Washington's offense managed as many three first downs on just one drive and got a 47-yard field goal out of it that John Hall just pushed over the crossbar. The Redskins averaged four yards per series in the second half, but still hung on to beat Tampa Bay 17-10 in Saturday's wild-card game despite a total of just 120 yards, the fewest ever by a playoff victor.
The players on the Redskins' offense know that a similar performance in the divisional round game this Saturday at Seattle will end their season because they can't count on the defense holding the Seahawks' top-ranked offense so tightly in check.
"All of us on the offensive side are saying that we can't show up the same way we did (in Tampa) because we know (the Seahawks) are going to put points on the board," center Casey Rabach said.
"Knowing that we were going against (Tampa Bay's) No. 1 defense, our defense had to match their intensity," Pro Bowl receiver Santana Moss said. "And that's what our defense did. Now we're going against a great offense and our offense has to match theirs."
Moss said that the offense got intentionally conservative after the Redskins went on top 14-0 just 10:45 into the game.
"When we got ahead like that, as an offense, you try not to do too much to lose what you've got," Moss said. "We controlled the ball more than we tried to make anything happen. We tried to move the ball and score points, but we didn't (really) go at it (as creatively). You're going to have games like that, but we won, so it doesn't really matter."
Indeed, struggling quarterback Mark Brunell threw just nine passes in the final 49:15. This even though record-setting running back Clinton Portis was in and out of the lineup with shoulder stingers that caused his arms to go numb at times.
"I'm all right," Portis said. "It's just wear and tear from a long season. I'm all right. I took two direct shots on it, which usually never happens. I kept getting stingers and my arm was going numb. And we were up so there wasn't any use of going in and taking that pounding. As long as were in (good) position, we were going to go with Ladell (Betts). It won't stop me from playing (in Seattle). I'll get some deep tissue massages and I'll be geared up to play."
Brunell and director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said that the sprained right knee that sidelined the quarterback in the second half of the Dec. 24 victory over the New York Giants isn't hampering him. But in the two games since he was hurt, the normally accurate Brunell has been way off target, completing 16 of 40 passes for 182 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
"Mark looks fine to me," Moss said. "He's out there playing. I never question anything when I see a guy on the field."
Replay vs. Bucs
The proud Washington defense was embarrassed when it left Raymond James Stadium on Nov. 13 after surrendering 36 points to a not very good Tampa Bay offense.
Given a second chance at the Bucs in Saturday's wild-card game, the defense wasn't going to be denied. Assistant head coach Gregg Williams, the man who runs the defense, told the offensive players that if they managed even a field goal, his boys would take care of the rest.That they did. In fact, if Washington linebacker LaVar Arrington had been able to take his interception return all the way to the end zone instead of leaving the final six yards to Portis, the Redskins' defense would've outscored both offenses as safety Sean Taylor returned a fumble 51 yards for a touchdown before being ejected for allegedly spitting on Bucs running back Michael Pittman in the third quarter.
--CB Shawn Springs missed the Tampa Bay game with an ailing groin but said on Sunday that he was feeling much better and would play on Saturday at Seattle.
--DE Renaldo Wynn had two plates placed in his broken right forearm on Sunday and will be placed on injured reserve this week.
--WR James Thrash will have a small plate and two tiny screws placed in his fractured thumb on Monday and could practice later this week and play against the Seahawks.
--FS Sean Taylor's ejection-earning alleged spitting incident will be reviewed by the NFL promptly. A league source said that a fine is more likely than a suspension. If a suspension would be levied, it likely wouldn't be assessed until next season.--CB Carlos Rogers said the ailing left biceps that had kept him out of the previous three games held up fine. He'll play on Saturday.