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Run Defense Can't Slow 'Cadillac'

The Redskins had the NFL's 30th-ranked pass defense entering Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

So what did the Bucs do? Run. Run a lot.

Tampa Bay rushed 42 times in the game for 181 yards, a 4.3 yards per carry average. The Bucs' ground game was led by running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, who logged 127 rushing yards on 22 carries.

The Bucs dominated the time of possession, holding on to the ball for 36 minutes.

It all added up to a 20-17 loss for the Redskins--and more questions about a defense that has slipped from among the best in the league the last two seasons.

"They did a good job," cornerback Shawn Springs said of the Bucs' ground game. "They lined up in tank personnel and they were able to bust a couple of runs on us."

A hamstring injury to strong safety Troy Vincent in the second quarter did not help matters. Vincent, whose status will be determined on Monday, was replaced by Vernon Fox.

Head coach Joe Gibbs said the Redskins' inability to run the ball on offense and stop the run was a key factor in the outcome of the lot.

"I think we have certain principles that we know we need to do to win football games, and right now we're not getting it done," Gibbs said. "We have to run, we have to stop the run. That starts with all of us.

"I think any time that you can't get the other team off the field, that's a tough assignment because you don't get a lot of plays on offense. At the same time, when you do get a chance, you have to take it and keep it."

The Redskins' compiled 64 yards of rushing offense in the game, and Ladell Betts had just seven carries for 18 yards.

For the defense, it was the sixth game in a row that they yielded 100-plus yards on the ground. Heading into the game, the defense was ranked 17th against the run.

Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams has tried several combinations along the defensive front, including replacing veteran Joe Salave'a with rookie tackle Kedric Golston in the starting lineup. Salave'a continues to see significant action, however.

"Obviously, the run defense is not where we want it to be," Williams said. "We are playing a lot of combinations of people. You never want to have a team be able to run and pass against you. You want to try and focus in on one of those areas and make a team one dimensional. This last ball game we did not make the team one dimensional."

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