Jim Zorn stormed 10 yards onto the field, mad as a hornet, when the Washington Redskins had to waste a timeout in the first quarter because they had 12 men on the field.
Later in the half, the coach flung his play sheet to the ground when holder Durant Brooks' bobble led to a botched field-goal attempt. Even Steve Spurrier's tantrums never were so passionate.
More displeasure was on display when Jason Campbell missed chances to make some big plays as drives kept dying in the red zone in the first half.
"We left some things on the field that I was hot about, and he knows it because I was jumping up and down," Zorn said. "I was telling him the reason I was jumping up and down — I was trying to get to his eye level so I could actually look him in the eye."
All NFL games have peaks and valleys of emotion, but a rookie coach's first win is an especially energy-sapping experience, particularly when he's someone who wears his competitive heart on his sleeve. Zorn was happy but exhausted after Sunday's come-from-behind 29-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints, one that might have seemed a long time in coming after such a disappointing debut a week earlier.
"You kind of wonder, especially with the way the last of the preseason went and the first game, 'Gosh, can we really win?' " Zorn said Monday. "And we did. We can really do it."
The win brought immense relief. Another bad outing, especially by the offense, would have further seeded doubts as to whether Zorn's schemes could work. The word "trust" came up often in the game's aftermath in describing the formative relationship between the coach and Campbell, and both made it clear they are developing a better sense of give and take.
"We've been talking a lot about trust," Zorn said. "It really has to do the quarterback. You have to be able to trust the guy that's out there that he's going to actually execute — that he can look at the guy, turn him down and go to the next guy, that's really what we were talking about. It's that kind of trust. He's earning it."
The trust was challenged when all five first-half drives ended in field-goal attempts, leaving the Redskins trailing at halftime in a game they were dominating statistically. Washington's nadir came as the Saints were leading by nine early in the fourth quarter, when Campbell was sacked at his 6 for a 12-yard loss at the start of a drive.
Zorn called a play into Campbell using the button-controlled coach-to-quarterback headset, then looked up in horror when the quarterback brought the team to the line of scrimmage.
"I'm saying, 'What are we doing?' " Zorn said. "I'm saying, 'This is not it!' 'What did he call?' I'm mashing the button, going 'What did you call?' but they cut you off after 15 seconds."
Campbell thought he had the wrong personnel for Zorn's play, so he called something else. He hit tight end Chris Cooley for a 23-yard completion over the middle, igniting a touchdown drive on which he went 5-for-5 for 82 yards.
"I think that was the biggest play in the game," Campbell said.
Added Zorn: "That was all Jason Campbell. I had nothing to do with that play."
Campbell, of course, also drew raves from Zorn for the 67-yard go-ahead touchdown pass to Santana Moss on the next possession. Campbell audibled the pass protection at the line of scrimmage, noticed there was no safety playing deep, stepped up to avoid the rush and hit Moss in stride.
Then came the audacious play that cemented the win, when Zorn trusted Campbell to complete a fourth-and-2 pass inside the 2-minute mark when just about any other coach would have run or punted. Campbell's final numbers: 24-for-36 for 321 yards, with many of those completions to the second or third options — as opposed to the locked-in-on-one receiver mode Zorn didn't like against the Giants.
"We kind of liked his improvement," Zorn said. "Now we want to put these things back to back. I want to see even better play in the weeks to come."
Zorn said he celebrated his first win for "a few hours." Among the calls he received was one from fellow first-time head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens.
"He said, 'Hey, I know how you feel today,' because he won last week big for his first NFL win," Zorn said. "There was a special feeling about getting a win."
NotesWR James Thrash has a high ankle sprain and is wearing a walking boot, leaving in doubt his availability for next week's game against the Arizona Cardinals. ... WR Malcolm Kelly also has a sprained ankle, but his injury appears minor. ... Zorn said he will explore alternates at punt returner in place of Antwaan Randle El, whose fumble set up New Orleans' first-half touchdown. "Antwaan, he's not a schmuck when it comes to punt returns," Zorn said. "I'm not down on him at all; we just need to get more production there." ... Brooks was downcast Monday over a performance which included two poor punts and the mishandled field-goal snap. "I'm a rookie and I haven't proved myself," he said. "Having a bad game like that, I'm sure brings up tons of questions — wondering if I can get the job done."