Redskins

NFL Capsule-Buccaneers at Falcons

NFL Capsule-Buccaneers at Falcons

TAMPA BAY (6-9) At ATLANTA (13-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

OPENING LINE - OFF

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Tampa Bay 6-6-2; Atlanta 9-5-1

SERIES RECORD - Tied 19-19

AP PRO32 RANKING - Buccaneers No. 22; Falcons No. 2

LAST MEETING - Falcons beat Buccaneers 24-23, Nov. 25

LAST WEEK - Buccaneers lost to Rams 28-13; Falcons beat Lions 31-18

BUCCANEERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (10), RUSH (16), PASS (9)

BUCCANEERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (29), RUSH (1), PASS (32)

FALCONS OFFENSE - OVERALL (7), RUSH (28), PASS (5)

FALCONS DEFENSE - OVERALL (23), RUSH (20T), PASS (23)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - In last game between teams at Georgia Dome on Jan. 1, 2012, Falcons scored 42 first-half points in 45-24 win as Michael Turner had 172 yards rushing with two TDs. ... Falcons clinched home-field advantage through NFC playoffs in last week's win over Lions. ... Buccaneers, who have lost five straight, had five turnovers in each of last two losses. ... Josh Freeman has thrown eight interceptions in past two weeks. He threw three interceptions previous eight games. ... Freeman needs 157 yards to become franchise's first 4,000-yard passer. ... Vincent Jackson needs 69 yards to break Mark Carrier's franchise record of 1,422 yards receiving in season. ... Rookie Doug Martin third in NFL with 1,766 scrimmage yards (1,312 rush, 454 receiving), a Bucs rookie record. Martin tied for lead among NFC rookies with 10 rushing TDs. ... Safety Ronde Barber, who had interception in last game against Falcons, is only player in NFL with more than 25 sacks (28) and 40 interceptions (47). ... Falcons QB Matt Ryan's 56 wins in first five seasons are most in NFL history. He has best home record in Super Bowl era at 33-4 (.892) and trying for 12th straight home win. ... WR Roddy White has sixth straight 1,000-yard season. White's 558 receptions since 2007 lead NFC. ... Thomas DeCoud second among NFL safeties with six interceptions. ... TE Tony Gonzalez, named to 13th Pro Bowl team, needs two catches to reach 90 for fifth time in career. ... DE John Abraham has 14 1/2 sacks in last 18 games.

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Josh Johnson, Redskins had a message before the Jaguars game, 'F– it'

Josh Johnson, Redskins had a message before the Jaguars game, 'F– it'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- On Sunday, Josh Johnson started his first NFL game since 2011. For the first time in his NFL career, Johnson won a game as a starting quarterback. 

His career arc has been anything but normal, but for Johnson, the win in Jacksonville carried more weight than most. 

"I know every opportunity I get could be my last one, that’s just the reality of my situation," Johnson said. "I just want to leave it all out on the field. I owe this game that much because I love it that much."

Johnson's situation is unique, and just getting a start in 2018 is a big surprise. It only happened because the Redskins had two quarterbacks break their legs, Alex Smith and Colt McCoy, and Mark Sanchez was wholly ineffective at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense. So Gruden turned to Johnson, somebody the coach knew from his days in Tampa, a decade ago. 

"That’s Jay. He’s always been the same. That’s what I love about Jay. He’s been consistent with me since day one when I met him in Tampa," Johnson said. "I respect people who are consistent. He never changes who he is. He respects his position and he does a great job at coaching us."

Gruden turned to Johnson because the coach believed the passer gave the Redskins the best chance to win. Yes, Johnson has played for 12 NFL teams, but there's a reason so many organizations have had interest over the years. He has a big arm and good wheels on top of natural leadership capabilities. 

Against the vaunted Jaguars defense, it was almost as important what Johnson didn't do as what he did. 

The Redskins didn't turn the ball over once, and largely, that's a credit to Johnson. No interceptions. There was a fumble, but Morgan Moses recovered it. 

When the Redskins won games earlier this season, winning the turnover battle was a huge portion of their winning formula. With Johnson in charge, the offense did their part. 

He also completed 16 of 25 passes for 151 yards and threw the game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Johnson also made plays with his legs when he needed to, rushing nine times for 49 yards. 

A number of Redskins players talked after the game about Johnson's poise, about believing in him at QB even without much evidence to support that belief. Trent Williams said after the game that the team could feel Johnson taking control of the offense during practices leading up to the Jacksonville game.

In a way, much like Gruden trusted Johnson from their time spent together in Tampa many years ago, the team trusted Johnson on Sunday even after only a 16 throws in a Redskins uniform.

It says something about Johnson too, and something about his situation.

For the quarterback, it was about a message. A mindset. 

"It was all about resiliency. We had a message in the week. I’m not going to say the words, but it was ‘f’ it. We just said we wanted to have that mentality, and everybody applied that out there. You felt it in the sideline. We were never rattled. It was my job as the quarterback to make sure I keep my cool because the defense feeds off the offense; the offense feeds off the defense, special teams. It was just a great team effort."

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LeBron James had his worst-ever game against the Wizards in Lakers' loss

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LeBron James had his worst-ever game against the Wizards in Lakers' loss

No Wizards fan needs to be reminded of the torment their favorite team has suffered at the hands of LeBron James for the last decade-and-a-half. He has eliminated them from the playoffs three times, scored 57 in their building and hit a variety of game-winning shots.

So, it should be considered no small feat what the Wizards did on Sunday night in their 128-110 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. They held James, arguably the league's best player, to only 13 points. That's his lowest scoring total ever against the Wizards franchise.

James has played the Wizards 65 times over the years, between the regular season and the playoffs. His previous career low vs. the Wizards was 14, back on Feb. 7 of 2004, when he was a rookie.

While in the Eastern Conference for his first 15 NBA seasons, James played the Wizards four times a year and often had the upper-hand. In his career, even with Sunday's loss, he is 30-19 against them with a 26.9 points per game average.

Usually, James powers his way to the rim against the Wizards and scores at will. Not on Sunday night.

"I have no clue," head coach Scott Brooks said when asked for the secret to shutting him down.

"It seems like every night it's 40 points here. He makes shots. Last year, here I think he averaged [39.9 points, 11.0 assists and 10.0 rebounds]. He's a pretty good player."

James shot just 5-for-16 from the field on Sunday, good for 31.3 percent. He was 0-for-2 from three and had four turnovers with only three assists. He was a -21 in the box score.

Some of James' struggles could be attributed to fatigue, as the Lakers played the night before in Charlotte. And James did have an off-night with some missed shots he would otherwise make.

But the Wizards had a plan and it worked. They deployed Jeff Green to guard him in isolation. Green is not only the Wizards' best match from a physical standpoint, he knows James well having played with him last season with the Cavaliers.

Green did an excellent job matching James' physical style without fouling. He had only one foul on the night despite playing bump-and-run coverage on many of James' drives to the basket.

Green and the Wizards also took away his three-point looks by closing early and making him pass to teammates. James' two three-point attempts were a season-low.

"Give a lot of credit to Jeff. Jeff did a great job," guard John Wall said. "It was one game. We know he is how he is. Just gotta tip your hat for us, making him make tough shots and make plays tonight."

The Wizards wanted others to beat them from long range and James' teammates didn't come through. While James didn't get off many threes, other Lakers did. They just didn't hit them.

Josh Hart went 0-for-5 from long range. Lonzo Ball went 2-for-7 and Kyle Kuzma went 0-for-4. 

“I think we did a good job of making it difficult on [James], showing him a lot of bodies, active hands," guard Bradley Beal said.

With James in check, the Wizards took advantage. They forced 22 total turnovers and that allowed Wall to feast in transition. He scored a season-high 40 points and dished 14 assists.

For one night, the Wizards had James' number. After 16 years of domination, it was about time.

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