- The Washington Times - Monday, October 5, 2009

The Washington Redskins were staring at another dark, gloomy outcome Sunday — in this case an upset loss to the woeful and winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then the clouds suddenly parted.

A week after ending the Detroit Lions’ 19-game losing streak, the Redskins again were sputtering on offense before quarterback Jason Campbell connected with Santana Moss down the sideline for a 59-yard touchdown pass. It put the Redskins ahead for the first time with 1:22 left in the third quarter, and they wound up winning 16-13 before a restless crowd at FedEx Field.

Moss took advantage of rare single coverage on the play. Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib intercepted three passes in the game to tie a club record, but this was not one of them. Campbell faked to running back Clinton Portis, and Moss put a double move on Talib, beat him soundly and caught the pass in stride.

“You’ve got to be ready,” said the veteran Moss, the Redskins’ only big-play wide receiver. “They showed me kind of like a cloud all game. They were gonna cloud me and have a safety over the top. And just when they didn’t, we had the perfect play dialed up.”

Tampa Bay is where the cover two defense was refined and became known as the Tampa 2. It’s designed to take away the big play, especially down the middle of the field.

“It’s what they do,” Moss said. “And they do a good job of it. They’ve been doing it ever since I’ve known about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I’m just glad we got something out of it because it’s hard to be a receiver in a game like this when they play a cover two all game and all you have is outside routes.”

This time, though, the Bucs weren’t in it.

“The first thing I told the offensive line is this will be a touchdown,” Campbell said.

Added Moss: “That’s all I need, single coverage here and there. When you’re getting doubled, you can’t throw to somebody. I thrive to get a chance to be singled, but it seems like when I get those chances, I do stuff like that, but it gets me doubled again.

“But it all comes with the territory. I appreciate it that when I’m not covered we get opportunities like that. When I’m covered, I tell Jason all the time, ‘Hey, somebody else has got to be open, so let’s not force anything.’ ”

But if any other wide receivers were open, Campbell either failed to notice or could not accurately deliver the ball. Moss was the only wideout with a catch, and he had just two total. Tight end Chris Cooley caught five passes for 65 yards. Running backs Ladell Betts and Mike Sellers combined for four receptions.

Last week against the Lions, Moss caught a 57-yard touchdown pass as part of a career-high 178 receiving yards. With his catch against the Buccaneers, he became the first Redskins receiver with touchdown grabs of at least 50 yards in successive games since Gary Clark in 1987.

Moss didn’t know this. Not that it would have mattered. In light of the pessimism and ill feelings swirling about the team, he was just relieved not to talk about another ugly loss.

“We’re getting a lot of criticism from anywhere you can call it,” he said. “But at the end of the day, if you sit back and worry about what somebody’s telling you about what you do, then you’re not in it for the right reasons. It’s tough to be the quarterback of this team. It’s tough to be the head coach of this team. It’s tough to be the owner of this team. D.C. wants so much, and we want to do that for them.

“Particularly today, we wanted to get a win here, just to show the fans that, yeah, we hear y’all. Yeah, we understand what y’all are feeling and what y’all are going through. But just believe — we’re going through the same thing. You think we want to be in this situation? You think we want to play the way we’ve been playin’? No. The only way for us to come out of it is to come out and do what we do.”

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