The other Redskins could be seen frolicking about the field, jumping and embracing in ecstasy that the Eagles' game-long bumbling had included the final important play. Dave Butz ignored the revelry. Head down, he rested his hands on his knees and stood in silence moments after the seemingly certain go-ahead 24-yard field goal never got off the ground.

"I was about to cry, to tell you the truth," he admitted later. Butz has come as close to being heroic as any Redskin this season, and he let some emotions flow after the 15-13 victory. We'll excuse some hyperbole.

"A tremendous culmination of a multitude of factors," he began. "Hey, we've not had it easy this season. Injuries. Mark Murphy playing with a hyperextended elbow; Neal Olkewicz with bad knee ligaments. And the Eagles looked pretty damn healthy.

"We hung in there, and I mean absolutely hung in there. Took their best shot, time after time. A helluva effort."

He looked up from his dressing stool, his face aglow with grime and satisfaction.

How many turnovers did the Eagles have, he asked.

Three interceptions and a fumble.

"Our goal was three interceptions and two fumble recoveries," he said. "Oh, well, you can't always live up to your goals."

The winners crack jokes. This was a defense that most Redskin fans were starting to believe could not keep a chicken from crossing the road let alone a collection of inspired Eagles out of the end zone. Even some Redskins agreed that Eagle pride helped the Eagle downfall.

"I thought they'd run more," Murphy said, "because they were successful early. But their whole offense -- and (Dick) Vermeil in particular -- had been criticized for being conservative."

So instead of pounding the squishy-soft right side of the Redskin defense, as everyone else has done so successfully of late, the Eagles passed sooner and more often than they probably had to.

"That worked to our advantage," Murphy said.

"When you worry about something," Butz added, "it usually goes the wrong way. We knew (Ron) Jaworski was having some problems. We knew Vermeil was having some problems."

Maybe Vermeil thought he could overcome his too-stodgy image and whip up on a bad team on the same afternoon. Maybe Jaworski thought this was the team to erase his jittery-under-pressure image.

"They looked like they did in the Super Bowl," Murphy volunteered. "They really weren't themselves."

For a huge change, the Redskins lost the stats battle and won. Philadelphia gained 240 more yards, watched in astonishment as Mark Moseley missed two extra points and still lost.

The Eagles were growling that Harold Carmichael was bumped illegally on the first of Jaworski's interceptions. Murphy caught it easily to arouse suspicions among neutral witnesses.

"Apparently," Murphy said, "they were right. Jeris (White) must have hit him. That's what he said. He said we were lucky."

But not as bad as the Eagles like to believe.

"We outhit 'em," Perry Brooks boasted. "Last time (a 36-13 rout in Philadelphia) we kinda slacked up. This time, we played 60 minutes, went after 'em, put it to 'em."

This was a rare time for such as Brooks, Dexter Manley and Monte Coleman to strut. They have not come close to playing well of late. Last week, Manley's jersey slipped over his shoulder pad after one play. Before he could trot off the field for repairs, a Bill blocker hurried over and performed the chore. He did not want Manley out of the game.

Yesterday, Brooks recovered two fumbles, although only one counted. The Redskins seemed angry enough to put through an immediate call to the league office to complain about officials' incompetency when Brooks' second recovery was not ruled a fumble.

Three plays later, they could have been yelling: hold that call. Coleman grabbed a tipped pass and ran 52 yards into the end zone for what amounted to the winning touchdown. Manley? He was credited with a sack on the play Jaworski fumbled.

It appeared as though Manley never touched Jaworski, that this was the first sack ever in which the sacker did not lay a finger on the sackee. Nobody cared to pursue the point, so battered has Manley been of late.

Moseley was dumbfounded. And thankful. One of the most accurate place kickers in the NFL for years, he missed two extra points yesterday. He was not even consistent, the first being wide left and the second wide right. He assumed all of the blame.

"For some reason I've had trouble with close ones this year," he said, also referring to a missed field goal against Dallas. "But at least I made the one (from 45 yards) that kept us going.

"I hardly see the ball at all before the kicks anyway." He snapped his finger to indicate length of time. "But I think the snap and hold were okay (on the misses). Sometimes when one kicker misses the other one does, too."

And Tony Franklin botched an extra point, hit the ball so low it hit Butz's helmet. And Dallas Hickman's hand.

"I think it still might have gone off Dave's helmet and through," Hickman said.

Hickman must have extraordinary reflexes, to slap a deflected football off a teammate's helmet.

"Lucky as hell," he said.

Added Moseley, with a perspective both teams could cling to: "Nothing's a guarantee.