WASHINGTON -- The Washington Redskins won one for the Gibber yesterday.
Coach Joe Gibbs, noted for a low-key, cerebral approach to the game, did his Knute Rockne imitation Thursday and ignited the team with a 15-minute tongue-lashing.
"He really laid into us pretty good," said quarterback Mark Rypien, who played for the first time in seven weeks and threw four touchdown passes to help the Redskins rout the New Orleans Saints, 31-17, before 52,573 at RFK Stadium.
Gibbs, upset about his team's lack of intensity in the 28-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Monday night, yanked the team off the practice field for the lecture Thursday.
Tight end Jimmie Johnson said: "He said a few words to let everybody know we need to stop messing around or whatever it was we were doing. He said a few things that caught everybody's eye."
Wide receiver Ricky Sanders said he and Gary Clark dropped the first two passes of the game because they were so fired up.
"I was so pumped up and the adrenalin was flowing so hard that it's tough to concentrate until you get settled down," Sanders said.
The Posse -- Sanders, Clark and Art Monk -- settled down to catch a total of 17 passes, as Monk became the third receiver in league history to surpass 700 catches.
Sanders said: "We just can't be flat like we were Monday night. We've got to come out like this and play Redskin football."
Linebacker Monte Coleman said, "We're focused now."
Gibbs downplayed the effect of his tirade. When asked what its effect was, he said, "Nothing probably."
In the lore of the Redskins, though, the tirade will rank with his walking off the practice field in training camp in 1984 and upending a table filled with oranges at halftime in Philadelphia in 1988. Gibbs' explosions are so few and far between that they tend to be remembered.
What Gibbs is likely to remember about the game, though, was how sharp Rypien was after a seven-week layoff. He completed 26 of 38 passes for 311 yards.
"I probably learned a lesson," Gibbs said. "I may work them too hard in camp."
The lesson was that he may tire the arms of his quarterbacks by having them throw too much in training camp.
Rypien, who said he had a "live arm," said: "I had about as much zip on the ball as I've had since the start of training camp. By the end of camp, you have nothing on the ball."
Rypien, who is 15-9 as a starter, was elevated to the starting quarterback job for the fifth time the past three years in this game. He has been benched twice and knocked out with injuries twice.
He also felt the need to defend his play.
"I sometimes take a little heat for some of the things that go on and deservedly so. But in the games I've played here, I want to say one thing: I've made some plays for this football team. I'm not afraid to say that. . . . I've made the plays. I'd like to say that in defense of myself," he said.
Rypien also said: "I'm not going to toot my horn, [but] there were some things I did from an audible standpoint that helped us win the game."
When Rypien was asked later whether he feels he isn't appreciated, he said he wasn't looking for praise.
But it's obvious Rypien feels he was underrated. When he injured his knee on Sept. 23 against the Dallas Cowboys and Stan Humphries was inserted into the starting lineup, Humphries was hailed at the team's quarterback of the future.
Rypien may have protested too much when he added that he's "not too worried about what Joe Theismann says." The former Redskins quarterback, now an ESPN commentator, was one of the many observers praising Humphries.
Humphries was 3-2 in five starts, although he was yanked in the fifth start against the Detroit Lions and injured his knee against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
When Jeff Rutledge and Humphries were injured last week, Rypien was rushed back even though he hadn't practiced since he was injured until last Wednesday. He has won the job back -- at least for now. He threw touchdown passes of 8 and 19 yards to Clark, 7 yards to Monk and 3 yards to Kelvin Bryant.
"We made some plays that are going to fun to watch [on the videotape]," Rypien said with a grin.
Rypien got a game ball, and the players saluted him with cries with a "Ryp, Ryp, Ryp" chant after the game.
General manager Charley Casserly gave him the ultimate salute when he said, "Today, Ryp was worth that $3 million he asked for earlier in the year."
Rypien is playing out his option because he couldn't come to contract terms with the club earlier this year.
The Redskins rolled up 432 total yards, and Saints linebacker Pat Swilling said, "The defense played poorly."
The Redskins got off to a shaky start. After Rypien threw three straight incomplete passes (two were dropped) on their first possession, Ralf Mojsiejenko punted for only 24 yards, and the Saints quickly marched 32 yards, as Steve Walsh threw a touchdown pass to Brett Perriman for a 7-0 lead.
The Redskins came back to take a 10-7 lead and Morten Andersen tied it with a 38-yard field goal midway through the second period.