Perhaps Joe Gibbs gave the consensus point of view today when he said of the Redskins' victory, "It was an all-time game.
"It wasn't the most perfect from a standpoint of turnovers and things like that, but it was a great example of two teams that wanted to go after it," added the Washington coach of his team's 30-28 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Even the Cowboys were delighted with their play, although they hated the results. "If this were the middle of the season, you could find a lot of positives in this," said losing quarterback Danny White. "But it isn't the middle of the season. It hurts to play championship-level football and lose."
Said Gibbs, "We have a bunch of tough guys. Look at the way (Joe) Theismann blocked on that (fourth-quarter) reverse. It was probably the most I have ever been a part of a game, you know, in totally changing things to cope with the fact that they weren't doing what we expected. It was a constant shuffle.
"Losing Russ Grimm (eye injury) out of the offensive line caused us some problems. I had to back off on some things I'd normally do down there near the goal line. Like on third and four, I thought we would, as normal, just go with the pass, but we had been getting so much pressure I was more conservative than normal."
Perhaps the Redskins' most pleasant surprise with the playoffs approaching was word from John Riggins that, after two weeks of rest, his aching back feels better.
"I haven't felt this good since training camp," said Riggins, who gained 111 yards in 24 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard plunge. "My nose (bent out of shape) is what I'm worried about now . . . My biggest concern (during the game) was how long I'd hold up."
Riggins said in an interview with WMAL Radio after the game that if he had run 35 times today, the Redskins would have had to pack his body in ice and send him home "in the belly of the airplane."
Regarding the Cowboys, Riggins said: "I didn't think they were that good, but they certainly did a number on me."
"You have to give Dallas credit and respect," said Art Monk, who caught seven passes for 80 yards and now has 95 catches for the season -- just six shy of the record set in 1964 by Charley Hennigan of the old AFL Houston Oilers. "No matter how many problems they say they have, they always find a way to win and keep things together."
"I can't say enough about Monk," Gibbs said. "He's been our guy. He made two great plays on that late (winning) drive. He ran the reverse (for 18 yards) and got the (flat) pass on the next play (for 15 yards).
"If we had to come back again, I would have gone to him again. Between him and Joe, they get it done."
"This was like a high-stakes poker game," said Theismann. "They pushed all theirs in. Now, we're going on. And they are about gone."