WASHINGTON -- Looking for a good place to kick in the mud at RFK Stadium yesterday was only a little less difficult than finding a needle in a haystack.
"You can't move around because you can't spoil the protection because if you move to the left or the right, you've got a closer corner for the guys coming around. You just stay where you're at and you try to do what you can do with the spot you've got," kicker Chip Lohmiller said.
He had his problems with what he had. Lohmiller missed field-goal attempts of 47, 37 and 45 yards in the first half of the Washington Redskins' 24-7 playoff victory over the Atlanta Falcons before making a 24-yarder in the second half.
Lohmiller said he couldn't kick normally, either.
"I just tried to walk up to the ball and kick it. That's why all the misses were going to the right. I have to slow down. If you'd go it at like it was regular turf, you'd slip automatically. You have to slow down your steps and rhythm," he said.
Lohmiller, who said they were the worst conditions he ever had kicked in, said he was hitting the ball well despite the misses.
"I hit the first one real well. The wind didn't do what it was supposed to do like it was doing in warm-ups. It didn't push it in, and the one before the end of the half I just barely missed to the right. Right at the end, the wind blew it away."
* When offensive tackle Jim Lachey injured his knee midway through the second quarter, the doctors told him to ice it, sit out the rest of the game and wait to play again next week.
"When I did it there was a lot of pain. I was a little worried," he said.
But when the pain subsided, Lachey decided he wasn't going to sit out.
"I didn't have that in my game plan," he said.
He taped it up, put the brace on and worked on the knee with the help of linebacker Matt Millen, who wasn't activated because he doesn't play much against the run-and-shoot.
"I'm not sitting out. I've sat out enough in the post-season. I'm not going to miss it," he said.
He came back and played in the second half. Before he was injured, he had the key block on Ricky Ervins' 17-yard touchdown run on a draw play.
* Ervins said the draw play he scored on wasn't in the game plan.
"I was surprised to hear it because it wasn't in the game plan. Ryp [Mark Rypien] called an audible at the line. Lachey pinned his guy [Scott Case] and it was wide open," he said.
Rypien called the audible because it was the perfect play for that defense even though they didn't work on it last week.
Ervins said the Redskins simplified their game plan during the week and had only four running plays in it.
* Kurt Gouveia got a chance to start at middle linebacker for Millen because the Redskins were facing the run-and-shoot. He came up with an interception and a forced fumble.
"I'm just fortunate to be here. I'm just happy about it. We've got great coaching. They develop a great game plan against the run-and-shoot. All we have to do is perform. They put us in the right position to win the game, to get it done," he said.
Gouveia said they stuck with a similar game plan to the one they used against Atlanta in the regular season. He replaced Millen, but the other 10 starters stayed the same on first downs, although the Redskins then substituted on passing downs.
"It was basically the same thing from the first time we played them except we changed up on our linebacker drops," Gouveia said.
The Redskins have played four games against run-and-shoot teams, and the schemes of assistant coach Richie Petitbon haven't given up more than 17 points to the offense.
On the fumble Gouveia caused when he hit Michael Haynes, he said: "Sometimes it just happens. You just go to try to make the play, make the tackle and hopefully something happens and it did."
* Cornerback Martin Mayhew came up with an interception but also was called for a second-period pass interference penalty that nullified Darrell Green's interception and kept the drive alive.
Mayhew said if there was interference on the play, he wasn't involved.
"That was something crazy. I was playing deep third. I didn't touch anybody. I didn't touch one of their receivers until the play was over," Mayhew said.
* The Falcons sent their entire team out for the coin flip. Coach Jerry Glanville's explanation was that he didn't want to send any players out for it, but the league told him he had to, so he sent out the whole team.
The Redskins thought it was just one more example of the Falcons' different style.
Tight end John Brandes said: "I kind of laughed. I'm just like, 'You've got to be kidding me.' These guys will do anything to get attention. I just shook my head and said: 'You know what? We're going to kick these boys' behinds today,' and they're going to look like idiots. They're out there acting crazy. If Glanville could, he'd probably ride his Harley out there. It's disappointing because we try to be as professional as you can in our business.