TAMPA — Moving the ball was easy for the Bucs’ passing offense Sunday, until it reached the red zone.
That’s where the NFL’s best passing offense stalled. Four drives were halted by turnovers — two fumbles and two Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions — and two more drives netted no points after Chandler Catanzaro missed a pair of field goals.
But that didn’t help ease the frustration of the Bucs’ wide receivers, who couldn’t get the ball in their hands when it mattered most.
“I don’t know what the recipe is,” said Mike Evans, who caught three passes for 71 yards. “We’re getting down there fairly easy. I don’t know what it is, what we have to do. … I think about that all the time. We have a fast start, and then we slow down or we continue to slow down. We had, what, three points today? That’s our lowest of the season. We’ve got to do better. I have to do better, also.”
In the 12 offensive plays the Bucs ran inside the red zone, they netted minus-8 yards.
Fitzpatrick passed for 406 yards, but he did not have a completion in the red zone, missing on all five attempts, including an interception.
“It’s frustrating,” receiver Adam Humphries said. “That’s pretty much how we all feel right now. Obviously, just looking up at the stat sheet, we had 500 yards of total offense? … To be able to move the ball like that and just not get points is very frustrating.”
Bucs contain Peterson
In preparing for Sunday’s game, the Bucs focused on limiting running back Adrian Peterson, who had rushed for 120 yards or more in each of his past three games against Tampa Bay.
They limited Peterson to 68 yards rushing on 19 carries. His 3.6 yards per carry was his lowest this season in a game in which he had 15 or more carries.
“AP is one of the great backs,” said Bucs defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “Probably going to the Hall of Fame one day. I’d been playing against AP since I got into the league. I know about him. That was the game plan, and I think we executed the game plan. Some stuff we could have done better, but I actually think we executed the game plan pretty good on defense.”
It marked the first time this season that the Redskins won a game in which Peterson rushed for less than 90 yards.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.