By halftime, Tampa Bay quarterback Doug Williams had figured out how to avoid fumbling the center exchange. But Coach John McKay wished he had come up with the solution much, much earlier.

"I didn't adjust to it (the bad exchanges) fast enough," said Williams, who messed up four snaps, losing three fumbles. "I haven't done anything like that since I've been here. They were great snaps, and bad mishandling by me. The ball just slipped out of my hands."

In the second half, Williams said he didn't put his hands as far under the center, allowing him to get "a better feel for the ball." He also didn't have a turnover after intermission.

McKay: "Those fumbles just shouldn't have happened. We ought to be able to make that basic execution. They put us in a terrible position, although our defense really stopped them several times. But you can't ask them to do that all day. You can't give away the center exchange.

"Our offensive line was getting really frustrated. They really weren't responsible for the fumbles but after a while, you just lose the rhythm of the game."

Two of Williams' fumbles led to field goals by Mark Moseley. The other two contributed to poor field position for Tampa Bay in the first half, which was played in a heavy rainstorm. The Buccaneers (0-2) trailed, 18-6, at halftime.

Still, they closed to within 18-13 in the fourth quarter before failing to stop the Redskins' running game, which dominated the final 15 minutes. The defensive players came away impressed with the work of fullback John Riggins, who rushed 34 times for 136 yards, including 11 carries in the last quarter.

"We knew early on you couldn't handle him with an arm tackle," nose guard Dave Logan said. "We just simply let it get away at the end. They weren't doing anything fancy. It was just a team saying 'Here we are, come and get us.' We didn't come off our blocks as well as we should have and we didn't tackle well enough."

Safety Cedric Brown: "Quite naturally, you can wear down with a power back like Riggins pounding left and right."

Players from both teams said the first-half conditions were among the worst they had encountered in a game.

"You really can see better than you might expect," said Redskin safety Tony Peters, "but what it does is bog everything down. You can't run as fast and things sometimes feel like they are in slow motion. But you have to realize it's the same for both teams.

"We were just happy it got better in the second half. And fortunately the field really drained well. Otherwise, the conditions could have really gotten horrible."

For Williams, the conditions were bad enough already.