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Defense Saves the Day in 19-13 Win Over Skins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (5) throws a second-half pass as guard Aaron Sears blocks Washington Redskins' Cornelius Griffin, right, during an NFL football game Sunday Nov. 25, 2007 in Tampa, Fla.

A key interception by Ronde Barber made it possible for the team to breathe easier this weekend; Barber’s INT with 3:40 left in the game and a pick by CB Brian Kelly with 17 seconds left allowed the Buccaneers to escape with a 19-13 victory over the Washington Redskins at Raymond James Stadium.

Tampa Bay, unfortunately, played the vast majority of the game without starting quarterback Jeff Garcia; he left the game on the first play and did not return until the 11 minute mark of the fourth quarter. Reserve QB Bruce Gradlowski replaced him in the meantime. The Bucs dominated the first half, scoring on a 1-yard rushing touchdown by RB Earnest Graham and four field goals by kicker Matt Bryant, giving Tampa a 19-3 halftime lead.

The Redskins would rally back, however, on QB Jason Campbell’s 39-yard TD pass to tight end Chris Cooley and kicker Shaun Suisham’s second FG, narrowing the Tampa lead to 19-13. The Bucs in return would being Garcia back into the game, mainly because Gradkowski couldn’t take advantage of the turnovers created by the Bucs defense. The Bucs D had 6 takeaways; they also stopped Redskins RB Clinton Portis on 4th-and-inches from the Bucs 5.

Tampa’s Garcia, during his short time in the game, was 2-for-4 for 9 yards; Gradlowski had a lousy game, going 9-for-19 for 106 yards. RB Earnest Graham led all Bucs rushers with 75 rushing yards and a TD; WR Ike Hilliard led all Tampa receivers with 4 catches for 44 yards. Washington’s QB, Jason Campbell, went 30-for-49 for 301 yards with 1 TD and 2 INT’s. RB Portis led all Redskins rushers with 68 rushing yards, with RB Ladell Betts adding 47 rushing yards of his own. Tight end Cooley led all Washington receivers with 5 catches for 96 yards and a TD; WR Keenan McCardell added 60 receiving yards.

Tampa Bay (7-4), winners of 3 straight, travel west to New Orleans to face the Saints in a key divisinal matchup next Sunday afteernoon.

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