The returning Pierre Garcon recovered fumble in the end zone, Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris each had rushing touchdowns and DeAngelo Hall recorded his first interception of the season as the Washington Redskins built a convincing 21-6 halftime lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Griffin was stripped of the ball as he plummeted toward the goal line on the final play of the first quarter, but the wide receiver was able to fall on it to give Washington their first points of the day.
Hall intercepted a Josh Freeman pass intended for Vincent Jackson with 11:19 remaining in the second quarter, setting up the Redskins at the Buccaneers’ 35-yard line.
Seven plays later, Griffin tied the franchise record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season with a five-yard scramble into the end zone.
The rookie passed for 145 first half yards behind a 12-of-15 performance. He added 11 more on the ground, including the score.
Morris’ 39-yard touchdown in the second quarter put the stamp on a strong 75-yard first half showing against the league’s top-ranked rushing defense.
Heading into Sunday’s contest the Buccaneers had given up an average of just 47.3 yards per game on the ground.
Washington’s secondary, seemingly without answers in the first three games, stiffened to limit Freeman and the Buccaneers to 82 passing yards in the first two quarters. The unit yielded just 132 yards overall.
Trent Williams, who was limited in practice with a bone bruise this week, was able to start.
The start of the game was overshadowed by a freak pre-game collision that delayed Brandon Meriweather’s debut and kept wide receiver Aldrick Robinson on the sideline.
Video of the accident showed Meriweather writhing in pain after the hit, holding his the same troublesome left knee that has kept him on the shelf this year.
Both players were subsequently placed on the team’s inactive list.
Also on the injury front, Niles Paul served as the return man on kickoffs in place of Brandon Banks. The regular return man landed on this week’s injury report with a hip ailment.
Banks did maintain punt return duties.