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Campbell passes for two TDs in debut, Redskins lose

Nov 19, 2006 - 10:00 PM TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Jason Campbell threw for two touchdowns in his NFL debut. But the second-year player no longer has a "Cadillac" in his backfield.

Rookie Bruce Gradkowski threw for a pair of touchdowns and Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, a former college teammate of Campbell, rushed for 122 yards to lead the Buccaneers to a 20-17 victory over the Washington Redskins.

It was a rematch of a playoff game won here by the Redskins, 17-10, last January. But in that contest, Mark Brunell was the quarterback for the Redskins (3-7) and Chris Simms directed the Buccaneers (3-7).

Brunell was benched earlier in the week by coach Joe Gibbs, who decided to give Campbell his first start. A first-round pick out of Auburn in 2005, Campbell completed 19-of-34 passes for 196 yards with no turnovers.

"I thought Jason did some good things," Gibbs said. "I thought he handled things well on the road against a very good defense. I wish we could have found a way to win it for him, but there just wasn't something there to get it done today."

Gradkowski, a sixth-round pick out of Toledo, took over as the Bucs starter after Simms underwent a splenectomy following a loss to Carolina on September 24.

Gradkowski is now 3-4 as a starter after completing 14-of-21 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. He also has Williams, who carried the ball 27 times, in his backfield.

"If you can run the football you're going to win a lot of games and today we showed that," Gradkowski said.

"Just from watching film, we knew we were going to be able to attack them with the running game," Williams said. "In the second half, we really started to establish the run. It was a good job by the guys controlling the line of scrimmage and Bruce stepped up and made a lot of plays."

That's a luxury that Campbell had at Auburn in 2004 when the Tigers enjoyed an unbeaten season.

The Redskins played without running back Clinton Portis, who is out for the rest of the season, and top wide receiver Santana Moss, who is bothered by a hamstring injury.

Ladell Betts and T.J. Duckett combined to rush for 44 yards on 12 carries in Portis' absence.

The game was tied, 10-10, until Gradkowski hit Joey Galloway with a 34-yard touchdown pass with 9:35 left in the fourth quarter.

"They gave me the all-out blitz and I went to the other play and Galloway did a great job of getting open," Gradkowski said.

A 26-yard run by Williams set up a 31-yard field goal by Matt Bryant, increasing the Bucs' lead to 20-10 with 3:50 remaining.

Campbell then directed a 14-play, 80-yard drive which he capped with a four-yard scoring pass to former Buccaneer tight end Todd Yoder with 32 seconds left in the game.

Michael Clayton recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the win.

Campbell's first TD pass was a three-yard toss to tight end Chris Cooley with 9:34 left in the third quarter, giving the Redskins their first lead, 10-3.

"I thought Jason did a great job protecting the ball and made some good throws," Cooley said. "He was comfortable in the huddle. He'll grow more and more confident getting the plays in and adjusting to the tempo of the game."

But Gradkowski then engineered a 14-play, 85-yard drive which lasted more than 8 1/2 minutes and resulted in a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Becht which deflected off Galloway

"I ran a slant to control some inside guys coming and he (Gradkowski) threw it toward Galloway and I turned around," Becht said. "The ball deflected in the air, kind of slow motion. I'm just glad there were no defenders to bump me off."

Bryant kicked a 26-yard field goal with 3:50 left in the first quarter after fullback Mike Alstott gained 25 yards on three carries.

Campbell hit Betts with a 14-yard pass and connected with James Thrash on a 15-yard pass before Nick Novak kicked a 45-yard field goal with 1:01 remaining in the first quarter.

The Bucs will play at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

"We travel on Wednesday, so one good day of practice and we'll be ready for Dallas," Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber said.

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