WASHINGTON -- Strong male voices chorused in song "t Brother Chip" in the Washington Redskins' locker room after their homely -- not quite ugly -- 19-15 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
The song was a tribute to kicker Chip Lohmiller for the four fielgoals, including a 55-yarder, that bailed them out. It was also an anthem of thanks for an escape as narrow as the score.
Controlled savagery by the Redskins' defense kept the gamclose enough to be won by kicks after the game plan was lost in a melange of dropped passes (nine) and penalties (11). The performance left general manager Charley Casserly protesting that "we're not that kind of a team."
The Redskins' inadequacies were temporarily obscured by ainjury that put quarterback Mark Rypien out of the game and probably out of several more.
After Rypien's seriously sprained left knee is "evaluated" todayCasserly will sign an emergency replacement who (a) has NFL credentials, (b) is at contractual liberty and (c) isn't Doug Williams.
Casserly eliminated Williams with the stipulation that the neman be "somebody who was in a [training] camp this year." The exclusion may give rise to questions of racial discrimination suggested in Williams' recently published memoir. Remarks to that effect were heard on a Washington talk show before sundown yesterday.
Rypien's work was finished shakily yesterday by StaHumphries, who was spectacularly unprepared when Rypien went down with 2:11 left in the first half. Humphries' only &L regular-season experience since leaving the Southland Conference three years ago was some minutes of mop-up in two out-of-control games last year. He had spent the week in practice playing the role of Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman. And he had been watching his teammates demonstrate what can happen to young quarterbacks; they sacked Aikman eight times.
Humphries rated his work "mediocre." But he was proud of 17-yard throw to Ricky Sanders. It is "hard," Humphries understated, "to come in cold and throw right away," and this was the third serious pass of his professional career.
"I read it all the way," Humphries said. "Ricky was my second othird option." And he waited, under a rush, for Sanders to get open. The pass set up a Lohmiller chip shot for a 6-3 lead at the half.
Humphries' figures were mediocre. He was sacked three timeand completed five of 13 for 58 yards. But none of his 13 passes was intercepted. For the record, coach Joe Gibbs has called Humphries the best "pure thrower" with whom he has worked.
Ironically, Rypien was injured (ex-Redskin Dean Hamel blockeinto him by guard Mark Schlereth) as he completed a 15-yard pass to Art Monk. It was his third in a row for a total of 44 yards. His passes up to then had been erratic, high and low, as they had been in the first two games of the season.
It could have been worse. With the score tied, 3-3, midway in thsecond quarter, Dallas faced a third-and-10 at the Washington 32. As Aikman called the cadence, Redskins linebacker Wilber Marshall started into the field, as if he was to be part of the Skins' nickel defense.
He was, but he wasn't sure so he didn't go on. The play went ofwith 10 Redskins playing. Aikman's low pass bounced in front of wide receiver Kelvin Martin as Brian Davis tangled with Martin in the right flat. So Cowboys kicker Ken Willis had to take a 51-yard field-goal shot. It hit the right post, high.
Willis backed off 9 yards for that one and he tried a 56-yardefrom 8 yards behind scrimmage as the half ended. It was far short. Lohmiller took his 55-yarder from his usual 7 yards deep. It got there. He has not missed a kick this year.
Redskins coaches might have second thoughts about theiemergency procedures. For 32 minutes yesterday their backup quarterback was rookie running back Brian Mitchell.
Mitchell was a quarterback at Southwest Louisiana and hpractices what he calls "my game plan" (a package of about eight plays), "only on Saturday," he said. Except on a Saturday like a week ago, when the Redskins were flying to San Francisco.
The coaches keep it simple: "I don't have to read, or audible,Mitchell said. "The main thing is to get the snap." Just in case of emergency.
But for the rest of the game the coaches were courtinemergency, keeping Mitchell on all four kickoff and punting teams, the most dangerous parts of the game.
Mitchell took the second-half kickoff on the goal line and starteto cross left. Safety Stan Smagala tried to arm-tackle Mitchell (and, it turned out, had his arm broken in the process) and veteran Bill Bates hit him a big-league shot.
The ball squirted loose and Dallas recovered. It was the ground, Mitchell was saying after the game, that caused the fumble. People who were at the bench said that for a little while Mitchell was in no condition to know what caused the fumble.
The hit "wasn't much," he said. And it never occurred to him hmight be relieved of special-team duties, to be whole in case Humphries went down. Apparently it never occurred to anybody.