The Redskins were sent a message today by the St. Louis Cardinals: the NFC Eastern Division race is not over yet.
That encouragement will be minimal since the Eagles probably will be seething when they play host to the slumping Redskins next Sunday after the previously winless Cardinals ended Philadelphia's three-game unbeaten streak, 24-14.
Ottis Anderson of the Cardinals upstaged Wilbert Montgomery of the Eagles by rushing for 151 yards and two touchdowns, while the Philadelphia running back was held to 73 yards.
Montgomery left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury described as hip pointer and Coach Dick Vermeil said he was not certain whether Montgomery could play next week.
"I'm concerned about Wilbert," Vermeil said. "That's a very painful injury and it could mean him being out anywhere from one to three weeks." Vermeil said wide receiver Scott Fitzkee broke a foot and will be out of action six to eight weeks.
Ron Jaworski completed only 16 of 36 passes for the Eagles and was intercepted three times, the first time for a 70-yard touchdown runback by cornerback Carl Allen.
Jim Hart of the Cardinals was permitted to gamble on fourth down twice by new Coach Jim Hanifan and Anderson justified the call both times. The first time, in the third quarter Anderson set up his first touchdown, which came on a 14-yard run. Then, on the first play in the fourth quarter. Anderson scooted 37 yards to score on fourth and one.
The Eagles also gambled twice on fourth down. Behind, 7-0, in the second quarter after Allen's interception return, the Eagles were at fourth and one at the St. Louis one-yard line when Jaworski rolled out and ran for a touchdown to tie the score.
In the third quarter, the Eagles came to fourth and eight at the St. Louis 36; Vermeil called for a fake punt by Max Runager.
Just before the ball was snapped, Runager left his punting position and ran up to block while John Sciarra -- a combination safety punt returner, holder for kicks, and former quarterback from UCLA -- quickly shifted to take the snap.
Sciarra attempted to sweep around right end but was stopped after a yard gain by linebacker John Barefield of the Cardinals.
The Cardinals took possession on their 35 and drove 65 yards to an insurance touchdown on Anderson's 37-yard run at the start of the third quarter.
Because the Cardinals reacted so quickly to the Eagle fake punt, Barefield was asked if he knew it was coming.
"No, I just figured they would try a trick play," he said. "It was just instinct . . . football instinct."
Sciarra was asked if the Cardinals seemed to know he was going to run the ball instead of Runager.
"I think they knew when I shifted behind the center," he said. "The Cardinals hollered but I think they just got a feel when they saw me come in from my wingback blocking position.
"We had a mixup with guys from the offense mixing with members of the special team . . . it was a lack of communication."