Ailing Redskins dig deep, down Seahawks, 16-3 'Heroic efforts' cited by Gibbs

November 09, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

SEATTLE -- The Washington Redskins are running out of football players. They're now looking for heroes.

"I think it's taking heroic efforts on some of our guys' part to even go out there and bail us out. It's going to take heroes, finding some way to scrap [to win]," a drained coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday after his battered team fought its way to a 16-3 victory over the Seattle Seahawks at the Kingdome.

A victory over the 1-8 Seahawks won't qualify for any awards unless the Redskins are trying to revive "M*A*S*H," but Gibbs called it an "epic struggle."

The Redskins overcame the loss of four starters -- Kurt Gouveia (neck), Andre Collins (back spasms), Danny Copeland (neck) and Mo Elewonibi (sprained knee) -- and backup linebacker Monte Coleman, who didn't dress because of a neck injury.

"I think you're just fighting your guts out to make a yard. It may not look pretty, but I thought we made some great plays," Gibbs said. "It's just a real struggle right now."

It was such a struggle that a player they cut two years ago, tight end Terry Orr, and two linebackers they cut at the start of the season, John Brantley and Tony Barker, played key roles in the victory.

Orr went 46 yards with a third-period pass from Mark Rypien to set up Chip Lohmiller's third field goal and then ran 26 yards for a touchdown with a fourth-quarter pass to end the Redskins' string of 14 quarters without an offensive touchdown.

Brantley and Barker started because Gouveia was limited to part-time duty and Collins couldn't play. They figured Gouveia would be limited, but they thought Collins could play until the back spasms bothered him in the warm-ups.

Gibbs saluted Orr for catching three passes for 82 yards on a day when the Posse (Gary Clark, Art Monk and Ricky Sanders) was limited to a total of seven receptions for 77 yards.

"He's very smart, very bright, very conscientious and one of the brightest guys we've got on our football team and now he's become one of our leaders," Gibbs said of Orr. "Right now, he's probably playing better than I've ever seen him play. We were calling on some guys to stand up in the second half and Terry Orr stood up."

Gibbs also pointed out two linemen, Joe Jacoby and Ed Simmons, for special praise because they filled a gap on a line that already had lost Jim Lachey and Jeff Bostic.

"I think Jacoby is a hero," Gibbs said at one point.

He also said, "My hat's off to Ed Simmons."

Simmons opened the game at right tackle and Jacoby was supposed to be taking the day off because of neck and shoulder injuries. When Elewonibi, the left tackle, went out in the second quarter with his knee injury, Jacoby went in at right tackle and Simmons switched to left tackle.

"I don't know what we would have done if Joe couldn't have played," Gibbs said.

Doing his best Gary Cooper imitation, Jacoby, a 12-year veteran, scoffed at the suggestion he was a hero even though his shoulder went numb on the first play and stayed that way the rest of the game.

"A lot of guys on this team can be heroes. I've played with a lot of different things," Jacoby said. "A broken bone, I played with a bubble [cast] on my hand."

Gibbs said the Redskins made so many switches that he had to be conservative in his play-calling.

"I've never seen it this bad for us," he said. "It's been a long time since I've been in that situation. Normally, I go back there and call anything I want."

With Elewonibi out for several weeks and with a pair of road games at Kansas City and New Orleans coming up, the 6-3 Redskins are hurting.

"We're going to have to sit down and get things realigned. It's hard for us right now. We've got a hard way to go," Gibbs said.

The Redskins had to struggle in the first half even to make a first down. On their first five possessions, they made one first down. On their first two possessions, they had third-and-one plays and Ricky Ervins got stuffed both times for no gain.

"That kind of set the tone, I think," Rypien said. "It was frustrating."

Meanwhile, Wilber Marshall was a one-man gang on defense as he tipped a Stan Gelbaugh pass and intercepted it in the first quarter and knocked the ball out of Gelbaugh's hand for a fumble that Brantley recovered in the second quarter.

Between those two turnovers, Rypien gave the ball back when Dwayne Harper picked off one of his passes.

"I got hit and the ball kind of sailed," Rypien said.

The Seahawks even took a 3-0 lead in the second period when Chris Warren broke out of a Brantley tackle for a 36-yard run that set up a 22-yard field goal by John Kasay. He had missed a 22-yard attempt to the right on the previous series.

Trailing 3-0 with 5:03 left in the second period, Rypien finally put together a 54-yard drive that was climaxed by a 48-yard Lohmiller field goal.

Rypien, who wound up running seven times for 12 yards, scrambled

on two straight plays during the drive and then dived on fourth-and-one for the second first down that got the drive going.

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