ORCHARD PARK, N.Y., NOV. 1 -- The last time Dexter Manley got a sack it was Christmas time and he was prone to saying happy things like "ho, ho, ho!"

Nowadays, Manley doesn't say a thing (to reporters, anyway), and there was plenty to talk about today.

Twice, he rushed by Buffalo Bills tackle Leonard Burton and slammed quarterback Jim Kelly to the ground. Another time, he popped Kelly from the backside and the ball flew free, but officials ruled an incomplete pass.

Manley, who does talk to teammates, said to defensive end Charles Mann: "Oh boy, I got three sacks today."

Actually, it was two, but who's counting (besides Manley)?

At the least, Redskins coaches are breathing a collective sigh today. Manley got half a sack last Dec. 21 in Philadelphia, and he's been shut out ever since. This year, he has vowed not to talk to reporters because, as he put it today, "I'm still in {alcohol} rehab, man."

But really, there hasn't been much to say. Last week, sackless for 1987, he said: "I'm washed up. Print it."

Redskins coaches saw this quote and used it as a rallying cry all week. "Hey, you really washed up, Dexter?" they said. "That's what the newspaper says, Dexter. Are you really washed up?"

Manley chose to answer them on the field today. And when the day was done, Mann said he saw Manley run off the field, screaming at Buffalo fans.

Manley was saying: "Do I look washed up? Do I look washed up? Huh? Huh? Do I look washed up?"

Coach Joe Gibbs, in particular, was thrilled by today's developments.

"Dexter is definitely an inspiration to our defense," Gibbs said. "When he gets cranked up, it means a whole lot."

There are several loud ways Manley gets his teammates motivated. According to cornerback Barry Wilburn, Manley gets in your facemask sometimes or grabs your hand sometimes.

"He'll grab your hand and shake it so hard," Wilburn said. "He's too strong. He just keeps squeezing it until you cry. In the meantime, he's yelling at you: 'Let's goooooooooo!'

"Sometimes he's out there high-fiving every play. Sometimes he's doing so much he doesn't hear the defensive calls. We've got to tell him what they were.

"Listen, Dexter's my man. Some all-pros would just stare at you, and say, 'I'm all-pro. Why should I talk to you?' But he pumps us all up. He's my man."

Manley, who rarely got close to Jets quarterback Ken O'Brien last week, apparently was feeling depressed much of this week, according to teammates. Mann, who had three sacks against the Jets, was getting all the glory, which Manley wasn't accustomed to. Mann didn't run up to Manley and say, "I got three sacks today!" but Manley was counting.

"He was very tight this last week," Mann said. "You could just see it in his eyes."

But after Manley's first sack, Mann said he saw that old verve.

"Suddenly, we were on the sideline discussing ways of beating our men," Mann said. "It's definitely competitive between us. Friendly, but competitive."

Of course, Manley got going against Burton, who is normally a guard or a center and who was playing only because starter Will Wolford injured an ankle in the first quarter. Manley lined up wide against Burton and had a relatively easy time cruising past.

"I felt {Manley} coming all the time," Kelly said, "But I felt No. 51 {Monte Coleman}, No. 71 {Mann}, you name it."

Bills Coach Marv Levy said Wolford's injury created "considerable" impact on the game. "We had to put a young man in against an outstanding defender," Levy said. "In the second half, we helped him with a guard, but the damage was done."

Burton says he and Manley talked. It was late in the game, and Manley kept sprinting by him, and Burton began to hang his head.

"Everything will be all right," Manley told him. "Hang in there."

Burton said: "Right, man."

And later, as he unwrapped tape from his sore ankles, Burton said, "Yep, Dexter told me to hang in there, easy for him to say."