Joe Theismann overruled Coach Joe Gibbs last night in Washington's 27-14 victory over Atlanta and since Theismann was right, Gibbs said he didn't really mind.
With the Redskins leading, 7-0, midway in the second quarter, they faced fourth and goal at the one-yard line after John Riggins was stopped for no gain on third down.
Gibbs sent in a play called "70-Chip," which would have sent Riggins behind the left side of the line. It was the play that Riggins broke for the key touchdown of the Redskins' 27-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins in the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Instead of giving the ball to Riggins, Theismann put the ball on his hip and rolled right, untouched into the end zone.
"It's the right 14 years of seniority gives you," he said. "It was my call alone. Nobody knew I was going to do it but me, and I didn't even know until I went back (to hand off to Riggins). Even John thought he had the ball.
"On the previous down, I noticed the cornerback fire out. This time, I saw him do the same thing, just what I wanted him to do."
Gibbs smiled when asked about the play.
"Joe did it," he said. "He does that sometimes. All I care about it that he makes it."
All things did not go that smoothly for Theismann last night.
After Riggins scored his second touchdown of the game, on a one-yard run with 1:42 remaining in the third quarter to give the Redskins a 20-14 lead, Theismann and kicker Mark Moseley had a problem as Theismann held for the extra point.
Theismann said the tip of the ball was wet and he never had a good hold of it as Moseley approached for the kick. Moseley tried to stop his kick, but could not. He hit part of the ball -- and a lot of Theismann's left (nonthrowing) hand.
"Mark tried to put my middle finger and my ring finger through the goal post as well," Theismann said. He already was playing with his left thumb taped after jamming it last week.
Moseley's kick never reached the goal post.
"He dropped the ball and tried to reach for it," Moseley said. "I just kicked it and I thought I cut his fingers off. I was scared. I don't know how he kept his fingers on his hand."
Theismann finished the game completing 19 of 25 passes for 170 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown to Calvin Muhammad in the fourth quarter. In the second quarter, Theismann began throwing medium-range passes, particularly picking on right cornerback James Britt. "We tried to spread the defense out," Theismann said. "We started playing cat and mouse, and this time, the cat got the mouse."
Before the game, Riggins was quoted as saying he believed he was being used too much. Last night, he carried 32 times for 100 yards, the fourth time this year he had rushed for 100 yards.
Gibbs was asked about Riggins' comments.
"I don't know," he said. "John would probably have to explain that. John determines how much we use him. We run a one-back offense, and if he is tired even a little bit, he can come out. I only want him in when he is feeling great."