The coach of the New York Giants made a remark after today's mangling by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that could be an incentive for the Redskins.
"The loss puts us in a spot where we pretty much are working on next year now," Ray Perkins said following a 31-3 loss to the Buccaneers. "We knew we had to win this one (to have a shot at the playoffs) and we didn't."
The Giants now have a 5-7 record, three games behind the Redskins, Dallas, and Philadelphia in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference. Tampa Bay has the best record in the conference, 9-3, two games ahead of the Chicago Bears (7-5) in the Central Division.
Doug Williams, a passer with a 41.2 completion average coming into today's game, achieved 50 percent with 12 connections in 24 attempts, including two touchdown throws to wide receiver Larry Mucker. Williams was neither sacked nor intercepted.
His job was made easier by a dominating defense that directly accounted for a touchdown on a 32-yard runback of a fumble recovery by linebacker Dave Lewis and set up a four-yard scoring run by Johnny Davis on one of two interceptions of rookie quarterback Phil Simms of the Giants.
It was Simms who fumbled the ball away to Lewis and he also was sacked five times.
"Simms didn't have a very good game," said Perkins. "He was just inconsistent. In fact, this was by far his worst performance since taking over seven games ago (winning five and losing to Dallas and Tampa Bay)."
The Giants escaped a shutout because of Joe Danelo's 21-yard field goal in the third quarter. Neil O'Donoghue kicked a 40-yarder for the Buccaneers.
The Giants had a 4-0 record against Tampa Bay since the Buccaneers came into the National Football League four seasons ago as an expansion team, but some Tampa Bay players said they were motivated to end that streak today because of some "bad mouthing" the Giants did after a 17-14 victory in New York earlier this year.
John McKay of the Buccaneers acknowledged after that defeat that he had been outcoached, because the Giants had shut down his offense with a surprise showing of a 3-4 defense.
McKay said of the difference today, "We vowed we were going to run on them or die, and we did."
Ricky Bell pushed for 102 yards on 15 carries by halftime and increased it to 152 by the end of the game on seven more carries.
The blocking of Johnny Davis and the frequent use of two tight ends was credited by quarterback Williams with making the running and passing games go. As the score reached 21-3 in the third quarter there was a graphic picture of a balanced attack when it was announced that the Buccaneers has rushed for 150 yards and passed for 150 on the way to 363 yards total offense.
Still, McKay was not taking himself seriously. He said, "I'm going to go home tonight and congratulate myself for being such an intelligent coach."
McKay was asked if the Bucs, who scored with 1:05 left in the game, ran up the score against the Giants.
"Gentlemen, since I've been in this league I've lost games like 42-0 on bombs on the last play of the game," McKay said. "Anybody I can beat as badly as I can, I will. I have no compassion."
"We have the best material in the NFC, no question," McKay said. "Other teams have only been around 32 or 40 years and we've had four whole drafts."
McKay said of his troops being aroused by the remarks in New York, "Call it a clash of personalities and see who were the talkers and who were the doers."
Williams refused to say whether his performance was influenced by a controversy over his alleged salary in connection with a charge by the Nfl Players Association that the NFL is a monument to racism.
"We're going to talk football, football, football . . . right?" he said. "The big difference in this game with the Giants was we could run the ball today, with Johnny Davis blocking out (nose tackle) John Mendenhall.