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Redskins Defense Turns In An Inspired Effort in Victory Over Buccaneers

Albert Haynesworth (92) is in the middle of the action as Jeremy Jarmon, on the ground, forces a fourth-quarter fumble from the Buccaneers' Clifton Smith. Chris Horton came up with the recovery for the Redskins.
Albert Haynesworth (92) is in the middle of the action as Jeremy Jarmon, on the ground, forces a fourth-quarter fumble from the Buccaneers' Clifton Smith. Chris Horton came up with the recovery for the Redskins. (By Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post)
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At halftime, the Redskins trailed 10-0 and entered the locker room to a chorus of boos. But on just the third play of the third quarter, Hall intercepted Johnson and ran to the Bucs 41-yard line, giving the Redskins their best starting field position of the day. Washington went on to kick a field goal for its first points.

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Prior to the interception, Hall was in the huddle, barking to his teammates that he felt an interception return for a touchdown was coming.

"He didn't get to the house, but he did get the interception," Fletcher said. "He predicted that one."

Said Hall: "It was an emotional play. We were on the sidelines, just talking. We needed to make a play, period -- to come out there and make a play as a defense, to come off the field and give the ball to the offense. We haven't been giving them too many chances, helping them out. It just felt good to help them out and give them the ball."

Entering the game, Blache declared that he would be more aggressive as a play-caller, saying he would be more of a "maverick" and a "riverboat gambler." To that end, he inserted safety Reed Doughty into the starting lineup and called for risky blitz packages. Cornerback Justin Tryon came up with a big third-down sack in the second quarter on such a blitz.

"I think our players loved it," Zorn said of the defense's aggressive play-calling. "Now that's not going to be an every-game deal, but today was the day. [Blache] calls himself a maverick or whatever, but this is our package and he just called it up."

After the game, Blache said he didn't think the Redskins actually blitzed as much as they usually do, but they did show blitz formations on many occasions in an attempt to rattle the Bucs' young quarterback.

"When you go look at it, you're not going to see a lot of blitzes. Three or four. Not as many as you usually do," Blache said.

So what of last week's threats of a riverboat gambler wearing a headset?

"Sometimes you just make them think it," Blache said with a smile. "You put the clothes on and you look the part."

To minimize the one-on-one matchups and make sure the mobile quarterback didn't take advantage of open field, the Redskins played a lot of zone defense. But players say it was their mentality more than the formations that was more aggressive on Sunday.

"We really talked about, no matter what was called, being aggressive," said Doughty, who played a role in nine tackles, tying him with Fletcher for the team lead. "So even if it was zone, we're going to aggressively play this zone; we're going to aggressively play every call."

The Redskins' defense has held 26 straight opponents to 27 or fewer points, the longest such streak in the league.

"This is how we should be," defensive end Phillip Daniels said. "This is how we should always be. As long as we continue to do this, we can win some games."


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