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From interception on very 1st play, RG3, Redskins stumble to 27-7 home loss to Bucs after bye

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LANDOVER, Maryland — On the first play of a 27-7 loss to the Buccaneers, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III threw a low pass that tight end Niles Paul bobbled twice before the ball floated away and was intercepted, leading to a field goal for Tampa Bay.

On Washington's second possession — which began, inauspiciously enough, with a false-start penalty on receiver Pierre Garcon — left tackle Trent Williams went down with right knee ligament and ankle injuries and didn't return.

And on Washington's third possession — which opened with a false-start penalty on tight end Logan Paulsen — Griffin was picked off again, this time when linebacker Marion Foster reached up to deflect the pass and cornerback Johnthan Banks grabbed the ball to return it 19 yards for a touchdown.

That elicited boos from the home crowd, a soundtrack heard repeatedly Sunday after mistakes by the Redskins — including another turnover, two missed field-goal attempts by Kai Forbath, and a complete inability to cover rookie receiver Mike Evans.

"It was a travesty out there," Griffin said.

Rookie coach Jay Gruden's take after his team fell to 3-7?

"It really looked like the first preseason game," Gruden said.

The Redskins are now 1-8 in Griffin's past nine starts, dating to last season — and the only victory in that span came in Week 2 against Jacksonville, when the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year left in the first quarter with a dislocated left ankle. He returned in Week 9, when Washington lost at Minnesota; the Redskins then had their bye last week, but that extra time to rest and prepare showed zero benefits against Tampa Bay (2-8).

Gruden was asked what has happened to Griffin since his breakout first season after winning the Heisman Trophy and being the second pick in the NFL draft.

"That's something that we have to find the answer to," Gruden said, "and he has to find the answer to."

PHOTO: Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Brandon Dixon (39) knocks down Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) during the first half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Brandon Dixon (39) knocks down Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) during the first half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

Asked whether Griffin has shown he should be the team's starting quarterback, Gruden replied: "After today's performance, nobody proved they deserved to start anywhere."

"Offensive line, we've got to look at," he added. "Running backs. Everybody. You hate to pin a struggling performance on one person until you see the film. ... This was a total team effort, this horrific game. But he has got a lot of improving to do, obviously."

The defense allowed Evans to catch seven passes from Josh McCown for 207 yards and two TDs — the best receiving day for an NFL rookie since Anquan Boldin of the Cardinals in 2003 also topped 200 yards and had two scores.

Griffin was 23 for 32 for 207 yards, the pair of interceptions, and a 30-yard touchdown off a screen pass to Roy Helu in the last minute of the second quarter. He was sacked six times.

All of this came against an opponent that had one win all season before Sunday and entered with a five-game losing streak, scoring no more than 17 points in any of its four most recent games.

"It was just bad ball out there today. It was not looking past Tampa Bay, because we can't afford to look past anyone," Griffin said. "We are not a very good football team right now and (we) have a long way to go. Every guy has to look himself in the mirror and say that."

Notes: Williams has an MCL injury and will have an MRI on Monday. Other Redskins injuries: DT Chris Baker (chest), LG Shawn Lauvao (concussion), TE Jordan Reed (hamstring), LB Trent Murphy (knee). ... Forbath had made 15 of 16 field-goal attempts this season, including 11 in a row. He went 0 for 2 on Sunday, missing tries from 47 and 50 yards, both wide right.


Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich


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