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Josh Norman implores fans to make FedEx Field a place to 'fear'

Josh Norman implores fans to make FedEx Field a place to 'fear'

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman had a plea for Redskins fans in a tweet Sunday night following the team's big 16-3 win in Tampa Bay: Make FedEx Field a stadium visiting teams 'fear' - not because the Redskins are leading the NFC East for the first time in years with a 6-3 record - but because of Redskins fans.

Shortly after the Redskins' win, Norman complimented the strong showing of fans in Tampa Bay, though he lamented that their home audience wasn't always the rowdiest.

"We come back to our home and guys...they just don't really care. They just boo everything. They're not really behind us," he said.

Norman snagged his second interception in five games in Sunday's win.

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Look no further than the turnover column for why the Redskins captured a key win vs. the Bucs

Look no further than the turnover column for why the Redskins captured a key win vs. the Bucs

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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5 observations from a very ugly Redskins win in Tampa

5 observations from a very ugly Redskins win in Tampa

Fans around the D.C. area probably watched the Red Zone channel instead of the Redskins-Bucs game, and frankly, they were smart to do it. 

The contest was ugly. 

Midway through the third quarter the Washington offense had just 165 yards and was 1-7 on third downs. The Bucs moved the ball, a lot, but weird penalties, turnovers and a terrible kicker buried their scoring chances. 

Still, a win is a win, and the Redskins are now 6-3 and are still in first place of the NFC East going into Week 11. The Redskins have a formula for wins, and while it isn't pretty, it's effective. 

It was quite ugly - The Redskins offense has been a slog for weeks, and the Tampa game might have been the worst of it all. The team had to take a timeout on the third play of the second half. Think about that - the third play after halftime required a timeout. The third play. Out of halftime. How does that happen? Coming into the game, Tampa was giving up 34 points-per-game, last in the NFL. The Redskins scored just 16.

Good, bad and average - Let's start by saying Alex Smith does a very good job of protecting the football. On a scoring drive before halftime, Smith played it smart, didn't take any sacks and navigated the Redskins into field goal territory. He also made a great throw to Josh Doctson on the team's lone TD of the game. Smith doesn't make mistakes. But, and it's a big but, he also doesn't take chances. For the fourth time this season, Smith threw for less than 200 yards, and it was the fourth time in five games he finished below the Mendoza line. 

Good Fitz, Bad Fitz - Ryan Fitzpatrick plays football the way a day trader hits the craps table. Every throw, every snap even, could result in something fantastic or something terrible. There is very little in between. Fitzpatrick piled up the yardage, 329 pass yards, but also had two interceptions and a bizarre penalty on an attempted lateral. He sealed the Redskins win with a late fumble down near the goal line. The Fitzpatrick experience is something everyone should go through, unless you're an NFL coach trying to hold onto a job. Here's the truth: Alex Smith and all of his caution will win wayyyyy more football games than Ryan Fitzpatrick and all his gunslinging. As Charley Casserly described Fitzpatrick, he's Brett Favre without Brett Favre's arm. 

Bending not breaking - The Redskins defense deserves credit too. The unit held an explosive Tampa offense to just three meager points, and while the Bucs piled up the yardage, the team forced four turnovers and kept the Burgundy and Gold in control for much of the game. Josh Norman made a very impressive, athletic interception to start the game. Rookie Greg Stroman grabbed the first INT of his career, and second-year pro Ryan Anderson made a big play, punching the ball out of Bucs RB Jacquizz Rodgers' hands in the fourth quarter. Matt Ioannidis had a sack too, pushing his team-leading total to 7.5 on the year. 

Bad kicker - The Tampa kicking situation is quite bad. Chandler Catanzaro missed two field goals, and missed them bad. On one of them, he even missed the net that hangs up behind the goal posts, and it was on a short kick. That just doesn't happen. Throughout the contest, the Bucs helped the Redskins win, and outside of Fitzpatrick's arm, Catanzaro's leg might have been the biggest booster for the visitors. 

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