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News & Notes: Road Woes Continue

The Redskins continue to struggle in road games, falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 36-35 in a key NFC matchup on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. The loss dropped the Redskins' record on the road to 1-4 this season.

Since Joe Gibbs' return, the Redskins are 4-9 in away games..

Before the game, players were pinpointing Sunday's game as key to getting back on the winning track on the road.

"We take each game one step at a time," Portis said. "We've had some road games that we felt we should have won. To be a great team, you have to win on the road. Coach Gibbs has preached that to us. We're perfect at home. If we can go on the road, compete, and play hard, who knows where we'll be?"

Said safety Ryan Clark: "In our one road win at Dallas, if Santana [Moss] and Mark [Brunel] don't hook up for two fourth quarter touchdowns, we may not have won that game. We really haven't proven that we can win consistently on the road.

"Even if you win all of your home games, it's not going to be enough to get you into the playoffs. We have to string some road wins together. We always talk about holding serve at home. We've been doing that this year, but on the road, we haven't played the way we would have liked. We've had some tough road losses. If we can get one or two of those swinging our way, and keep winning at home, we'll be okay."

Added offensive lineman Randy Thomas: "Even if you go 8-0 at home, that doesn't buy you anything. We have to win the road games."

The Redskins return to FedExField for the next two weeks to face off against the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers. Then they head out on the road again for two weeks, first against the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 4, then to the southwest to play the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 11.

-- NEW SIMMS ON THE BLOCK

For the third time this season, the Redskins faced a relatively inexperienced quarterback in Tampa Bay's Chris Simms.

But Simms showed that he could be the Bucs' quarterback of the future, as he completed 15-of-29 passes for three touchdowns, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Ewell Shepherd with less than a minute left.

Earlier this season, the Redskins' defense limited Chicago rookie quarterback Kyle Orton to 15-of-28 for 141 yards and one interception in the season opening 9-7 win over the Bears.

In Week 7, the defense terrorized 49ers' rookie QB Alex Smith, holding him to 8-of-16 passing for 92 yards and one interception in the Redskins' 52-17 win over San Francisco.

Simms, who is the son of former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, is different than Orton and Smith because he is in his 3rd year in the NFL. He has tutored the last two seasons behind veterans such as Brad Johnson and Brian Griese. With Griese currently sidelined due to injury, Simms started his 3rd game of the 2005 season on Sunday.

Entering the Bucs game, the Redskins were prepared for Simms' best effort, despite his inexperience.

"You can't live off of [what the defense did against Orton and Smith] because that's history," linebacker Marcus Washington. "The most important game is the next one. We know that they're going to be ready to compete. Simms is a competitor. He's taken some shots on film, but he sticks in there. He's tough."

Added Clark: "Obviously, the guy is talented. We knew we would have to keep the pressure on him. Any quarterback, if he sets his feet and has time in the pocket, is going to be able to hurt you."

-- WINNING TRACK

Joe Gibbs has always preached the importance of games late in the season. Historically, Gibbs-coached teams have produced an 80-35 record in November and December games, including the first two November games of the 2005 season.

Gibbs has always downplayed his record in November and December.

"The past buys nothing," Gibbs said. "We'll see how we do this year. We try to work hard in the weight room and we try to practice as physical as we can. But we've had to back off some this year because of injuries and the fact that we've played a lot of physical teams.

"It also helps if you have something on the line late in the year. Right now, the hardest thing that you have going for yourself--human nature being what it is--is that it's the middle of the season. Guys can't see the end. You have a tough time getting them to focus on how important each game is."

-- ROYAL BACK

Tight end Robert Royal was back in the lineup after missing last week's game due to a calf injury. Royal, who was not listed on the team's injury report last week, did extra work to ensure he was back at full health.

"My conditioning was down a little bit, but by doing extra running throughout the week, I knew I'd be fine," Royal said.

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