The Case of the Mysterious Game Plan continued to unfold yesterday. And heavens to Agatha Christie, Redskin Coach Jack Pardee said the Redskins did find a list of New England plays in the visiting team's locker room an hour before the two teams played, Sept. 3, in Foxboro, Mass.
But, if the Redskins came up with the secrets, according to Pardee, they weren't able to crack the Patriot code.
"We found a scratchy piece of paper an hour before the kickoff that was all but useless to us," Pardee said yesterday. On Sunday, after CBS' Paul Hornung reported that the Redskins had obtained the Patriot game plan, Pardee refused comment.
Pardee was more candid yesterday and when asked if the "scratchy paper" contained the Patriot plays, replied:"Well, we don't know their terminology or anything else. It gave no situations, no first and 10, second or short. It was just a scratchy paper full of numbers, and with us not knowing the code. . .
"What really happened is that we had their films of the three previous games and last year's games. They ran the same plays and did the same things they were doing in those games."
But another team source said yesterday the Redskins did spot on the paper two plays they had not prepared for.
One was a statue of liberty play the Patriots ran for no gain, the other resulted in a 45-yard touchdown pass to Harold Jackson in the fourth quarter.
"That's how much having their plays helped us," said the source.
"When we were on offense, the Washington defense was calling out our plays as soon as we lined up," said one Patriot who requested anonymity. "We are either very predictable or someone on the offense is tipping off the plays. It didn't matter who was on the Washington defense. They were right too many times to be guessing."
"That explains a lot of things that happened that day," added offensive tackle Leon Gray. "It's nice deal for a defensive end when he knows you're going to pass the ball before it's snapped."
Patriot Coach Chuck Fairbanks said Sunday that if the Redskins did find his game plan they ought to be fined.But, he also wondered, "was the fumble in the game plan." He was refering to Horace Ivory's fourth-period funble that led to Brad Dusek's 31-yard touchdown run and the Redskins' 16-14 win.
Patriot owner William Sullivan said Sunday he wanted to get more information on the situation and that he might ask the NFL office to investigate. But a spokesman for the league said yesterday no such request had been made and, "All we know about it is what we had read in the paper."
Sullivan was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Pardee said it would be fine with him if the NFL looked into the matter."I'd also like them to look into Paul Hornung," he said.
Hornung, assigned by CBS to the Redskin-Eagle game, said on the air the Redskins had found the Patriot game plan in the locker room the day before the game. He also insinuated that the Redskins would not have won without it.
"If the league does investigate," Pardee said, smiling, "maybe they can bar the TV people from coming around at all. He (Hornung) is telling a story he doesn't know anything about. To make up a complete big story like that just ridiculous. Or, if he's going to tell something, he ought to tell what he heard.
"I don't know where he got his information or who he's talking to. He did a little witch-hunting. He made up a good story to tell on Tv about it being the day before the game and at practice and we had all the plays. That'ts all a bunch of bologna."
The Redskins did not practice in the Patriot's Schaefer Stadium the day before the game. Redskin line-backer Pete Wysocki found the list of plays in his locker. They apparently had been left behind by a forgetful Patriot player. New England uses the opponent's dressing room for special team meetings during the practice week.
"But we were really concerned that the damned thing was a plant," another Redskin source said. "You never know what some teams will do."
Pardee was asked what difference it would make in a game if each team had the other's game plan.
"Usually it would hurt you more than anything," he insisted. "But if you can break their signal code and know what plays they're bringing onto the field, that would help you. But all the plays they ran were the same plays they were running in previous games, and that was why we were successful in stopping them."
How would he feel had the Patriots gotten the Redskin game plan?
"Well, I wouldn't wnat our material out. I don't want anyone to have our playbook or game plan sheets. That's our business, not theirs. But if they had it on that particular day, I don't know if it would help or not."
Pardee would have preferred talking yesterday about the future-specifically Sunday's game against the winless Cardinals at St. Louis.
"Obviously we have to play better defensively," he said, referring to the points the Redskins allowed in a 35-30 victory over the Eagles at RFK Stadium.
Pardee said missed tackles cost the Redskins, now 2-0, at least 50 yards rushing Sunday. He added that when the Redskins built up 18 and 19-point leads in the second half, they concentrated more on pass defense "so they wouldn't get a quick score on us. That's one of the reasons they ran so well in the second half.
"Having the offense give them the ball three times inside your 30 in the fourth quarter doesn't help the defense much, either. We were lucky to get out of that fourth quarter without them getting more points."
Pardee also indicated there might be some beneficial side effects from that spectacular 37-yard touchdown pass from Joe Theismann to Danny Buggs on a play that started off with fullback John Riggins veering into the line, then tossing the ball back to the quarterback.
"if you are going to run on teams you have to have some way to control their secondary and have them stay back a little," he said. "Plays like that make teams more conscious of the pass. I would think teams would have to give us a little more room after seeing that kind of play."
And what about the Cardinals?
"If we're going any place this year we've got to beat divisional opponents. They've played two good teams (Chicago and New England) and lost two close games.
"After the Eagles were successful running against us, well that's one of the Cardinals' strong points. I'm sure they'll test our defense on the run. We've got to get that shored up a little bit. And Mel Gray is still the same threat. So is Jim Hart. I expect another struggle."
The Redskins injury list listed four players in the "probable" category for the St. Louis game: defensive end Ron McDole (strained muscle in left arm), offensive tackle Terry Hermeling (bruised chest); defensive end Dallas Hickman (sprained ankle) and tight end Jean Fugett (bruised knee) . . . Asked to comment on George Allen's presence as a commentator in the CBS booth when the Redskins play the Cardinals Sunday, Pardee said, "I'm worried about the Cardinals. I'm not worried about who's calling our game" . . . Redskin in special teams apparently are as strong as ever, allowing opponents only 2.5 yards average on punt returns and 15 yards on kickoffs the first two games . . . Return man Tony Green is averaging 19 yards per punt return and 25 per kickoff return . . . The Redskins have won their last four games against the Cardinals.