Mark Moseley was on his back, lying on the frozen artificial field in Busch Stadium, thinking the streak was over.
"Funny," he said, "this was the first game that I thought about the streak much. Then it was over."
But it wasn't. Moseley had botched a 37-yard field goal attempt when his plant (left) foot slipped, sending him tumbling after the kick. But the St. Louis Cardinals had jumped offside, nullifying the play. Given a second chance, Moseley converted from 32 yards to extend the streak to 15 in a row over two years.
"My left shoe has cleats that are really worn down to nothing," he said. "On this field, they gave me no traction at all. But I didn't want to change. I should have shortened my stride, but I didn't, and I lost my balance."
But, as Moseley is finding out all too well this season, streaks are not always easy to extend.
Take field goal No. 2, the 16th straight.
It hardly got off the ground. Moseley turned away in disgust and slammed his hands together. Joe Theismann, his holder, had to tell him the kick had somehow cleared the crossbar.
"The hold was in the worst possible spot in the stadium, right where the pitcher's mound usually is," Moseley said. "I had often wondered what it would be like to kick off that, and I found out today. You feel like you are lower than everyone else. There was no way we could move the ball."
Nos. 17 and 18 went smoother, but Moseley came away believing "I didn't kick anything really well today. I was glad I had a second chance on the first one; I wanted to keep it going.
"I'm just in a fortunate situation. This football team seems to need me as much as I do them. I'm getting a lot of chances to kick and they have faith in me that I will make 'em."
Moseley needs two more field goals to tie Garo Yepremian's NFL record of 20 straight.
"He's made them on every kind of field this year -- on soggy ground, in mud, in rainstorms, on a field today that had a glaze," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "We've been certainly using them (the field goals) all up this year. It's a right time and place for him and for us."
The Redskins had hoped better rushing would take some of the pressure off Moseley. They rushed 122 yards, five yards short of their combined total for the previous two games, but couldn't score a touchdown.
"They were slanting and stunting all day," guard Russ Grimm said. "It was as if they didn't think they could handle us if they just took us on straight. At halftime (with only 33 rushing yards), Joe Bugel (line coach) told us to settle down and not chase them, just to block who came in our area. It worked out much better after that."
In the second half, the Redskins went strictly with their power running scheme, giving the ball to John Riggins 19 times. They put together time-consuming drives, in contrast to last week when yielded the ball too quickly to suit Gibbs' taste.
"We decided to go with John," Gibbs said. "Even though he fumbled, he has sure hands and he got us this far. I decided to stay with him and if we went down with him, we go down with him."
Gibbs probably had no other choice. Joe Washington had a bruised hand after catching eight passes for 78 yards and running for 15 more in the first half. Washington could have returned, but Gibbs thought the injury might cause a fumble.
"We came in here determined to run the ball and determined to play hard," Gibbs said. "I told them beforehand that this is our game. We felt like we could get into the playoffs if we won today. I don't know for sure if 5-1 gets you into the playoffs but it's close, it should be enough.
"We have to feel very good about ourselves and what we accomplished. Now we want to make sure we have the home field advantage in the playoffs. That's what I told them after the game, that's our next goal."
Defensive tackle Darryl Grant, making his first start, had three solo tackles, three assists and shared a sack with Dexter Manley.