During all the talk this week about The Streak, Mark Moseley has tried to keep his words nonchalant and cool.
Forget that facade. Moseley very much wants to make National Football League history today when the Redskins play the New York Giants at RFK Stadium (WDVM-TV-9, WMAL-630 at 1 p.m.).
Moseley has been successful in his last 18 field goal attempts over two seasons. After all the attention he's received lately, he thinks most of the free world must know he needs only two more to tie Garo Yepremian's league record.
"I'm sure I'm going to get it, and get it today," said Moseley as he carefully polished his kicking shoe. "I wanted to stay cool about all of it, but I feel myself getting excited about the possibility and anxious to get it over with.
"I feel I'll break it because I feel good about everything that's happened this season. I've been hitting everything consistently and I can't have a better attitude about what's been going on."
Outside of another possible afternoon of poor weather, Moseley's major problem today will be the same as always--he does not know if he will get a chance to kick. With his team trying to clinch a playoff berth, Coach Joe Gibbs said Moseley will get no special consideration.
"Don't get me wrong; we all want Mark and any other individual to get all the honors they can," Gibbs said. "But the team has to come first. If we need a 54-yarder at the end of the first half, then we'll send him in.
"I talked to the team about that at great length this week. Records will have absolutely no bearing on any decisions during a game. I don't think Mark wants it any other way. Otherwise, it would be a fluke; it wouldn't have as much meaning."
Moseley has averaged three attempts a game this season and has provided the point differential in four of Washington's five victories. Considering the Redskins' recent problems scoring touchdowns and the Giants' defense, which has allowed 27 points in three weeks, field goals could play a major role. The Redskins are favored by 3 1/2 points.
The Redskins' pattern has been to keep turnovers to a minimum (seven offensive mistakes all season), use field goals by Moseley to take a lead into the fourth period and then hold on behind the running of fullback John Riggins, who also has lots of incentive today on RFK's newly resodded field.
Riggins, in his 11th season, needs two carries to give him 2,000 for his career. Only Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson, Franco Harris and Walter Payton have rushed more times. If Riggins gains 107 yards, he'll pass Larry Csonka and move into seventh place on the all-time yardage list.
"We'd like to start scoring more touchdowns and make things easier for ourselves," said quarterback Joe Theismann, who has completed 64 percent of his passes. "There is no reason why we can't, other than the fact the Giants have an awfully tough defense. We have a good concept around the goal line and we have the players who can get touchdowns. We've come close and we should have more than, what, two in three weeks?"
The Giant defense may have other ideas, especially linebackers Lawrence Taylor, Brad Van Pelt and Harry Carson. Every Giant game is a test for the Redskins' one-back offense, which was installed to handle 3-4 defenses and the outside pressure applied by blitzing linebackers, like Taylor. Washington's usual pattern against Taylor is to use tight ends and pulling guards to provide extra blocking help.
This is an unusual game for the Giants, whose coach, Ray Perkins, announced last week he will replace Bear Bryant at Alabama next year. But Perkins insisted the change would not interfere with preparations for a game his team needs to win more than the Redskins do.
This also will be the first time Washington has played against running back Rob Carpenter, one of the major reasons New York made the playoffs last year. Carpenter was hurt for one Redskin game in 1981 and was a contract holdout when Washington won this season, 27-17. Since then, New York (3-3) has a three-game winning streak.
Quarterback Scott Brunner hurt his right (throwing) thumb against the Eagles last week. He should be all right today (Jeff Rutledge is his backup), but the Giants' offense showed it could function well when he's hurt by driving 88 yards in 18 plays against Philadelphia, using up 10 minutes.
"We expect a very physical, probably low-scoring game," Gibbs said. "Even when we beat them in November, I remember looking up at the scoreboard in the fourth period and seeing that we were ahead by only a touchdown. We were about as sharp as we could be and it was that close. That burns into everyone's minds. We may be 5-1 but, more than anyone else, we are aware of how we got here. The Giants are going to come gunning for us. We better be ready."
Giants nose guard Bill Neill has a bad knee and may not play . . . Redskins defensive end Tony McGee, second on the team in sacks, hurt his shoulder in practice this week and was added to the injury report but should play today.