LANDOVER, Md. -- In the locker room, the quarterback presented the game ball to the rookie head coach, who was still wet from the celebratory sideline ice bath. The coach then gave the ball to Mr. Irrelevant, a player no longer worthy of his nickname.
The Kansas City Chiefs are winless no more. Neither is coach Todd Haley, who earned victory No. 1 with an assist from the last player taken in this year's draft. Ryan Succop kicked four field goals in Sunday's 14-6 win over the Washington Redskins, whose season is tanking toward oblivion because of losses to winless teams.
"We made it pretty difficult, right down to the end," Haley said. "We've pushed through a very difficult period. We needed to get some positive reinforcement with a win."
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Punt, pass and Judge
Succop, chosen No. 256 from South Carolina, converted from 39, 46, 46 and 24 yards, and Tamba Hali added a safety for good measure, sacking Todd Collins in the end zone in the final minute. The Chiefs (1-5), who had lost 28 of their previous 30, avoided the first 0-6 start in team history.
"There's been a lot of change, but this has definitely been special," said quarterback Matt Cassel, who got his first Chiefs win after coming from New England in an offseason trade. "We rose to the occasion. We made some big plays. We put ourselves in a position to score points."
The dreary game between two dreary teams on a dreary day produced two simple truths: The Chiefs won't go 0-16, and the Redskins can't get in the end zone regardless of who is playing quarterback. Afterward, the Redskins told embattled coach Jim Zorn they're taking away his play-calling duties; a replacement is expected to be announced Monday.
Booed mercilessly again -- as they have been at every home game -- the Redskins failed to get more than a temporary boost after Zorn benched Jason Campbell at halftime and opted for Collins.
Collins immediately led two drives for field goals that gave Washington a 6-3 lead, but the Redskins failed to score a touchdown at home for the second time this season.
"I felt the need to create a spark on our football team offensively and went with Todd," said Zorn, whose postgame news conference was punctuated with frequent, deep sighs. "I think the guys responded well. We kept our spark, at times, and then we refizzled."
The Redskins already had embarrassing losses to Detroit and Carolina. They are 2-4 despite being the first team in NFL history to open the season with six straight games against winless opponents. The questions about Zorn's job security and the overall future of the franchise will only intensify as the schedule gets tougher.
"When you lose to teams that you know you should beat, when teams that hadn't won a game come in and beat us, it just makes it tough," defensive end Phillip Daniels said inside a quiet and sparsely populated locker room. "Everybody's looking at us as a win right now, and until we change things and turn that around, they're going to continue to look at us that way."
Nobody was expecting a classic, and it sure wasn't one. There were 15 punts, including one that was blocked. Cassel was sacked five times. Clinton Portis had a career-long 78-yard run, but the Redskins had only 30 yards rushing otherwise. The teams combined to convert only 6 of 31 third downs. Washington had just seven first downs. Two of the Chiefs' scoring drives were aided by personal foul penalties.
Campbell went 9 for 16 for 89 yards, including an interception on a downfield heave on the final play of the half. With a big zero on the scoreboard, Zorn went with Collins, who hadn't played since the end of the 2007 season. The move energized the crowd, with stadium-wide cheers greeting No. 15 as he ran onto the field.
Collins' first pass was a 42-yard completion deep over the middle to Santana Moss, but Collins had only 33 yards passing the rest of the game.
A personal foul on Kareem Moore during a Kansas City punt return gave the Chiefs good field position for the go-ahead score. Starting at Washington's 36, they picked up one first down before Succop made it 9-6 with 3:36 to play.
The fourth field goal and the safety were gravy - and made for a happy Chiefs locker room for the first time in a long time.
"We got haters everywhere we go," sang tight end Leonard Pope.
Haters? But you won.
"They'll love us this week. Hate us next week. It's a yo-yo," said Pope, who then spread his arms wide and smiled. "Hey, I'm happy. By any means necessary. That was the thing today -- whatever it takes."
- Portis' long run came after he sat out a series with a sprained ankle. He finished with 109 yards rushing, topping 100 for the first time this season.
- Neither team had its regular left tackle: Kansas City's Brandon Albert (ankle) and Washington's Chris Samuels (neck) were both inactive.