The Washington Redskins turned in another underwhelming offensive performance on Sunday in their 16-3 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
For the fourth straight week the Redskins failed to surpass the 20-point mark. Quarterback Alex Smith passed for 178 yards and Adrian Peterson ran for just 68.
But for the third time in four weeks the Redskins won. They're 6-3, two games ahead of Philadelphia despite a rash of injuries and inconsistency on offense. Washington will have to be better in a stretch of games that includes hosting the Houston Texans on Sunday followed by road games at Dallas and Philadelphia.
The Redskins were playing without three starters on the offensive line, wide receiver Jamison Crowder and running back Chris Thompson.
"Probably early in the game it was conservative with the new line that we had and their defensive line was pretty good," coach Jay Gruden said at his Monday press conference. "Then we kind of settled down a little bit in the second half, had some nice plays, some good drives, but for the most part with the defense, they were on the field a lot. They (Tampa Bay) had great ball control, they were moving up and down the field."
Tampa Bay outgained Washington 501-286 but couldn't find the end zone. They committed four turnovers and kicker Chandler Catanzaro, since released, missed two field goals.
The Redskins can't count on that same kind of cooperation from the Texans.
"We have to do better on offense and there's a lot more for us to get offensively and defensively for that matter," Gruden said. "I'm glad that we're winning without a doubt. We're 6-3 in first place, that's a heck of deal after nine games, but I'm also excited with the fact that we have not played our best yet and I think the best is yet to come. It's our job as coaches to make sure we do the best we can to get it out of them."
Washington's offense was aided greatly by the kicking game on Sunday. Dustin Hopkins converted all three of his field goal attempts and punter Tress Way continued to flip the field, averaging 49.4 yards on five punts.
"He had another outstanding game," Gruden said of Way. "He's starting to show off a little bit, I told him today. He's just dropping the ball, pin pointing balls at the three, four-yard line and our guys, our gunners, don't even have to down them. They are back spinning and he looks like he's hitting soft 9-irons into the Masters ninth green for goodness sakes, so he's doing a great job."
--T Trent Williams (thumb) is not expected to return this week. "No, I don't expect him to practice this week," Gruden said. "He's still got the big old cast on there."
--T Geron Christian tore his MCL in Sunday's game. Gruden said he will need surgery and is out for the year.
--WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) could return Sunday against the Texans. "I think he's probably going to get another MRI just to make sure everything is on track as far as the healing process is concerned," Gruden said. "If it is, and he can practice Wednesday and Thursday, there's a good chance he'll be up."
--WR Maurice Harris led the Redskins with five catches for 52 yards against the Buccaneers.
--CB Josh Norman intercepted Tampa Bay's Ryan Fitzpatrick at the goal line on the opening drive in Sunday's win, providing an early momentum shift.