Redskin Coach Jack Pardee gave Colt quaterback Bert Jones a rave review yesterday for what he described as a masterful "acting" job in Baltimore's 21-17 victory over the Redskins Monday night.
Jones came into the game with a sore right shoulder, and seemed to wince in pain every time he threw a pass. Nevertheless, he fired three touchdown passes, and Pardee said he did a good acting job.
"He'd act like he was dying before he'd throw a bomb. He'd always go into one of his biggest acts before he'd throw deep. We finally figured that out.
"It was pretty apparent after the first quarter, but it still didn't help us. He also carried the ball 10 times, not bad for an injured quarterback. But that last touchdown (a 27-yard Jones pass to Roger Carr) was a great play by them, you can't take it away from them."
Pardee did not say game officials were protecting Jones. But the message came across when he said, "They (the Colts) also got by the whole night without a holding call, and we get one right in our two-minute drill. They could call holding on any play in the game, but they get us then. It really makes you wonder."
Pardee also left his inquistors wondering yesterday about his own choice of a starting quarterback Sunday against the New York Giants, though it seems likely he will choose Joe Theismann ahead of Billy Kilmer.
"I haven't made any firm decision yet," Pardee said yesterday. "I'll study last nights' game, look at what the Giants have been doing and decide before the night is over."
Will he announce his decision?
"I don't know; maybe. Everybody always knows anyway."
And everybody who watched the Redskins on Monday night also knows that starter Kilmer was mostly dreadful, connecting on only two of 11 passes for 38 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions before Pardee yanked him with 6:25 left in the third quarter.
Theismann directed one long scoring march, hit on half his 12pass attempts and would have had three more completions for big gainers - and possible points - except for two penalties and an inadvertent toot of a referee's whistle.
Pardee insisted that Kilmer was not miffed at the benching. "He's like everyone else," he said, "he wanted to get a win out of it; anything to help change things around."
Pardee also said he agaonized over his decision to switch. "I could see they (the Colts) were hot and moving and we had to get some offense generated, get some points and keep the ball away from Bert Jones.
"We were struggling. I felt a change of quarterbacks might get something going - a scramble, a completed pass, anything . We just felt we weren't getting the ball moved like we needed to. We came in with a relief pitcher who'd played the first eight games, so he wasn't too rusty.
"They also knew Bill wasn't going to move around a lot. They used a lot of inside stunts with a complete disregard for containing him (Kilmer). Because they weren't threatened with a scrambling quarterback, they were also using a lot of double-zone coverage in the secondary that held up our receivers.
"If you've got a quarterback who moves, it streches out those zones and we though it (the switch to Theismann) would hurt their coverages."
Against a hard-charging defensive line that forced Theismann out of the pocket frequently in New York's 17-6 victory last month, Pardee is not expected to give the Giants a stationary target named Kilmer.
Pardee also shrugged off Kilmer's poor throwing as "just one of those nights." He also said "he hasn't played much this year . . . he's not in any midseason form. He really hasn't had enough work to get the feel."
That hardly sounded like a vote of confidence for Kilmer either.
He was wondering about that third period call that nullified a Danny Buggs sideline catch for a first down at the Baltimore 35. Television replays and game films both indicated Buggs made the catch in bounds.
The whistle blown by mistake occurred at the 90-second mark at the Colt 39. Pardee said he was tols an official blew it inadvertently at the snap of the ball and the play - a pass to John Riggins over the middle - was blown dead. Riggins was wide open on the pattern and "John could have run the ball down to the 25 at the minimum," Pardee said. "Instead, we get nothing and lose time on the clock (nine seconds), too.
"I asked the official on our sideline why (the nine seconds weren't restored). He said, 'Oh, how about that?' and kept on going."
The most critical call of all came two plays later, on third and 10 from the 39. Theismann rifled a pass to John McDaniel for an apparent 19 yard gain to the 20, only to have the play mullified by a holding call on Terry Hermeling, trying to block John Dutton.
"He (Dutton) wasn't locked up, he wasn't taken down," Pardee said. "The guy just came staight up the field and Terry just pushed him out of the rush, out the back door. If there's a tackle, or a trip, that's one thing, but they were both running free and it didn't look like a hold to me."
"Yeah, I'll make a call (to Art McNally, the NFL's supervisor of officials). It just relieves some of the frustration, that's all. You may get an apology in private or over the phone. That doesn't help a lot."
Still, Pardee was asked, did he think the officials won the game for the Colts, or was it Jones, who threw three touchdown passes?
"Oh, Bert Jones did, no question," he said . "We had the opportunity to win it ourselves. We just couldn't get it done, and they did.
"But we're still in good shape, we've just got to figure out a way to beat the Giants. It's going to be like this the rest of the way. We don't have any easy games left."
The Redskins escaped the game without any serious injuries. Starting right tackle Fred Dean suffered a mild concussion on the opening kick off and Jeff Williams, activated earlier in the day, replaced him early in the first period. Pardee praised William's play, but said Jim Harlan probably would start at the position if his injured left knee improves this week . . . The Redskins' 203 points scored leads the NFC. Last year, they had only 196 points for the season . . . They have not lost in four home games this year, and have won 44 of their last 54 at RFK Stadium . . . Special teams lead the NFL with 3.5 yards allowed per punt return and 17.4 yards on kickoff returns . . . Tony Green needs only five more yards to go over 1,000 in combined yards (punt returns, kickoff returns, rushing and receiving) . . . George Allen comes back to RFK Sunday as a color analyst for CBS.