LANDOVER, Md. -- Within the first two minutes, the Washington Redskins had given up two sacks and lost a fumble.
They had also allowed a quarterback making his first NFL start to throw for a touchdown on his first pass of the game. By halftime, they were down 10 to a winless team, and Jason Campbell had thrown two interceptions.
Forget all that talk about whether Jim Zorn would last the season. For a while, one had to wonder whether the booing fans would allow the coach, his quarterback and the rest of the team back on the field for the start of the second half.
Spurred by an interception by DeAngelo Hall, the Redskins found some of the energy, life and momentum that had been missing all season. They rallied to score on three straight possessions in the third quarter Sunday and beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-13.
"At halftime, I was like, if we don't pull this one out, I don't know what I'm going to do on Monday," Campbell said. "I might as well hibernate."
It was another narrow win over a bad team, much like the 9-7 ugly result against the St. Louis Rams that felt more like a loss two weeks ago. But Washington (2-2) nevertheless has a .500 record, and that doesn't look so bad in print -- especially after last week's sky-is-falling loss to the Detroit Lions.
"It's a good feeling because of what we had to go though all week, hearing all those things about losing to Detroit and all that stuff," defensive end Phillip Daniels said. "So it's a great feeling just to be 2-2."
The loss left Buccaneers rookie coach Raheem Morris still seeking his first NFL victory, but it's not as if Tampa Bay (0-4) didn't finally have its chance after three double-digit losses to start the season.
Mike Nugent missed two first-half field goals and was 0 for 4 on the season until making a 37-yarder on the final play of the half, and Aqib Talib's three interceptions lose some of their glow because he was beaten down the right sideline on the 59-yard pass from Campbell to Santana Moss that gave the Redskins the lead for good.
"I bet he'd give the other three back for that one," Morris said.
Campbell finished 12 for 22 for 170 yards with two touchdown passes and three interceptions. He claimed it was the first three-interception game of his entire football life -- including Pee-Wee ball.
"It was really frustrating for us all. I started looking at the game plan, wondering: What else could go wrong?" Zorn said. "It was, offensively, like two different halves."
Nimble second-year quarterback Josh Johnson went 13-for-22 for 106 yards with one touchdown and one interception for the Bucs. He also ran seven times for 41 yards.
"The young kid didn't do a bad job at all for it being a hostile environment like this," said Cadillac Williams, who ran for 77 yards on 16 carries. "We can't do nothing but go up from here; we're 0-4. That's how we've got to look at it."
Johnson threw an 8-yard scoring pass to Antonio Bryant just 120 seconds into the game, but that was Tampa Bay's only touchdown. The Redskins, who entered the game last in the NFL in third-down defense, allowed the Bucs to convert just 2-of-13 on Sunday.
"I mean, it was just one of those things: Look, we're at a point in the season where ... we had to stand up," said defensive coordinator Greg Blache, who gave his players an unusually emotional Saturday night speech. "We had to change. We had to draw a line in the dirt."
Publicly, Blache had promised a "riverboat gambler" and "maverick" approach to the defense this week, but he said he didn't blitz or take any more chances than usual.
"Sometimes," he said, "you just make 'em think it. You put the clothes on and look the part."
The Redskins had to use place-kicker Shaun Suisham as their punter after Hunter Smith injured his groin on the first punt of the game. Suisham, who hadn't punted since high school, had three punts for a 26.7-yard average. Smith said he's not sure if he'll be able to play next week. ... Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber blocked an extra point. ... Bucs DE Gaines Adams had an impressive stat line: five tackles, one sack, two thrown-for-loss tackles, one quarterback hurry, one deflected pass and one fumble recovery. ... Nugent hit the right upright with his first attempt, a 49-yarder, and was also wide right from 48 yards. "I'm here to do one thing," Nugent said, "and I just clearly and obviously didn't do it today."
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