Even before they won the game that, as Ron McDole put it, "keeps us alive, although still out on a limb." the Redskins gained some significant psychological points today. What happened was that Mark Moseley put his shoe in Joe Sullivan's mouth - sort of.
All week the Cardinol director of operations had been playing on Moseley's mind with the all-too-familiar charges of illegal shoe, hoping that Moseley's one-for-six field-goal kicking slump would continue when Sullivan needed it most.
He hardly expected what Moseley gave him about an hour before the kickoff.
Polite as you please. Moseley walked up to Sullivan, removed the controversal shoe and handed it to him. Here it is, he and special teams coach Paul Lanham said, look at it up close. And take as long as you like.
"We wanted to do it to the owner (Billy Bidwell)," Moseley said, "but he wouldn't look at it. He said it wasn't his area of responsibility. So we took it to the next best person - Joe Sullivan. And he couldn't find anything wrong, of course."
And Moseley then went out and sailed field goals of 40, 23, 37 and 42 yards between the uprights and the Redskins escaped with a 26-20 victory. On the rocks. With all the old oodgers, McDole, Billy Kilmer, Calvin Hill, Len Hauss, Chris Hanburger, making most of the important plays.
All but the most important play, or at least the one that assured victory. On a field nearly frozen over, and with a glove on one hand and nothing on the other, Eddie Brown made as memorable a catch as you can imagine in the end zone to stop the Cards' last surge.
"I'd just missed catching one (making an interception) the play before, when (Ken) Houston hit the ball going for (J.V.) Cain," Brown said. "J.V.'s head bobbed up and hit me just as I was about to catch the ball.
"I wear a glove on my left hand, but nothing on my right hand because I want to feel the ball on kick returns. And it's too much trouble to put it on when I'm the nickel back and then take it off."
How he caught Jim Hart's overthrown pass sounds so simple: "Just got back and up high enough, and then brought it into my body before I hit the ground - bang, bang, that's it."
Except that he was parallel to the field at the time and one hand had to be nearly frozen. Oh, yes, two of his ribs were broken before he leaped for the ball and he pulled a hamstring before he hit the field with it.
But then Brown had shown a unique flair for tough catches in this game long before the final one. His former teammate, Ken Stone, nailed Brown hard twice just as he was fielding punts. He held each one.
"The one time there was a mixup." Brown said. "Danny Buggs thought Mark Murphy was going to block him (Stone) and Murphy thought Buggs was gonna get him. Nobody did. The second time I just couldn't get my hand up fast enough for a fair catch.
"The last time I intercepted a pass? Last year against the Eagles in Philadelphia. It set up the winning field goal in overtime."
Moseley also made the deciding points that night, and today he said a blue foot-warmer he discovered not long ago in a ski shop was most helpful.
"It helps keep the body heat inside." he said, "which for me is important because I've got to have feeling in my toes when I kick. And I wear so many pairs of socks it's easy for the foot to go to sleep on me on a day like today, because everything's so tight."
Moseley seemed pleased when informed that three of his field goals sailed almost directly toward Sullivan, whose box is in the end zone.
"I changed nothing." Moseley said, referring to missing three kicks against the Cowboys and two against the Bills before nailing a 19-yarder. "There was no need to, because I didn't miss any of the ones against Dallas by much and there was so much wind in Buffalo last week.
"You've got to realize in this business, that you're gonna miss now and then. Fortunately, there was no wind today. I don't mind cold, as long as there's no wind."
Another hero, McKole, came waddling by and said: "I got to get stuck next to a star." He was referring to his locker being near Brown's, although his own star shone brightly as the game orn on.
"I think they fell down as much as anything, I did to get by 'em," he said about his two sacks of Hart and tipping a pass. "I've never played on a field as frozen as badly as this. Not even in Buffalo. Funny."
Of the game, the 38-year-old McDole said, "We just lasted longer." Then he nodded toward Diron Talbert, who was telling another wave of reporters: "They've had their problems especially on defense.
"The problem is that once you start giving up points, like they did, it's hard to stop. Regardless of who you're playing. Today we actually took advantage of other people's mistakes. First time all year. I believe.
"There was a little spark out there. Everybody was standing up along the sideline. 'Course, you'd freeze if you sat down."
And then McDole rubbed baby powder over his body and sighed. "I's sure hate to feel llike I do now and lost."