Turnovers Finally Come, and They Come in Pairs

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 20, 2006

TAMPA, Nov. 19 -- The Redskins' turnover drought is finally over, after 22 quarters and five full games, but even that made no impact on their lost season. Washington forced two take-aways in a 20-17 loss to Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium, falling to 3-7 with one win in their last six games.

The Redskins produced both take-aways in the second quarter, but entered the game ranked last in the NFL in that category, and had not intercepted a pass or forced a turnover since their Week 4 win over Jacksonville. The Redskins came in last in the NFL with two interceptions -- just one by a defensive back -- and three fumble recoveries (second worst in the league), then produced one of each in an 11-minute 7-second span Sunday.

The first turnover was a gift. The Buccaneers had just used their final timeout on third and nine, but botched the snap. Tackle Cornelius Griffin got to quarterback Bruce Gradkowski before the passer could hop on the loose ball, and linebacker Marcus Washington recovered it.

The Buccaneers then drove 85 yards at the end of the first half to move into scoring position, but on third down, cornerback Shawn Springs jumped on a slant route by Joey Galloway, his teammate at Ohio State, and picked off the pass, ending the drive at the 10-yard line and effectively ending the dour half of football with a 3-3 score.

Springs, who missed much of the season with a sports hernia, said: "I probably could have had one or two more picks. I feel like I'm starting to get my legs back."

Comings and Goings

Rookie wide receiver Mike Espy did not catch a pass, but fulfilled a lifelong dream, active for his first NFL game after spending all season on the practice squad. He was activated when tight end Christian Fauria was placed on the injured reserve list with an ankle injury, ending a pedestrian first season in Washington.

Santana Moss, the team's top wide receiver, sat out his second game in three weeks with a hamstring injury that threatens to cloud the remainder of his season. David Patten, a key free-agent signing in 2005, was inactive for the sixth straight game and has only 23 catches for 242 yards as a Redskin, with no touchdowns.

Fauria, Patten and wide receivers Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El (2006 acquisitions) have a total of 61 catches for 701 yards in a combined 42 games with Washington. Lloyd and Randle El combined for just three catches and 38 yards Sunday. Lloyd dropped a 50-yard bomb on the opening play, the first NFL pass by quarterback Jason Campbell.

"I could have caught that," Lloyd said.

Third-Quarter Drought Ends

The Redskins snapped a streak of five straight games without scoring a third-quarter point, producing a touchdown on the first drive of the second half. . . . Tailback Ladell Betts, starting in place of Clinton Portis (on IR), had just seven rushes for 18 yards. . . . Reserve tight end Todd Yoder, filling in for Fauria, caught his first pass as a Redskin, scoring a touchdown in the dying seconds. . . . Linebacker Rocky McIntosh, the team's top pick in 2006, has yet to play in the base defense even though the team traded two picks, including a second-rounder, to draft him. . . .

Rookie Kedric Golston got the start for the second straight game at defensive tackle in place of Joe Salave'a, continuing a changing of the guard there.

Staff writer Howard Bryant contributed to this report.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company