WASHINGTON -- Art Monk keeps moving up the National Football League receiving ladder.
The veteran Washington Redskins' wide receiver became the third player to catch 700 passes in a career and stretched his consecutive-game string to 110 -- the fifth-longest in NFL history -- in the team's 31-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints yesterday.
Monk, who barely kept his streak alive with one catch against the Philadelphia Eagles Monday night, made four receptions for 43 yards and one touchdown.
He has 702 catches for 9,647 yards. Steve Largent is the all-time leader with 819 for 13,089 yards, and Charlie Joiner is second with 750 for 12,146.
Monk, who rarely gives interviews, declined to comment after the game, but quarterback Mark Rypien praised him as a player and a person after the game.
"Whenever I talk with young kids, I always use 81 [Monk's number] as an example of a guy who really prepares himself, not only physically, but mentally. He's just a person you like to have around. He's the guy we look forward to as far as a leadership role," Rypien said.
* Earnest Byner thrived in the role as the main running back yesterday.
He went virtually all the way because Gerald Riggs was sidelined with an arch injury last week. Rookie Brian Mitchell got work in practice but wasn't used until the game was decided.
After getting only 22 yards in eight carries in the first half, Byner got rolling in the second half and finished with 116 yards on 26 carries.
That was the first time the Redskins have had a 100-yard rusher this season. The last time they did it was in the fifth week of the 1989 season against the Phoenix Cardinals when Byner got 100 yards on 14 carries.
Byner, who hasn't been giving interviews after games in recent weeks, had an explanation for the second-half surge.
"We figured they'd come out keyed on the run, and that's what they did. We passed the ball until we had some room to run, and then we made some plays. It must have been a good scheme since we won," Byner said.
* In their three previous games against the Redskins, the Saints lost by a total of 13 points. Yesterday, they lost by 14.
"The problem obviously was that we couldn't stop them defensively. We played very poorly, and they played very well offensively," coach Jim Mora said.
"On third downs, it was ridiculous. They must have converted 95 percent of their third-down situations. And they just completely dominated us," Mora added.
He was exaggerating, but only slightly, about the third downs. The Redskins made 11 of 15 for 73 percent.
"We didn't rush the passer and we didn't cover. We didn't do either. I have a lot of respect defensively for their football team," he said.
* The makeshift Redskins offensive line did a good job of protecting Rypien, who wasn't sacked.
With Russ Grimm and Ed Simmons ailing, veteran Joe Jacoby and Mark Adickes, a Plan B free agent who has seen little action, went all the way.
"I forgot what it was like to play the whole game," said Jacoby, who has been a part-time player since injuring his knee last season.
* Safety Todd Bowles wasn't fooled when running back Craig Heyward threw a pass in the third quarter.
"I decided to stay back," Bowles said when Heyward ran laterally. "I don't think he saw me."
Heyward was aiming for tight end John Tice, but threw it right into Bowle's arms.
Bowles said, "We came out today and showed we're really serious about making the playoffs."
* Steve Walsh completed 23 of 38 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns but had two intercepted in his second start against the Redskins. He quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys to a victory over the Redskins last year.
Darrell Green, who was hurt and didn't play in that game, said he was impressed with Walsh.
"He has a great future ahead of him. He was very surprised he threw the ball as well as he did," he said.
* Coach Joe Gibbs was impressed that Rypien threw so well because he noted that Doug Williams was rusty when he started for the first time in the ninth game last season.
"Ryp has been sharp all week, but I didn't expect him to be that way in the game," he said.
Gibbs said Williams had been sharp in the game, but wasn't in the game.
One difference was that Rypien played in training camp and Williams missed camp last year with back surgery.