By early yesterday, Wayne Sevier had taken the paper bag off his head. Still, the Washington Redskins' special teams coach did not want to review game films of what he now calls "the absolute nightmare."
"I cleaned my desk, read the newspaper and talked to my wife," Sevier said, "before I finally looked at the film."
In the Redskins' 28-14 victory over Detroit Sunday, the Lions turned a punt-defense hat trick: they blocked one punt, partially blocked a second and tackled punter Jeff Hayes for a loss on a third.
The game films illuminated the faults:
On the blocked punt, coaches felt Hayes should have punted the ball away from the oncoming rusher instead of into him. On the partially blocked punt, strong safety Ken Coffey was beaten one on one at the line of scrimmage. And, on the play on which Hayes was unable to get the punt away, running back Rick Kane was beaten at the line because he mistakenly was blocking man for man while teammates were zone-blocking.
"It definitely put a downer on everything," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "That was really disheartening."
Sevier gave a further breakdown of the breakdowns:
* Cornerback William Frizzell broke through from the left side to block Hayes' punt, which was recovered at the Washington 19 with 5:34 left in the third quarter, Redskins leading, 28-7.
Sevier said, "We got the snap (from center Trey Junkin) that took the punter towards Frizzell. If the defense gets a free runner coming like that, (Hayes) is supposed to kick away from him, towards the right. Our punter kicked straight, right into him . . . It should be no problem."
"I tried to kick away from him," Hayes said yesterday. "Right when I kicked the ball, he smothered me."
* Linebacker Roosevelt Barnes broke through from the right side to partially block Hayes' punt. Detroit took possession on the Washington 36, trailing, 28-14, with 13:12 remaining.
Sevier said, "Barnes just whipped one offensive player (Coffey), one on one. He got through and stuck his hand up to get the punt. Barnes just made a real good play."
"It was a bust. Our guy didn't get a nose on him, just a hand. You want to block with your nose right at them," Gibbs said.
"Everybody was coming off the field saying, 'I blocked my man,' " Sevier said. "I finally figured out what happened: the guy who missed the block (Coffey) stayed on the field to play defense and never said a word."
* The Lions broke through the middle of the line and were on Hayes soon after he got the snap. Hayes was hit, fumbled and Detroit took possession on Washington's 22.
The Redskins were in a tight, zone-blocking scheme that usually is a last resort formation used when punting near the end zone. The problem was, Kane blocked one player and other defenders slid right through his zone area.
"The advantage of zone-blocking, where you block the gaps rather than one man, is protection." Sevier said. The disadvantage is coverage."
Furthermore, Sevier said, the Lions were "getting away" with defensive holding.
"No. 92 (linebacker Angelo King) grabbed Rick Kane and pulled him to the side so that No. 54 (Barnes) could pull around and through. They did it four times. We told the official after they did it the first time, in the first half, but they kept holding. It's the kind of thing that defensive linemen do all the time."
Art McNally, the supervisor of league officials, who was at the game, said, "It's legal for a defensive player to hold or grab on to a blocker so long as that defensive player continues to attempt to cross the line of scrimmage. It would be illegal for a defensive player to simply hold a person to allow another defensive player to shoot the gap."
McNally said his staff will look at the game films. This was little consolation for Sevier.
Hardly anyone seemed to remember that in the first half of Sunday's game the Redskins executed a crossfield pass on a punt return, from Mike Nelms to linebacker Monte Coleman, for a 30-yard play.
"After that, they were saying on the sidelines, 'Genius! Genius!' " Sevier said, about a nickname he first acquired after his creativity netted big-play results last season, "and I was saying, 'Yeah, yeah.' "
Coffey was admitted to Arlington Hospital yesterday to undergo tests for a gastrointestinal illness. He was expected to be released today. Gibbs said left guard Russ Grimm suffered a slightly separated shoulder Sunday and "it may cost him a lot of practice time this week."
Wide receiver Calvin Muhammad was added to the injury list with bruised ribs . . . Gibbs said he expects running back John Riggins to play Sunday in Philadelphia.