"What do we have to do?" Jean Fugett, the Redskin tight end, asked today.
"That's all it comes down to. You can talk about consistency, penalties and concentration.You can gain 800 yards, but it's not worth anything if you don't score. I don't mean to oversimplify it, but that's what it is," he said.
For the Redskins, a team that has scored more than two touchdowns only once in six preseason and eight regular-season games, it is crisis time again.
The Redskins take on a Philadephia team that has won only three games Sunday at 1 p.m., at Veterans Stadium (WTOP-TV-9). But four of the Eagles' five losses were decided by a total of 20 points.
"They've been in every game they have played with a chance to win," said Charlie Waller, the Redskins somewhat perplexed and embarrassed offensive coordinator.
"I wish I knew what our problem was. It comes down to execution. Not plays fooling anyone, just doing it right. The runners run, the catchers catch, the blockers block and the throwers throw. It's in their hands."
The Redskins are 44, struggling to put points on the board, yards on the statistics sheets and healthy bodies on the playing field.
And yet, a victory Sunday could very well leave them tied with two other teams as the leading contender for the NFC's wild-card berth in the playoffs.
The Falcons and Lions, both 4-4, meet Sunday in Atlanta. And the comeback cardiac Cardinals, 5-3, have a Monday night date with the undefeated Cowboys at Dallas.
George Allen was asked today if he thought a 9-5 record would get an NFC team into the playoffs. "I don't think it's a sure bet," he said. "With 10-4 you're in positively."
To achieve that mark, the Redskins would have to win their last six games. And with Dallas, St. Louis and Los Angeles still on the schedule, that seems highly unlikely.
The oddsmakers also have little confidence in the Redskins, making them a one-point underdgo, two weeks after Washington squeaked by with a shaky 23-17 victory over the Eagles at RFK Stadium.
"We're in the position now that every game is a big game," said linebacker Mike Curtis, who again will start on the right side in place of the injured Chris Hanburger.
"If we had played the first half of the season as if every game was a big game, then we wouldn't be in this situation."
Allen has been trying to revive his team all week with the power of positive thinking, and he was at it again today after an hour-long practice back at Redskin Park before the team flew here.
"We've got a good team," he said. "It's matter of playing with more intensity and not making mistakes, realizing that everything is still in our hands.
"Some of our new players may not realize the Redskins have a lot of pride and tradition, and it can be dissipated in a very short time if everyone doesn't come through with a great game. We just have to win."
They will have to win with Joe Theismann starting at quarterback, even though he has failed to produce a touchdown in the 7 1/2 quarters since he fired two straight touchdown passes to Fugett in the first period against Philadelphia two weeks ago.
Stuny by criticism of his performance against the Colts Monday night, Theismann uncharacteristically declined to speak with reporters today, saying only, "I'm just going out and playing football."
Billy Kilmer has been given more work than usual this week, though Allen was noncommital when asked if he would lift Theismann if the offense bogged down.
"I can't answer that," he said. "Billy's ready. But Joe's had a good week and he's more positive and sharp than he's been."
He had better be, because the Eagles are no slouches defensively. They have 23 quarterback sacks (five against the Redskins), nine more than they recorded in 1976. And they have picked off 10 passes, one more than their final total last year.
Two weeks ago, Theismann threw often on first down, completed 16 of his 34 passes and generated 312 yards of offense.
Theismann will have basically the same cast operating with him on offense. Danny Buggs, who caught five passes against the Eagles, again will start ahead of Charley Taylor at wide receiver, though Taylor says he is recovered from a hamstring pull suffered three weeks ago. He probably will play on a spot basis.
The Redskin defense is still banged up. Free safety Jake Scott (pulled leg muscle) has been unable to practice this week and may be replaced by Eddie Brown. Defense end Dennis Johnson worked out today for the first time all week on a sprained ankle, and also is a question mark. Karl Lorch will start if Johnson can't play.