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Run 'D' Faces Another Challenge




Through four games, the Redskins were solid in terms of their run defense. They hadn't given up a 100-yard game to any back. That changed on Sunday, when the Redskins came up empty and lost to the Giants 19-3 at the Meadowlands.

Tiki Barber produced 123 yards on 23 carries, helping the Giants dominate time of possession. On that count it was Giants 34:47, Redskins 25:13.

It was Barber's third 100-yard game versus the Redskins in 18 career tries. He didn't explode for 206 yards as he did in last year's matchup at Giants Stadium but he was effective enough.

Said Redskins defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin: "Tiki's a patient back. He gets in behind those big offensive linemen, and sometimes he's hard to find.

"As far as moving forward, we have to tackle better. And we have to play better on first down. Those two things are really hurting us right now."

The last time the Redskins gave up 100 yards to a running back came last season on Week 12 in a 23-17 loss to San Diego in overtime at FedExField. That's the day LaDainian Tomlinson of the Chargers totaled 184 yards and three TDs on 25 tries.

This year, Julius Jones of the Cowboys rushed for 94 yards against Washington on Week 2, Chester Taylor of the Vikings 88 in the opener. Both of those backs were kept in check but Barber was able to break through versus the Redskins' run stoppers.

It may be an issue once again next Sunday at FedExField when the 0-5 Tennessee Titans visit. Tennessee gave Indianapolis a tough fight before falling 14-13 on Sunday afternoon at the RCA Dome.

In that one, Tennessee picked up 100 yards on the ground in the first quarter alone and finished with 214 rushing yards. The Titans' Travis Henry logged 123 yards on 19 carries.

Additionally, Tennessee features the swiftest quarterback the Redskins will see until Week 13 and Michael Vick.

Vince Young scrambled four times for 43 yards in the game at Indianapolis. The much-heralded rookie out of the University of Texas sparked Tennessee with a 19-yard TD run in the first quarter of the game versus the Colts.

So far, the Redskins have faced plodding quarterbacks the likes of Brad Johnson, Drew Bledson, Byron Leftwich and Eli Manning. Putting it mildly is to note that Vince Young represents a serious change of pace.

With last season's 35-20 Week 16 win at FedExField, the Redskins gained a measure of revenge for the 36-0 loss to the Giants three months earlier.

This time around, the Giants are at FedExField on Week 17, which may shape up as a huge NFC East showdown given the tightness of the division after five weeks.

If that's the case, the Redskins had better figure out how to deal with Tiki Barber.

Washington had gone 11 straight games (counting the post-season games at Tampa Bay and Seattle) without giving up 100 yards to any one rusher. Barber broke that string yesterday.

"They really didn't do anything that surprised us today," said Redskins cornerback Kenny Wright, who had nine tackles, second on the team to Adam Archuleta's 10 stops. "It was just mental mistakes on our part. We preach getting off the field on third down. That didn't happen today."

Added linebacker Warrick Holdman: "They like to run with Tiki to the left side. That's their scheme, for whatever reason. We just didn't get the job done today."

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