The chaff comes before the wheat today, because it's more fun. So we join Frank Grant, who with his most angelic face is saying of that 37-yard John Riggins-to-Joe Theismann-to-Danny Buggs touch-down for the winning points against the Eagles:

"We drew it up on the sideline, right there in the dirt just before we ran it. You know, like Knute Rockne used to do."

"Yeah," Buggs said from two lockers away. "It was one of them ghetto plays."

"Right," Grant said. "Joe Walton said to go behind the green car, run up on the bumper and Theismann'll hit you on the hood."

No, Philadelphia Bill Cosby did not leave his game plan unguarded this week for the Redskins, as the Patriots apparently had last week. "Fake Slant 37, pitchback, X go" had been dancing in Walton's mind for some time; yesterday simply seemed the proper place to use it.

The play, where the fullback fakes a dive into the line, then suddenly flips the ball back to the quarterback, who then whips a long pass to the wide receiver, probably is as old as Rockne. But for Redskin fans accustomed for seven years to a diet of Larry Brown left followed by Larry Brown right it was a tasty new dish.

It was a calling card of sorts from Walton, nothing especially vengeful but a reminder to George Allen and others that there was imagination waiting to be unfettered all along in the Redskin offense.

"I still remember George 'You don't win with gimmicks,' Riggins said. "It's a good thing we had it today, because we wouldn't have won without it. I'll take those kind of gimmicks every time."

Allen won with stodgy ways. Now Jack Pardee, through Walton, has shown that it actually is possible to win in the NFL and offer entertainment at the same time. If Walton was allowed to offer offensive input his three prior years as a Redskin assistant, nobody listened.

"All you needed was freedom," former Redskin receiver Roy Jefferson said to Walton, who was clutching a game ball for designing an offense that produced more points against the Eagles than anyone in 3 1/2 years.

Near the end, there was some doubt that 35 points was enough. And had the Eagles won, some of the Redskin faithful in RFK Stadium surely would have slipped over an imaginary mental cliff.

The human mind can absorb only so much - and there were the Redskins in their home opener offering an offense, at last, a swifter version of Eddie Brown and lots of skin, in the person of cheerleaders with outfits that hardly would cover a helmet.

A defensive collapse would have been beyond belift.

As it developed, the only enduring Redskin problems were spelling. A sign welcoming some new players offered "Lamarr," as in Parrish. And unless the rest of the world is in error No. 53 is not "McClinton," as his jersey insisted.

Trivia junkies may have notice that John Sciarra played quarterback, for one day, and free safety for the Eagles. And defensive filberts were agog when the Redskins once went from a 3-4 set to a 4-3 to a nickel on successive downs.

But the offense demanded attention - and everyone from Theismann through Jean Fugett, Buggs and the always maligned blockers (nobody was caught holding) played splendidly. Anyone who can make Bill Bergey admit, "I was embarrassed," can be proud.

And the players were trying to outdo one another in their praise of Walton.

"Close to a genius,' said Riggins.

"Maybe the best (offensive coach)," said George Starke.

"All the imagination in the world," said Grant. "Things lige that (Riggins-to-Theismann-to-Buggs) play would never have been thought of before," said center Bob Kuziel, "because there's a risk involved. Everybody has to perform or it doesn't work.

"But he (Walton) and (line coach) Ray Callahan have us blieving in ourselves by believing in us. No one is afraid to take pressure on his shoulders."

In two games, the Redskins have flunked spelling and possibly ethics. Still, if they peeked at the Pats' plays, the defenders must have been astonish deat the one that has Horace Ivory fumbling into the left linebacker's hands for the winning points.

Yesterday the team showed it still could win under its own devices. And everyone but the mayoral candidates was flocking around this fellow Walton, who has roots in the area (his wife was a former Miss D.C.) but was uncertain of a job when Allen was fired.

Walton said little beyond the obvious, then added a tease: "We've got more (fancy) plays, hopefully. We'll still pull some more out of mothballs."