Through four games to start the 2015 season, the Redskins did not allow a 100 yard rusher. In the last two weeks, however, Washington has given up almost 400 yards rushing. Last week against the Jets the 'Skins were absolutely gashed on the ground, giving up more than 220 yards in a 34-20 loss.
Early this year, the Redskins forged an identity as a tough defensive team focused on stopping the run and an offense that runs the ball well. That identity has been erased the last two weeks, and with Tampa coming to town on Sunday, Washington needs to find it.
"We’re going to continue to work on our running game and we’ll get some better looks," head coach Jay Gruden said. "It starts this week. Our guys have been issued a challenge and hopefully, they’ll rise up to it and get our running game back on track because we have to."
But even if the 'Skins can get their own run game going, which has produced a little more than 80 yards in two weeks, they still must stop Doug Martin and the Bucs. In their last two games, Martin has rushed for nearly 230 yards, three TDs and is averaging more than 5 yards per carry.
To stop that, the Redskins defense must redouble efforts against the run. Some of that could be aided by their own offense producing longer drives, but ultimately, it falls on Joe Barry's unit.
"We have to run the football, that’s what we believe in," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. "It doesn’t really matter who we play, we have to try to establish the run."
Prior to a bye week last Sunday, Tampa was trending upwards. The Bucs have scored more than 60 points in their last two games, a win over Jacksonville and a tight loss to undefeated Carolina.
Will the Redskins be able to slow Martin and the Bucs? Let us know in the comments.