The only playoff win of the Joe Gibbs II era came five years ago today in Tampa. It has to be one of the least-celebrated of the Redskins' playoff wins because of the utter offensive futility they displayed during the game (their 120 yards of total offense was the fewest ever for a winning team in the playoffs). Still, a playoff win is a playoff win so it's worth taking a look back.
From the pages of The Redskins Chronicle:
Redskins 17, Buccaneers 10
NFC Wild Card Playoff
Raymond James Stadium
Saturday, January 7, 2006
The Redskins turned two takeaways into two first-quarter touchdowns and their defense—and some good fortune—made those scores stand up as Washington beat Tampa Bay 17-10. It was the Redskins’ first playoff game since 1999.
It was a good thing that the defense was able to set up a score. Washington struggled offensively, gaining a net of just 120 yards. No team in NFL history has won a postseason game while gaining so few yards.
A LaVar Arrington interception set up the first score. A crucial assist goes to defensive tackle Joe Salave’a, who tipped Chris Simms’ first pass of the day into the air. Arrington came down with it and sprinted to the Bucs’ six-yard line. Clinton Portis took it in on the next play and John Hall’s conversion made it 7-0.
The Redskins doubled their lead on the Buccaneers’ next possession. Tampa Bay was on the move with a first down at the Washington 34. Carnell Williams took a handoff and started up the middle. Marcus Washington stripped away the ball and grabbed it while on the ground. As no Buccaneer had touched him, Washington got up and started to run with the ball— until it got knocked out of his hands. Sean Taylor swooped into the picture, gathered up the bouncing ball while barely breaking stride, and had nothing but green grass and white stripes between himself and the end zone. His 51-yard return put the Redskins up 14-0.
It was a defensive struggle throughout. After the Bucs drove to a field goal late in the first quarter, the Redskins responded with their only sustained scoring march of the game. They moved 40 yards in 10 plays to get into position for Hall to kick a 47-yard field goal and reestablish their two-touchdown lead.
After that the Redskins had eight more possessions. They did not net more than nine yards on any one of them. They did muster a couple of first downs, but a fumble and a sack knocked them back below double-digit yardage each time.
Simms heated up a bit and led a 51-yard touchdown drive, running it in himself from two yards out. The going got a bit easier for him after Shawn Springs left with a groin injury and Taylor was ejected after spitting in a player’s face. Brian Kelly’s interception of a Brunell pass gave Simms a shot at tying it up with 3:43 left to play.
On third down from the Washington 35, Simms launched one for Edell Shepherd in the end zone. The receiver lunged, caught the ball and controlled it momentarily, but when he hit the ground the ball fell loose. Officials correctly ruled the pass incomplete, citing the rule that the receiver must maintain control of the pass if he hits the ground. After a replay review, the referee said the same thing. Simms’ fourth-down attempt was incomplete.
Marcus Washington snuffed out Tampa Bay’s last chance with an interception in the last minute.