It was early in the second quarter against Green Bay, and Packer quarterback David Whitehurst had suckered several Redskin defenders into believing he was throwing deep when he lofted a short screen pass to running back Jim Culbreath in the left flat.

As he headed upfield, Culbreath had four large blockers in fron of him and only one Redskin defender - outside linebacker Brad Dusek - standing in the way of what looked like a long gainer.

But Dusek stood his ground, played off the blocks of two of the men and somehow slipped in behind the wall to stop Culbreath for a two-yard gain.

Dusek has been making that kind of play ever since George Allen moved him off the special teams to replace Dave Robinson on the left side in 1975. And for most of those years, Dusek's play has gone mostly unnoticed around the league by the folks who pick the All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams.

Last year, Dusek's performance was spectacular. He led the Redskins in tackles, contributed seven quarterback sacks, countless tipped or batted-down passes, one interception and a fumble recovery.

But once again, he was mostly ignored by everyone except his own teammates, who will tell you that no one had a better season in 1977. And for Dusek, that is enough ego gratification.

"Except for high school, when that kind of thing mattered to everybody," he said, "I'm not really concerned about all that honorary stuff. Really, you see guys like Ken Houston, (Diron) Talbert, (Ron) McDole; they play week in and week out, they do the job consistently, and that's all i try to do.

"Just doing your part means that things will usually turn out pretty well for us. The name of the game is still win, and when you win, things go a lot smoother for you, and you can make more money, too.

"Yes, I thought I had my best season by far last year. Every year you play your position, you get more comfortable. You pick up little things that may not be totally fundamamentally sound, but they can work for you. You get to feel playing the position becomes more like an instinct. That's a nice feeling to have."

There are other feelings that are not so nice. Dusek will play in 1978 just as he has played the last two seasons, with broken bones in both hands, injuries suffered year ago that will not mend properly unless he takes a year off for bone-graft surgery.

At the age of 27. Dusek is in the prime of his career. He recently bought a new home at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and there the newborn twins - Ashley Elizabeth and Kevin Bryan - to keep in formula and diapers. So Dusek says the surgery will wait until after he stops playing.

"I'm kind of used to it by now," he says. "You just learn to live with it."

Dusek is also learning that Jack Pardee's defensive philosophy is not all that different from George Allen's, and he firmly believes the results will be the same. "We're going to have another good defensive team; there's no question about that," he said.

"We've basically got the same people, and I think mixing in the 3-4 defense is going to make it that much harder for people to prepare for us.We can throw all kinds of different stuff at them."

Pardee spends much time in practice working with the linebackers and, Dusek said "He's got so many little tips for you that can really help. He played the position so well for so long, and he knows what it's like out there."

Althought both Dusek and Pardee are graduates of Texas A&M and both have been on the left side for the Redskins, Dusek says the similarity stops there.

"I think basically you would say he's a lot smarter than me," Dusek said. "Just from what I remember, he could have one eye closed and still know what was happening. He was never out of position. Obviously, that's how we'd all like to play it. Chris (Hanburger) is the same way. They both pick up on things so fast, they're always in the right spot."

So is Dusek. He describes himself as "more of a finesse player," simply because, at 220 pounds, "I don't think it's too smart to take a lot of people on head up. That's not my game."

During the regular season, Dusek's weight occasionally dips as low as 210 pounds and he is one of those fortunate folks who can eat all day and not gain an ounce.

At the moment, Dusek is concerned about a leg-muscle pull he suffered against the Packers. But he is one the practice field every day, never misses a turn in the drills and most likely will play most of the way Friday night against the Colts.

Dusek has started 42 straight regular-season games for the Redskins, one of the longest streaks on the team. "That's nothing unusual," though," he said. Look at Hauss or McDole. They play no matter what's wrong. You just say to yourself if those guys can play, I'm damned sure I can, too."