Maybe the price of Kansas beef futures just went up $200,000. Maybe John Riggins will want $700,000 to play for the Redskins next year. Maybe the Redskins ought to start gathering their pennies to give it to him.

In Washington, Monday mourning began about 10:15 Monday night. Anyone but the most partisan Texan could only walk away from the Cowboy-Redskin game mumbling a twist to an ancient sporting cliche: "Boring in every quarter . . ." It was that way, in large part, because Redskin runners were gaining inches instead of yards.

"The offensive line wasn't working as hard as I've seen them in the past," one prominent Cowboy defender said minutes after the 17-3 Dallas victory. "But the Redskins missed Riggins a whole lot more maybe than they thought they would. Where they missed him most was in situations where either a pass or run might get a first down.

"It's a wonderful thing if you can slip the ball to a big fullback up the middle at an angle that the line doesn't have a good shot at him. It's a big factor. Most of the championship teams have had a powerful fullback like Riggins -- the Packers with (Jim) Taylor, the Steelers with Franco (Harris), the Dolphins with (Larry) Csonka."

Perhaps because he is a veteran and accustomed to the stinginess of Cowboy management, he added: "I can't imagine anyone walking away from the kind of money John was making. Most everybody in this league retires two years too late. He's retired two years too soon. At least."

Mostly, Dallas won because it covered its obvious weaknesses much better then the Redskins covered theirs. With all the injuries and retirements, four urban cowboys might have been as skilled as the secondary Tom Landry used in the season opener. It was clearly worse than what the Redskins riddled for 34 points the last time the teams met. Holding a team to a field goal is the NFL equivalent of a shutout.

"We knew with Benny Barnes out, the front four had to take over," said Harvey Martin. "If we work hard, we should be in every game. No teams are much good without a tough front four."

He referred to the dominant presence once again of Too Tall Jones at the opposite end and its apparently splendid difference by noting that Washington had rushed for just 58 yards and saying: "Last year we gave up a lot of 100-yard (rushing) games. We want to put that in the history books."

Martin was knocked senseless reasonably early in the second half, but not by a Redskin. Or at least not by a Redskin with that in mind. Little Joe Theismann was indirectly responsible for Harvey's headache.

"He stepped up in the pocket and me and (defensive tackle) Larry Cole ran head on. Cole's the one who knocked me out."

A Dallas writer in search of spice said to Martin: "Looks like you were hurt more by your own teammate than by anyone in the Redskins." Martin shook his head in silence. For one of the few times in memory, he would not be a partner to bulletin-board material. The man who threw a wreath in the Redskins' burial last year in Dallas threw away the controversial bait this time.

This was in keeping with the surprisingly tame mood of the game. Unlike prior collisions that seemed so war-like, Monday's was played simply with victory in mind rather than also collecting scalps. Does that mean a Rivalry might be slipping toward being a rivalry?

"It was surprisingly low key," Cowboy offensive tackle Pat Donovan volunteered. "There were no elbows thrown, no talkin' back and forth among eight or ten guys. That's the first time I can remember anything like that in a Cowboy-Redskin game.

"It was really unusual in that respect. I don't know why. Maybe our being ahead had something to do with it. But I kinda missed it. Really." Here a devilish smile appeared and Donovan added: "It adds a bit of flavor. hYou expect a lot of that. Small talk. Chit chat."

Washington chit chat now may be more gloomy than necessary, although the Redskins always seem to play badly on the road against the Giants. Coach Jack Pardee must be almost desperate for Brad Dusek, Neal Olkewicz and Don Warren to return to the lineup and for Wilbur Jackson to assume some of the power-running burden.

"The best thing that can happen to us," said linebacker Pete Wysocki, "is to play the Giants."

How's that? After all, the Giants have won five of their last eight games against the Redskins.

"Ever fall out of a tree?" Wysocki said. "Before you get afraid, you've got to get right up and get back up in that tree. We gotta develop some amnesia in a hurry on this team."

And also a way to run and a way to stop everyone else from running. Danny White throwing still does not inspire confidence in Dallas. But by running for an enormous amount of the game Monday the Cowboys kept White's arm where they wanted it -- below shoulder level. And the Dallas defense too often forced Theismann into third-and-an-acre situations.

For the Redskins, it would have been far better had Randy White or Too Tall Jones had that emergency appendectomy than cornerback Barnes. And their new kick snapper (Jeff Bostic) and punter (Mike Connell) should be vastly improved, because neither could have experienced more first-game pressure. Mark Moseley certainly can be excused for acting mortal once a season, although the Redskins depend on his power and accuracy almost as much as they do on Theismann's arm.

Before advocating amnesia, Wysocki said: "We ought to improve by leaps and bounds. We have so many young people. "He and the other red-faced Redskins are anxious to redeem themselves from the harsh words of an RFK customer behind the Dallas bench.

"You stink," he yelled toward the Cowboys. "But the Redskins stink more."