Led by rookie running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and their
defense, the Buccaneers won five of their first six games. But
since quarterback Brian Griese suffered a season-ending knee
injury, things have taken a drastic turn.
Chris Simms has lost both of his starts, turning the ball over
three times in each contest.
Simms threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a
touchdown, and lost a fumble in last week's 34-14 loss to
Carolina. The loss dropped the Bucs one game behind Carolina
and Atlanta in the NFC South.
However, Simms is not the only member of the offense not getting
the job done. After rushing for a rookie-record 434 yards in
his first three games, Williams has produced just 62 yards on 35
attempts in his last three contests.
In Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs' second season since returning
to the sidelines, the Redskins are tied for second place in the
NFC East, one game behind the New York Giants.
Ironically, Gibbs' first game out of retirement came against the
Bucs in last season's opener. Clinton Portis rushed for 148
yards, including a 64-yad touchdown on his first carry, to lead
the Redskins to a 16-10 victory.
Mark Brunell completed 21-of-29 passes for 224 yards and Portis
rushed for 67 yards and a TD as the Redskins posted a 17-10
victory over Philadelphia last week.
Gibbs will be looking for improved play on the road, where the
Redskins are just 1-3.
Matchup to watch: Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss, who has
49 catches for 856 yards and five touchdowns, against left
cornerback Brian Kelly.
Series: Washington leads, 7-5.
Next week: Washington hosts Oakland, November 20
Tampa Bay visits Atlanta, November 20
After five wins in six tries, coach Jon Gruden has seen his team implode with consecutive losses, following Brian Griese's season-ending injury versus the Dolphins in Week 6. While the Buccaneers are looking to right the ship, the Redskins simply want to keep the momentum rolling after a huge victory over the Eagles on Sunday night.
The biggest advantage that coach Joe Gibbs' team has in this matchup is a smothering defense capable of exploiting inexperienced QB Chris Simms. If the Buccaneers are unable to establish a more productive running game with Carnell "Cadillac" Williams this week, their chances of winning this game -- and staying competitive in the NFC South -- will be slim