The San Diego Chargers were not impressed. Not even after the Redskins had scored 40 points, intercepted four Dan Fouts passes and sacked the bearded quarterback four times.
"Dan Fouts had a bad day," said San Diego Coach Don Coryell.
"They didn't dominate us," said Charger tight end Kellen Winslow. "We gave them the game. The early mistakes hurt us, then we caught back up, but mistakes kept creeping up on us the second half. I'm not sure exactly what it was."
"Might be the flattest game we played all season," said Charger receiver Charlie Joiner.
"I hope we weren't overconfident, but we might have been," added receiver John Jefferson. "We do tend to have bad games against so-called weaker teams, the ones with poor records. We beat a good Philadelphia team last week, then come in here and get blown out."
The Chargers were more surprised and embarrassed than angered by the loss to the 4-10 Redskins. San Diego is 9-5.
Fouts was the angriest Charger yesterday, even if he did become the first quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in two consecutive seasons.
"That personal stuff means nothing when we give away a game like we did today," Fouts said before excusing himself from reporters and exiting quickly from the Charger locker room.
Fouts' fast getaway left several key questions unanswered. Why were the Chargers zero for six on third-down conversions? And why did Fouts complete only 13 passes for 213 yards yesterday when he'd been averaging 22 completions and 296 yards? And why was Redskin cornerback Joe Lavender, who had three interceptions, tied with Joiner as San Diego's leading receiver?
"Because Dan Fouts is human and he can have a bad day like anyone else," said Coryell. "The Redskins just played great pass defense and they put an all-out rush on Fouts all afternoon."
But Fouts and his offensive line weren't the only ones having off days. Joiner, who is only three shy of becoming the Chargers' third receiver this season to go over 1,000 in reception yards, dropped at least one pass and clearly ran the wrong route on another.
Winslow, too, had some messy moments. He dropped an apparent touchdown pass in the end zone on third down, forcing the Chargers to settle for a field goal. "It glanced off my shoulder pad," Winslow said.
Jefferson, the most explosive of the three acrobatic receivers, was covered so tight all day that he caught only two passes. "The Redskins studied our game plan well," he said. "They played a lot of double coverage and nickel (five defensive backs; the Redskins sometimes used six).
"If you look at the films of this game, you'll see that we had receivers open on almost every play," Winslow said. "But before that you'll see Dan lying underneath a Redskin lineman, or Dan tucking the ball in trying to get away from the rush."
"They just beat our coverages all day," admitted left linebacker Ray Preston. "We worked all day to take away their receivers, so (Joe) Theismann, smartly, hit his backs between the seams. We're used to dropping deep and he kept killing us with those short passes."