TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Josh Harvey-Clemons returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown and Dustin Hopkins kicked two field goals to help the Washington Redskins finish an unbeaten preseason with a 13-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night.
With every starter, and many key backups, sitting out on both sides, the Redskins dominated statistically for much of a game in which neither team was able to get the ball into the end zone until Harvey-Clemons scored with 5:27 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Sputtering offense was a problem for the Bucs all preseason, even with Jameis Winston directing an attack that’s expected to be more explosive following the acquisition of receiver DeSean Jackson and drafting of tight end O.J. Howard.
Winston threw for more than 4,000 yards in each of his first two pro seasons, however Tampa Bay had difficulty scoring points while winning just six games two years ago and going 9-7 in 2016, when the team missed the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season.
The Bucs’ first-team offense worked 14 possessions over three preseason games, producing one touchdown and five field goals.
With backups Ryan Fitzpatrick and Sefo Liufau running the show against the Redskins, there was little for fans in half-empty Raymond James Stadium to cheer about.
Third-stringer Nate Sudfeld started at quarterback and played the entire game for Washington, which outgained the Bucs 194-40 in the opening half.
Fitzpatrick started for Tampa Bay and completed 2 of 7 passes for 6 yards before being replaced by Liufau late in the second quarter.
Liufau, an undrafted rookie from Colorado, rebounded from throwing the interception Harvey-Clemons ran back for Washington’s only touchdown by leading a late scoring drive that ended with Bernard Reedy’s 10-yard TD catch.
The starters rested for both teams, with the Bucs holding out a total of 37 players. The Redskins released a list of 33 players who were not expected to play, including 2016 first-round draft pick Josh Doctson, who sat out the third preseason game Cincinnati with hamstring/groin tightness. Doctson missed almost all of last season with Achilles tendon injuries.
Redskins: DL Jonathan Allen and LB Ryan Anderson, the team’s first- and second-round draft picks, did not play. Anderson has been out with a shoulder stinger since the first preseason game.
Buccaneers: Howard, a first-round draft pick and college teammate of Allen and Anderson at Alabama, did not dress. LB Kendall Beckwith, competing for playing time behind starting strong-side LB Devante Bond, had five tackles in the opening half.