Karl Lorch said he had not caught a pass in a real live football game since his days in junior college. "But I knew what to do with it when I got it," the large Redskin defensive end said last night. "I just knew I couldn't stop running."
Lorch lumbered 31 yards with an interception thrown smack into his meaty palms by Giant quarterback Joe Pisarcik early in the second quarter on an attempted screen pass to Billy Taylor.
The touchdown gave the Redskins a 10-0 lead and the Giants never could recover, self-destructing the rest of the night on the way to a 27-0 defeat that could have been a whole lot worse.
For Lorch, however, nothing could be finer than his first NFL touchdown. "I never really expected it," he said. "I was just playing on the outside and I was trying to keep the quarterback contained. He just turned, dumped the ball and hit me in the hands.
"I just lucked right into it. It's something that happens once in your career. To me, it felt like 80 yards. I didn't stop running until I hit the fence."
The Giants made all manner of costly blunders last night. The break-it-open score -- a four-yard pass to running back Clarence Harmon for a 17-0 lead with nine seconds left in the first half -- came about because of two roughing-the-kicker calls on over-zealous Giant defenders.
The second call -- against Ray Rhodes for running into Mark Moseley on a missed 25-yard field goal -- was loudly protested by the Giants. Moseley said they should have kept their mouths shut.
"Ah, it wasn't even close," said Moseley, who set a club record of 102 with his two successful field goals. "The guy just ran right over me. The snap bounced and (holder) Joe (Theismann) had to put it down wherever he could. I had to reach for the ball and my leg was really extended when the guy (Rhodes) came into me.
"I feel really lucky that I didn't get hurt on the play. My leg was straight out and I really could have torn up my knee. The record? I feel honored to have been around one team this long to get it. A lot of kickers never get that chance."
The Giants were penalized five yards on the call and the Redskins had a first down at the four with nine seconds left on the clock.
From there, Theismann had intended to throw to tight end Jean Fugett in the left flat. "But three of their guys went with Jean; they really screwed up," Harmon said. "When I saw that, I just hooked my pattern over the middle and I was wide open. That was too easy."
Little came easy last night for tailback Benny Malone, who sported a welt of cantaloupe proportions on his upper lip, the result of what he described as "a lot of cheap shots by guys.
"They came after me all night, trying to buffalo me," Malone said. "Yeah, I hit back, sure. You have to protect yourself. "I've got a family to feed, you know."
Joe Theismann needed 12 stitches to close a gash on his forehead inflicted by Giant tackle Gary Jeter. But as long as the trainers kept the sutures away from his mouth, nothing could stop Theismann from talking about his most successful night. He connected on 18 of 28 passes for 153 yards, with one touchdown pitching and another sprinting up the middle from seven yards out on a quarterback draw for the Redskins' final touchdown.
"I don't take off any more on my own," Theismann said. "I was just looking at their safety and saying to myself, if he comes, there's no one to take him but me. But he went after Benny, so I just took off."
For Redskin coach Jack Pardee, the victory was significant because the Redskins finally played some decent defense. But even Pardee had to admit, "That was not the real Giant team. They had a lot of injuries in their backfield and offensive line. You can't get them together with that.
"But we weren't on a roller coaster, it was kind of an even performance all night. The defense has had a lot of criticism the last two weeks, but they got a shutout, even though it's not (against) a high-priced offense."