved to 6-for-6 on the season with field goals of 40 and 33 yards in Tampa. Hall booted six kickoffs to an average of the 6-yard line.
--RT Joe Salave'a set up a Redskins TD by forcing the first fumble of his seven-year career. The Samoan run-stopper added three other tackles as Washington held Tampa Bay to 61 yards on 27 carries (2.3-yard average).
--FS Pierson Prioleau started in place of the injured Sean Taylor and was beaten by WR Joey Galloway on a 34-yard catch that set up Tampa's first TD and on the 24-yard TD that gave the Bucs a 21-10 lead.