The Buccaneers offense made plenty of noise against the Redskins in their Week 10 matchup. But ultimately, the cannons at Raymond James Stadium that fire after every Tampa touchdown were kept silent throughout Washington's 16-3 victory.
That's largely because the burgundy and gold defense turned the Bucs over four times, three of which came with Tampa in 'Skins territory.
The two interceptions and two forced fumbles, combined with plenty of ineptitude from the hosts, added up to a final stat line for Buccaneers' offense that made absolutely no sense: 501 yards but only three points.
It was the very definition of bend but don't break defense by the Redskins. It also was the fewest points ever scored by a team to post 500-plus yards in a game.
And for Jay Gruden, it was more than enough.
"They were dinking and ducking us pretty good and getting some plays down the field, but for the most part, we just hung in there," Gruden said following the game.
"That’s what it’s all about and you just have to keep playing until the drive is over because good things will happen, and we did that.”
In their Week 9 loss to the Falcons, Greg Manusky's unit was only able to generate one turnover and Matt Ryan and Co. moved the ball with ease. Atlanta finished with 38 points.
This time around, though, Ryan Fitzpatrick gave the ball away three times on his own. So, despite the fact that he had no trouble finding his receivers on nearly every dropback, their final output was just a single field goal.
Things absolutely need to be cleaned up in the secondary for the remaining seven weeks of the year, but takeaways can erase a lot of wrongs. Acrobatic interceptions like the one Josh Norman made early in the first quarter or high-effort, intelligent punch outs such as Ryan Anderson's in the fourth are plays that secure wins.
"You gotta go out there and put the fire out," Anderson said. "It was a real testament to this defense and what we can become... Everybody stays poised, don't point fingers and just go out there and make the play when it's time to make the play."
The most encouraging part of Sunday, though? Leaders like Jonathan Allen and DJ Swearinger were still totally focused on where they came up short.
Blogs like this one can celebrate the timely defense. But guys who want to be a part of something bigger need to care about fixing mistakes for the future and not get overly excited about a single November victory.
“Still not overly happy with our performance," Allen told reporters. "They missed some opportunities that we gave them. We’ve got to tighten it up as a defense.”
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