What we know: Scouting the Buccaneers

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,Jeffrey Tomik

1 Vulnerable against the pass » Tampa Bay has allowed an NFL-worst 353.3 passing yards a game -- 16 yards more than the Redskins' 31st-ranked pass defense. But New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning's 510-yard performance may have slightly skewed that figure. Last week the Buccaneers' pass defense bounced back against the Cowboys, holding Tony Romo to 283 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. The Bucs' safeties -- 16-year veteran Ronde Barber and first-round pick Mark Barron -- have been susceptible to big plays. Tampa Bay has allowed an NFL-high 17 passes of 20 yards or more. But if the Redskins are without Pierre Garcon for a third straight week, they will lack their deep threat.

2 But tough to run against » While the back end of the defense has struggled, the Bucs' front seven has been tough. Tampa Bay has allowed an NFL-low 47.3 rushing yards a game and 2.3 yards a carry. In Week 1 against the Panthers -- the top rushing team in the NFC last year -- the Bucs held Cam Newton and Co. to 10 yards rushing on 13 carries. With defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who has three sacks this season, the Redskins will have a tough time up the middle. Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris (263 yards, three TDs) has run well, but this will be his toughest test to date.

3 Rookie runner » The Bucs traded into the end of the first round to draft running back Doug Martin out of Boise State. The rookie won the starting job over LeGarrette Blount but has averaged only 3.4 yards a carry. Martin opened the season with 95 yards rushing and 23 yards receiving but has only rushed for 119 yards on 39 carries his last two games. Only 14.3 percent of his carries have gone for a first down -- the lowest rate of any back in the league with 60 or more rushes -- and his long on the season is only 17 yards.

4 Turnover battle » Despite the Redskins (plus-6) and Bucs (plus-4) having two of the best turnover margins in the NFL, both teams are 1-2. With a rookie quarterback and running back, Washington has taken care of the ball extremely well so far. But Robert Griffin III and Morris must be careful against the Bucs, who have six interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

jtomik@washingtonexaminer.com

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