If Jim Hart had to do it all over again, he'd call the same play. "I'm not second-guessing myself at all," said the Cardinal quarterback. "In fact, I'm going to blow everybody's mind by saying that I wanted to throw on the prior down from the five-yard line)."
Hart's reference was to a pass he threw on first and goal with the Cardinals at the Washington two and less than five minutes to play. Cornerback Lemar Parrish intercepted the pass in the end zone to end the threat and help preserve the Redskins' 17-7 victory.
Why a pass on first down from the two?
"We wanted to score quickly," answered St. Louis Coach Bud Wilkinson. "We felt it was a safe play."
Hart added, "It's worked for us in the past. Everybody lauded that same play when it beat Dallas a couple of years ago."
Hart said the play would have worked again except for pass interference that wasn't called by the officials. "(Tight end Gary) Parris was wide open," Hart said. "But then all of a sudden, he's lying flat on his face.
"Tell me how he got there?"
In the Redskin locker room, Parrish smiled and said, "I guess he (Parris) fell down."
Wilkinson acknowledged Parris told him he was a victim of interference. "I'll have to look at it on film," the St. Louis coach said.
Parrish's interception was a key but not the whole story. The Cards also lost four fumbles.
"The fumbles cost us the game," said guard Bob Young. "We outhit 'em. We outplayed 'em." St. Louis outgained Washington in total offense, 376-191.
The Cards' first fumble by rookie running back Ottis Anderson on the second play from scrimmage gave Washington a quick 7-0 lead when linebacker Don Hover pounced on the loose ball in the end zone.
"I couldn't believe it bounced that far," said Anderson. "I've seen people scrambling for the ball on TV. Now I can believe things like that."
The Redskins' second touchdown came later in the first quarter on a 41-yard pass from Joe Theismann to wide-open Buddy Hardeman. "We just blew the coverage," admitted safety Ken Stone.
Hart added that the Redskin safety blitz, which resulted in three sacks, disrupted the St. Louis attack, particularly in the first half.
"They did pretty much what we expected them to do, except for the safety blitz. It surprised us and caused some problems."
Even so, Hart completed 24 of 43 passes for 306 yards. "I respect their nickel defense," he said, "but we felt we could pass."