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Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III is quickly emerging as one of the faces of the NFL. It wasn’t long ago that Josh Freeman appeared headed toward Griffin’s current status. One common denominator shared by the young QBs is attempting to break two-game losing streaks when the Redskins visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon. Washington, surprisingly, is the league’s highest-scoring team but it has also allowed the second-most points in the NFC.
The Buccaneers, under rookie coach Greg Schiano, will be playing their third consecutive NFC East opponent following back-to-back losses at the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. Freeman and his offense have ground to a halt in the last six quarters, blowing a 14-point second-half lead to the Giants before falling to the Cowboys 16-10 last week.
ABOUT THE REDSKINS (1-2): Griffin has injected life into Washington’s offense despite the absence of wideout Pierre Garcon, who has missed the last two games after suffering a foot injury on an 88-yard touchdown pass in the season opener. Griffin has a passer rating of 103.5 and has run for 209 yards, helping the Redskins amass an NFC-best 180.7 yards rushing per game. The defense, however, has been singed for more than 30 points in each game, including 69 the past two weeks in losses to St. Louis and Cincinnati – not exactly offensive powerhouses. Season-ending injuries to LB Brian Orakpo and DE Adam Carriker offer little promise for a quick fix.
ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (1-2): Tampa Bay was well on its way to a 2-0 record, laying a hurting on the defending Super Bowl champions before they were shredded for 25 fourth-quarter points by Eli Manning and the Giants in a 41-34 loss in Week 2. There appeared to be a carry-over effect in last week’s loss at Dallas, when Freeman turned in a dismal performance (10 of 28, 110) yards and the Bucs managed only 166 yards of offense – with nearly half of that coming on the game’s final drive. Tampa Bay has the league’s top rushing defense, but suffered a big blow when DE Adrian Clayborn, the team’s sack leader in 2011, suffered a season-ending knee injury.
1. The game features the two worst pass defenses in the league. Tampa Bays yields 353.3 yards per game while Washington surrenders 337.3.
2. Bucs S Ronde Barber and Redskins LB London Fletcher have each played in 227 consecutive games, the longest active streaks in the NFL.
3. Tampa Bay has won six straight home games against the Redskins.