WASHINGTON -- The Washington Redskins fans were up to Mark Rypien's standards yesterday.
However, Rypien wasn't.
Rypien caused a stir last week when he criticized the Redskins fans for booing him during the introductions and for failing to match the crowd noise the team had faced in Dallas in its opener.
That caused a week-long controversy in Washington about Rypien's play and the booing by the fans who have season tickets. One fan on the team's waiting list wrote a letter to a Washington paper saying that if the they don't want to do more cheering, the season-ticket holders should give up their tickets to the fans who do.
The fans were back yesterday in the team's 13-10 victory over the Detroit Lions -- but Rypien wasn't.
Even Rypien lauded them for cheering when the defense was making big plays. "Our crowd rose to the occasion when we needed it," Rypien said. "Our defense gets excited when they're doing it. That's a big plus."
The fans also booed Rypien when he was intercepted three times, but he had no complaints.
"If I were a fan, making the plays that I made, I would have probably acted the same way," he said.
Rypien also refused to use Detroit's big rush, that sacked him only once but was constantly in his face, as an excuse for his poor showing as he completed 14 of 24 passes for 136 yards. His longest pass was for 24 yards. Last year, he had 17 passes of 45 yards or more.
Last year, Rypien threw nine incomplete passes in two games against Detroit. Yesterday, he missed 10 times.
Rypien said he didn't think he was rusty after his holdout.
"I felt sharp going in and I felt good all week long," he said. But he conceded, "We haven't made any big plays yet [in the passing game]."
Rypien said he hopes to use the bye week to get back on his game.
"I'm going to take a long, hard look and work on things and get better," he said.
Running on empty
Most football people say Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions is a better runner than Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys. Richie Petitbon, the assistant coach who runs the Redskins defense, said Sanders is the best running back he's ever seen.
You'd never know it, though, from the way the two runners play against the Redskins.
Although Smith has rushed for 100 yards against the Redskins the last four times he has run against them, Sanders now has 78 yards in his last two games against the Redskins. He gained only 44 yards in 11 carries in the NFC title game and he got only 34 yards in 14 carries yesterday. Sanders got 18 yards in his first two carries and was held to 16 yards the rest of the game.
The Redskins aren't sure why they can contain Sanders, but not Smith.
"I'd like to figure that one out," said Larry Peccatiello, who coaches the linebackers.
Defensive lineman Tim Johnson said that in Dallas two weeks ago, they overpursued and gave Smith the cutback lanes.
It didn't help Sanders yesterday that they threw the ball on the first play of their first nine series.
Earnest Byner easily outrushed Sanders yesterday as he gained 120 yards, but he's not making any comparisons.
"I can't compare myself to Barry Sanders," he said. "The best defense against him is to keep him off the field."
Byner is now fourth on the Redskins' all-time rushing list with 3,114 yards.
Linebacker Chris Spielman of the Lions said of the Redskins' running game: "They moved the ball, but they're a team that moves the ball against the Russian Army."
Cornerback Martin Mayhew, whose fourth-period interception of a pass intended for Aubrey Matthews set up Chip Lohmiller's game-winning field goal, said the Lions ran the same play for a completion earlier in the game.
"They ran a deep out and completed it and I expected them to come back to that route at some point in the game. I knew it was going to come sooner or later," he said.
When it came, he was ready.
The Redskins have won six straight games -- including the last five of the 1989 season -- with Mayhew and A.J. Johnson as the starting cornerbacks. Johnson is starting because Darrell Green is out with a broken forearm.
"There's no doubt in my mind we can win with me and A.J. on the corners," he said.
Johnson did well except for giving up a 67-yard touchdown pass to Willie Green in the fourth quarter.
Art Monk was limited to one catch for 12 yards, extending his consecutive-game pass-catching streak to 135. He has caught 810 passes, nine shy of Steve Largent's record of 819. . . . The Redskins reported six injuries, but none appear serious. They are Lohmiller (hip), Johnny Thomas (shoulder), Bobby Wilson (forearm), Jeff Bostic (shoulder), Joe Jacoby (back spasms) and Tim Johnson (hip).