1. We asked: What is the impact if Mike Sellers can't play?
Sellers' versatility was missed, especially as a lead blocker. On the fourth and 1 inside the 5, Todd Yoder served as the lead blocker and did not finish his block. His man helped make the play. The Redskins actually did OK in replacing him -- Yoder, Chris Cooley and Brian Kozlowski served in the backfield and Lorenzo Alexander was used often as a tight end, even standing up and cracking back -- but the subtle aspects of Sellers' game was missed -- and no play illustrated that more than the fourth down one.
2. We asked: Will the Redskins stay aggressive offensively?
We didn't think they would be as aggressive as last week. They weren't -- but barely. Washington was forced to play at a different pace after falling behind 19-3. Jason Campbell continues to show he can move the ball well through the air, but if he throws too many passes, he'll still make killer mistakes. If he threw about 30 times, tops, that would be good. Campbell is confident, but the Bucs baited him into one mistake that landed in Ronde Barber's hands -- Tampa had not shown that coverage all day. And Campbell threw too flat to the end zone on the other one. Two bad decisions. Such is life with a young QB, right?
3. We asked: Was last week the start of something for Washington?
We weren't sure and, if not for the turnovers, it could have been. But it wasn't, so it's just another frustrating loss. That's five such defeats this season and counting. It's no longer OK to say how close you were or how you finished in other games. You're now 5-6 and can't close out good teams.
4. We asked: Are the Redskins too banged up to win a big road game?
That's been my biggest concern with this group. Not only was Sellers missing, but so, too was Sean Taylor and James Thrash. Antwaan Randle El left with a hamstring injury; Santana Moss is battling a badly bruised heel; Todd Wade missed the game. Yet they still made a game of it, which is to their credit. But they really are in bad shape to contend for a playoff spot because there's so much damaged goods.
5. We asked: Where should Washington attack the Bucs?
We thought up the middle because of the smaller DTs and that worked OK. But Jason Fabini at RG is simply not the answer and never has been. Ladell Betts did a good job finding cutback lanes. The Redskins also ran OK outside. But the real success came in the passing game.
6. We asked: What makes the Tampa defense so good?
We thought the young safeties, Phillips and Jackson, did a good job and completed this D. Phillips is a big-time hitter who forced one fumble and Jackson recovered two. Also, they ahve key savvy vets like Brooks and Barber plus some speed up front. Greg White gave Washington problems at end.
7. We asked: Who needs to have a big game offensively?
We thought it had to be Jason Campbell -- and we don't always pick the QB. But what we said was that his decision-making would be the key in facing Monte Kiffin's D. Sure enough, Kiffin changed a look, Campbell was baited and it led to his first interception. Campbell had a pretty good game, but, in the end, Kiffin won.
8. We asked: What must they do against Jeff Garcia?
Well, we didn't think they'd knock him out of the game. So even though Garcia returned in the fourth quarter, he was a non-factor. Turns out what they had to do was hurt him early.
9. We asked: Who must they stop?
We thought it was two guys: Earnest Graham and Joey Galloway. The Redskins did a good job on Graham, holding him to 15 yards in the second half. And Galloway did not have a big play so they did well there, too. The line did a good job stuffing Graham, especially the tackles.
10. We asked: Who will win?
We thought the Redskins would win 21-17. My fear, again, involved the injuries. But I still thought the Redskins had a big road win left in them. I didn't count on six turnovers. Six! And somehow they lost by only six; what does that say about the Bucs? Tampa took advantage of the turnovers, turning them into 16 points, and then hung on. It's good that Washington continues to be in games, but that's no longer enough. If the Redskins don't make the playoffs this season, they need to at least build momentum for next year by springing a big road win or by beating a good team period. If they do that and Jason Campbell progresses, then maybe 2008 would be interesting. But let's not jump ahead just yet.
Ten Spot Review: Redskins 13, Bucs 19
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