- The Washington Times - Monday, January 9, 2006

Gregg Williams told the Washington Redskins offense that if it could manage even a field goal against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, his defense would do the rest.

Apparently, the offense took the Redskins’ assistant head coach-defense at his word.

The Redskins produced only 120 yards of offense — the fewest in NFL postseason history for a winning team — in their 17-10 victory over the Bucs in the first round of the playoffs.

The Redskins picked up three or more first downs on just one drive, a possession that resulted in a field goal John Hall barely pushed over the crossbar. They averaged 4 yards a series in the second half but hung on to win.

In fact, if Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington had reached the end zone on his interception return — he made it to the Bucs’ 6-yard line, and running back Clinton Portis went in on the next play — the Redskins’ defense would have outscored both offenses combined.

A similar performance by the offense in the divisional-round game against the Seahawks in Seattle on Saturday likely will result in a season-ending loss. The Redskins can’t count on the defense holding the Seahawks’ top-ranked offense so tightly in check.

“All of us on the offensive side are saying that we can’t show up the same way we did [against the Bucs] because we know [the Seahawks] are going to put points on the board,” center Casey Rabach said yesterday.

Said receiver Santana Moss: “Knowing that we were going against [Tampa Bay’s] No. 1 defense, our defense had to match their intensity. And that’s what our defense did. Now we’re going against a great offense, and our offense has to match theirs.”

However, Moss also said the offense intentionally became more conservative after the Redskins went on top 14-0 just 10:45 into the game.

“When we got ahead like that, as an offense, you try not to do too much to lose what you’ve got,” Moss said. “We controlled the ball more than we tried to make anything happen. We tried to move the ball and score points, but we didn’t [really] go at it [as creatively]. You’re going to have games like that, but we won, so it doesn’t really matter.”

Indeed, struggling quarterback Mark Brunell threw just nine passes after the Redskins went up two scores even though Portis was in and out of the game with shoulder stingers that caused his arms to go numb at times.

“I’m all right,” Portis said. “It’s just wear and tear from a long season. I’m all right. I took two direct shots on it, which usually never happens. I kept getting stingers, and my arm was going numb. And we were up, so there wasn’t any use of going in and taking that pounding.

“As long as we were in position, we were going to go with Ladell [Betts]. It won’t stop me from playing [in Seattle]. I’ll get some deep tissue massages, and I’ll be geared up to play.”

Both Brunell and director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said the sprained right knee that sidelined the quarterback in the second half of the Dec. 24 victory over the New York Giants isn’t hampering him. But in the two games since he was hurt, the normally accurate Brunell has been way off target, completing 16 of 40 passes for 182 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

“Mark looks fine to me,” Moss said. “He’s out there playing. I never question anything when I see a guy on the field.”

Notes — Safety Sean Taylor’s ejection from Saturday’s game after an official said he spit in the face of Bucs running back Michael Pittman will be reviewed promptly by the NFL. Taylor told Redskins coaches he didn’t spit. A league source said a fine is more likely than a suspension. If a suspension is levied, it likely wouldn’t be assessed until next season. …

Thousands of fans greeted the Redskins when they returned to Redskin Park on Saturday night.

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