Warpath Review-Marcus Washington Keys Defense

Players lingered in the locker room long after the game. Marcus Washington couldn't free himself of the reporters constantly surrounding him, wanting him to go over his big plays. That took a long time, considering how many big one's he made

It was a happy day for the Redskins. It was a well-deserved day for them, too. They're a hard-working team, one that has overcome plenty -- in the past dozen years and this season. They never stopped believing; they never doubted they were good or that they could win in Tampa.

And they showed everyone why. They showed they could win when managing a record-low 120 yards of offense, setting an NFL mark for futility in a playoff game.

They showed they had the defense to beat any team. There's no offense this defense can't handle, giving Washington a chance in any game.

Certainly, a better offensive effort will be needed for them to advance. But after the game, talk of offensive woes was muted by what the day was about: a return to playoff success. It's been six years; for many, it felt longer. 

Good news: Corner Shawn Springs said he'll practice Tuesday and expects to play against his former team on Saturday. Considering the Seahawks have a more balanced attack than Tampa Bay, his presence is important. Springs also said he's healthier than he's been in weeks, leading to optimism that the secondary is finally 100 percent. With that, assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams can be even more creative. And that could be the extra edge Washington needs.

Bad news: End Renaldo Wynn underwent surgery today on his broken forearm and his season is over. The Redskins can recover from his physical loss, though he's strong at the point of attack and good at forcing plays wide or turning them back in. His attitude will be missed the most. Wynn is as hard-working and professional as they come. It's why players genuinely teared up when talking about his plight after the game. What touched them most: the sight of his young daughter outside the locker room crying at halftime. Her dad was hurting. She hurt, too.

Taylor made: Redskins safety Sean Taylor picked the wrong time to have a flashback to the immature behavior of the past. Taylor denies spitting on Michael Pittman, but here's the thing: an official was standing right there. And he never hesitated on his call, even allowing Pittman to retaliate. Do we really know what he did? No, but there was also no reason to engage in a jawing match, either. Stuff like that can cost teams games. The Redskins are lucky it didn't. As for Saturday, from what we've heard, Taylor won't be suspended. Fined, maybe; but he should be able to play unless the league has a change of heart later in the week. But Taylor should check out the two late pass plays if he wants to do a repeat. The Bucs went over the top twice after he left. In both cases, the receivers were open.

Offensive MVP: Are you kidding?

Offensive problems: Part of the trouble starts at quarterback where Mark Brunell is either hurting worse than anyone knows or has completely hit a wall. We're guessing it's more of the former. His throws are way off suggesting something physical. The Redskins need a better showing from him to upset Seattle. The worst part was his decision-making, resulting in the late interception. On the play, Brunell made a horrendous mistake by throwing back across his body. He also made a poor decision earlier in the game when he dumped a pass to Clinton Portis for a five-yard loss.

Other problems: But give Tampa credit for some of the troubles. The Bucs' have a very fast front and solid secondary. And their linebackers are excellent. They played closer to the line of scrimmage as the game unfolded, taking away cutback lanes for Clinton Portis. He had nowhere to run. Also, their speed presented problems for right guard Ray Brown. He needs the game to be about power, not speed. Alas, Seattle has a quick front, too. But the Redskins became highly predictable after taking a 14-0 lead and that didn't help. They didn't look good; they can look better.

Defensive MVP: Marcus Washington. The longer the season goes on, the more the rest of the league should see what a horrendous mistake it made by not selecting him to the Pro Bowl. What a crime. Washington had 10 tackles, forced and recovered a fumble and made the game-clinching interception.

Close call: The Redskins benefited from the correct call in the end zone. It's a tricky and possibly unfair rule. But it was called the right way. Here's a tip for Edell Shepherd: next time, hang onto the ball.

Good to see: Linebacker LaVar Arrington make a big play. Arrington is starting to show more signs of being a playmaker as he was in previous seasons. And, by the way, from what we hear he actually enjoys playing for Gregg Williams. One thing: we thought Arrington could have scored on this interception had he turned out rather than back in. But it was still a good sight.

Early line: Las Vegas isn't giving Washington much of a chance, making them a sizable underdog. But keep this in mind: Seattle, though good, needed major blunders by the Giants and Cowboys to beat them at home. The Seahawks are not unbeatable. Oh, and the Redskins did beat them earlier in the year. If the Redskins can provide Brunell time, they can pick up big plays against this secondary.


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