"We've all got to take a better look at ourselves and play better." Redskin quarterback Billy Kilmer said yesterday after the Redskins were drubbed, 17-6, by the New York Giants. "I've got my own problems and I've got to play better, I can't be pointing my finger at others."
Now the Redskins are 3-3 and hurting in several key positions. A year ago, the Redskins were 6-4 and practically countedout after losing to the Giants. They regrouped and won their final four games to make the playoffs.
"We're in a situation the Redskins always seem to get in," said left guard Ron Saul. "We have to win ball games now; we have to come back fighting."
Middle linebacker Harold Mclinton discounts the injuries, noting mistakes have cost the Redskins at least two defeats.
"Three and three doesn't mean anything if we want to start playing football," he said. "It's a tough profession, mentally and physically. I've always said that the game is 85 per cent in the mind anyway, because there isn't that much difference in the talent.
"Three and three isn't anything. It depends on how we want to deal with it. We have to reach down inside and find out individually what it is going to take . . . what the goal is for the year. Is it to be home for Christmas or it is to be in the playoffs?"
But it is obvious the Redskins are not working with a full deck. McLinton said the opposition is losing respect for the Redskins. He point to the Giants going for a first down at the six instead of a field-goal with a 7-6 lead early in the fourth quarter.
"People have gotten to the point that they don't respect us anymore." McLinton said indignantly.
Giant coach John McVay said that wasn't the case at all in that situation.
"We thought we really had the momentum to put it out of range if we had scored the touchdown." he said.
But, like the Cowboys the week before after fullbacks John Riggins and Bob Brunct were injured, the Giant defensive players talked afterward about how they dismissed the Redskin running game and played for the pass.
"You knew they were going go pass," said left tackle John Mendenhall. "We spread out (the front four) to make their blocking harder."
Mendenhall evaded Redskin right guard Terry Hermeling for three (a career high) of the Giants' six sacks and was credited with causing the fumble that set up the Giants' clinching touchdown.
"I kept telling him (Hermeling) he was doing a good job." Mendenhall said, "but you're beating him on most plays."
The six-year veteran then nodded his head in agreement when it was suggested he had established a psychological advantage.
The Redskin disadvantage is shown simply in the numbers. They suffered eight sacks in the first four games. Now they have yielded 14 in the past two, in part because of Riggins loss and in part because of having to play a catch-up.
But even when they were ahead yesterday, the Redskins were thinking pass. And it was the venerable Kilmer, evading yet another sack, who produced the longest Redskin rush of the game - 10 yards.
"We didn't play good enough to win, and we didn't," tight end Jean Fugett said. "I want to forget about this and think about the Eagles."
"I don't think anybody on this team is a quitter," said offensive tackle Tim Stokes. "It's not our style.We're not going to give up. People who think that are full of crap."
And, for the second straight week, an opposition defensive back took a verbal potshot at wide receiver Charley Taylor, the NFL's all-time leading pass catcher.
Last week Cowboy Benny Barnes said Taylor had lost his desire. Free safety Jim Stienke said yesterday that Taylor's early departure with a hanstring injury had no impact on the Giants' defensive tactics.
"Charley Taylor has dropped a lot of balls this year," Stienke said. "He's not the threat he used to be. When you defense Washington you start with (Frank) Grant and the tight end (Fugett). Charley has been dropping them and you don't worry about him too much."