Redskin quarterback Joe Theismann called it his best football game ever. The offensive coordinator, Joe Walton, agreed.
The Redskins blitzed the Cowboys, 34-20, yesterday, scoring more points against Dallas than they have anytime since 1966. As Redskin linebacker Brad Dusek put it, "When they (the offense) do that kind of job, it makes defense easy.That's a lot of points against a pretty good defense."
The Redskins cited two major reasons:
Walton's refusal to sit on the ball this week -- unlike previous weeks -- when the Redskins had a big lead.
"I think this week was the best," Theismann said. "I made what I thought were very fine decisions today. I thought I made good decisions last week. I felt very much in control of the situation today. And that's the important thing -- that you're comfortable and have control over what you're doing."
A case in point was the third-down pass that Theismann threw to fullback Clarence Harmon on the Cowboy five-yard line late in the third quarter. Harmon dragged defender Aaron Mitchell into the end zone for the touchdown and a 21-6 lead.
"That play is designed for the tight end," Harmon said. "The tight end goes inside and I go outside. Joe reads the linebacker, who went with the tight end."
So Theismann read his key correctly and passed to the running back.
"In my book Joe's always been good. And he's learning more and more," said Harmon, who added that the main thing that Theismann is doing this year is using his secondary receivers better.
"He's a real disciplined quarterback," Harmon added. "Right now, he's playing super."
So super that Walton gushed: "It was possibly his best. But I still think he can do better. And he will. If he can do as well as he did today against the great Dallas defense, he can keep on getting better. I'm proud of him."
Walton continued. "He had things to learn, he had to get comfortable with the system, he had to get comfortable with his receivers and he had to get comfortable with me. And I think he's doing that as he goes along. And he's gaining more confidence."
But confidence was not the reason the Redskins did not play as conservatively as in past weeks while enjoying leads.
"It was one of those things," Walton said. "It was calculated. I didn't gamble that much, that we didn't think we knew where we were going, and what we were doing. Whenever we feel it's a good shot to do those things, we'll do it. We felt if we could get single coverage on the outside and if we pass blocked, we could throw on them."
One time the Redskins didn't throw was on third down in the drive that resulted in a 31-13 lead and ended any Dallas hopes for a comeback. Harmon, on a simple counter play, gained eight yards and the first down. On the next play, Theismann threw that long pass to Ricky Thompson that set up Thompson's 11-yard touchdown catch two plays later.
"We did everything we wanted to do offensively and the defense got us the football in a lot of close-in situations," Theismann said.
"We're not a football team predicated on one particular aspect for success. We don't have an overpowering offense, an overpowering defense or overpowering special teams. But we have every member contributing . . . Today was the best overall football game that I've been involved in since I became a Redskin."
This day belonged to Theismann and he got his second game ball of the season for it. This one, being against Dallas, was special -- "My most satisfying win to date," he said. And he did not want this trophy to get away from him.
Joey Theismann Jr., 7, growing impatient while the media talked to his father, tried.
"You guard that with your life," father told son. "Don't go anywhere with it. Stay right here with it.
"Daddy earned that one today."