The Miami Dolphins say Joe Theismann was lucky yesterday because only four of his passes were intercepted.
"It could have been worse for him," said safety Charlie Babb, who had one of the interceptions. "There was no way they were going to score on us. Not today. We were really up and we needed this game so bad."
"We tried to give him (Theismann) a little different look just before the ball was snapped," said the Dolphins' other safety, tim Foley, who also had an interception. "We tried to make him think there was something there when there really wasn't. Theismann has been under a lot of pressure and he wasn't given much time to do anything."
It was Foley's interception of a quick-out pass late in the third quarter that sealed the Redskin fate.
Jake Scott had intercepted Bob Griese's pass at the Redskin 30 on the previous play and the Redskin's finally looked as if they might have some momentum. But on first down, Theismann threw a spot pass toward John McDaniel. Foley read it and stepped in front of McDaniel to make the interception.
"Most quarterbacks, when they are going to throw that pass to their left in a hurry, just back away from the line instead of turning and going back that way," Foley said. "It's a first-down type pass. You try to make it look inviting to the quarterback and then you make your move."
That's exactly what Foley did. He played back and when the ball was snapped, charged in. Theismann threw the ball right to him.
Six plays later, Garo Yepremian kicked his third field goal of the game and the 12th in a row over the last seven games and the Dolphins had a 16-0 victory.
The only Dolphin touchdown came on a 40-yard pass from Griese to rookie wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo from Penn State. It culminated a 94-yard Miami drive on its first possession of the second half.
"We've been having a lot of trouble scoring touchdowns in the second half and that 94-yard drive was a thing of beauty," said Coach Don Shula. "That was the key to the ball game. It was a big, big series for us."
The touchdown came on a perfectly thrown post-pattern route.
"They (the Redskins) were double covering us most of the day," Griese said, "but if you send four people down, they can't double everyone.
"We haven't thrown to Jimmy much in that situation and, knowing the Redskins, I thought he would be the one they chose not to double cover on that play. He was on the same side with Nat (Moore) and the Redskins put the double coverage on Nat," Griese said.
"Bob did a great job on the play," Cefalo said. "He looked at Nat and that drew Jake (Scott) that way and that left me with one-on-one coverage with the cornerback, and I just ran right past him."
Though the offense put the points on the board, it was the defense that pleased Shula most.
"We've had some problems defensively in the past," he said, "but today we played tough, aggressive defense. We knew we had to have a good game after losing our last two, and we went out and played one.
"The thing that really did it for us, though, I think, was that we always came up with the big plays when we needed them."
Foley said that, defensively, the Dolphins were determined to do a good job. "A lot of people haven't been satisfied with our performances lately and neither were we. It was time to do something. I know the Redskins are banged up and having their troubles, but I don't care, a shutout is what we were shooting for and a shutout is what we got." CAPTION: Picture 1, Dolphin cornerback Gerald Small picks off flea-flicker pass intended for Danny Buggs at the goal line and is off for a 32-yard return. By Richard Darcey -- The Washington Post; Picture 2, Billy Kilmer, left, and Joe Theismann gesture during a short get-together along the sidelines while Redskin defense is on the field. By Joel Richardson -- The Washington Post; Picture 3, Garo Yepremian boots a 39-yard field goal in third quarter to put the Dolphins ahead, 16-0. It was his 12th without a miss. By Richard Darcey -- The Washington Post