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Tampa Bay Buccaneers fall to 0-4 with 16-13 loss to Washington Redskins

LANDOVER, Md. — The final piece of advice quarterback Josh Johnson received before his first NFL start Sunday was to make sure the team photographer took as many pictures of him as possible because — win or lose — he'd want to remember this day.

But after the Bucs' 16-13 loss to the Redskins, he can only hope somebody forgot to remove the lens cover.

Not that the game didn't produce a few Kodak moments for young Bucs such as Gaines Adams and Aqib Talib. And even Johnson helped stake the Bucs to a 10-0 halftime lead with his first pass, an 8-yard touchdown to Antonio Bryant.

But despite the progress, there were enough mistakes by the green-and-growing Bucs to fill a scrapbook.

"They played better, yes," first-year coach Raheem Morris said. "They don't feel any better about the result, and that's the whole thing that matters. We've got to become better finishers. We've got to become guys that come out after halftime and draw blood when we get the ball. We didn't smell it (Sunday)."

What would a slide show of Sunday's game look like?

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There's Clifton Smith, who had just one carry this season before Sunday, pounding the turf in disgust after losing a fumble with 48 seconds to play, ending any comeback hopes.

"Every time I step onto the field, when I have the ball in my hands, I hold the hopes and the dreams of the team," Smith said. "And I just let everybody down."

Smith was in the game instead of …

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Cadillac Williams. This is him on the sideline despite 99 yards from scrimmage (77 rushing, 22 receiving). His 17-yard run got the Bucs, needing a touchdown and extra point to take the lead, to the Redskins 7 with 6:37 left.

"I felt like I was getting into that zone where every cut, every read was the right read. Everything was slowing down," Williams said. "I'm like, 'Let's feed me!' "

Williams was slowed only by …

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Why that's Morris, the NFL's youngest coach whose defense produced four turnovers. But Morris didn't look like he was as desperate for his first win. After the Redskins smothered a quarterback draw, Morris (trailing 16-10) decided to kick a field goal rather than go for it on fourth and goal from the 4 with 4:30 left.

"You can 'what if' for a whole bunch of different things," Morris said. "That was the decision we made, the decision we rode with."

With Cadillac on the bench, Morris was counting on Johnson to drive the Bucs for the winning score when they took over at their 19 with two timeouts and 1:52 left. Never mind he and the offense had converted just 2 of 12 third downs at that point.

"Obviously, before the game, there was a lot of a excitement, a lot of jitters, a lot of different things going through my mind," said Johnson, who was 13-of-22 for 106 yards, a touchdown and an interception and rushed for 41 yards on seven carries.

"Once the game got going, I felt pretty comfortable. I've just got to do better. For us to be 2-of-13 on third down is unacceptable for us as an offense and me as a quarterback."

At the very least, Johnson tried to get in field-goal range for …

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That's Mike Nugent, who had not converted a field goal entering the game and began Sunday by missing from 49 and 48 yards. He made a lot of TV repairmen happy Sunday until nailing a 37-yarder on the final play of the first half.

His 22-yarder that made it 16-13 was partially blocked and barely cleared the crossbar.

"Confidence is my kicker is going to make the next field-goal attempt," Morris said. "When I don't feel like that, it's when you start making bad decisions."

Speaking of good decisions …

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There's Adams and Talib playing like the first-round picks they were. They made life miserable for quarterback Jason Campbell. Talib picked him off three times — tying a team record — and Adams had a sack and recovered a fumble forced by Jimmy Wilkerson.

But the defense also allowed the Redskins to score 16 unanswered points over three possessions to start the second half. Talib was beaten on a double move by Santana Moss for a 59-yard touchdown pass that put the Redskins in front.

That made it an 0-4 record for …

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The Bucs.

Talk about a slide show.

The last time …

The Bucs forced four turnovers Sunday yet lost. The last time they forced four or more and lost was Dec. 24, 2000, 17-14 in overtime to the Packers. In between, they went 22-0.

A look back

How eight notable Bucs quarterbacks fared in their first NFL start:

PlayerAtt.Comp.YardsTDsINTsOpponent/dateResult

Josh Johnson221310611at Redskins, Sunday16-13 L

Bruce Gradkowski312022520at Saints, Oct. 8, 200624-21 L

Chris Simms *856800at Saints, Oct. 10, 200420-17 W

Shaun King19119321vs. Vikings, Dec. 6, 199924-17 W

Trent Dilfer*2374501at 49ers, Oct. 23, 199441-16 L

Vinny Testaverde472236922at Saints, Dec. 6, 198744-34 L

Steve Young271616700vs. Lions, Nov. 24, 198519-16 W

Doug Williams *51901vs. Giants, Sept. 2, 197819-13 L

* Did not finish

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fall to 0-4 with 16-13 loss to Washington Redskins 10/04/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 3:18pm]
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