MIAMI -- The play very likely has some sort of fancy-dancy name, like 10 Red Pop Q-Squared INF on 2. What the neatest, but most dangerous, idea in the Redskins repertoire ought to be called is "Jay Away."
To the Vikings, and at least one playoff opponent Sunday night, the Redskins offered this intriguing statement: If nobody else can run very far, our quarterback will.
Twice against the Dolphins, Jay Schroeder faked to a Redskin paid principally to carry the ball, pulled it from his buddy's belly and lit out on his own. This is the football equivalent of dancing on a tightrope spread across Connecticut Avenue. And with a fairly stiff breeze jiggling the wire. Even a great gain could end with the loss of your most valuable player.
Well, it all worked out nicely in Joe Robbie Stadium. Except for this ironic and frustrating twist. Schroeder scored one touchdown and set up another with his legs. Trouble is, it was his team that eventually fell.
The gang that needed victory the most on this balmy night grabbed it. By losing, Miami would have been eliminated from the playoff race; by the arm the Redskins respect as much as any, Dan Marino's, the Dolphins made their upcoming final regular season week meaningful.
Mostly, the game was well played and well coached. The only nit-picky second-guessing at Joe Gibbs was declining a five-yard penalty that would have taken the Dolphins out of field goal range for their first points.
Faud Reveiz proceeded to boot a 48-yard field goal, his longest of the season. Given a second chance, though, Marino might well have completed the pass that would have led to a touchdown.
Other than playoff maneuvering, Schroeder and Marino were the major attractions. With two of the strongest arms in the league, they are Winchester versus Remington. Hit the whites of a receiver's eyes at 60 paces.
Neither quarterback disappointed. Schroeder kept it exciting for the Redskins with his arm and his legs; Marino pulled a Schroeder, snatching a 23-21 comeback with an 80-yard drive.
For a change, the Redskins established more than a hint of a ground game. George Rogers was tough inside, when he kept hold of the ball; Kelvin Bryant was elusive; Schroeder was as productive as the others.
The Dolphins often have been as dreadful stopping the run as the Redskins have been running. And Washington's success enabled Schroeder to shake free for a touchdown as well as a most bizarre run.
Each time, salesman Schroeder convinced the Dolphins he had given the ball to a Redskin inside. The first time, he scampered around left end for a three-yard touchdown. This was after the Redskins called time, to switch from a passing scheme (with Bryant at running back) to an apparent run mode (with Rogers trotting onto the field).
Later, Schroeder skipped 16 yards to a first down. Either being courageous, or foolish, he turned upfield instead of out of bounds -- and gained 30 more yards by falling down. That was made possible by the Dolphins' Bud Brown, who was called for a personal foul on the tackle and assessed 15 more yards for bumping an official in the ensuing argument.
The Redskins scored in four plays from the great field position Schroeder gave them, Rogers dashing in on first and goal. Of the three Redskins "runners" who scored, only Rogers did not spike the ball. By that time, ground success was getting pretty ho-hum.
The only thing wrong with that Washington drive was that lots of time remained for Marino to be heroic. As the Redskins feared, he was up to it.
Redskins coaches spent a great deal of the game playing mind games with Marino. What it amounted to was football's version of "What's My Line?" And different men kept signing in at different positions on nearly every play. Marino might step behind center and see three rushers and four linebackers. The Redskins have used that tactic before, but not so often. Also, the identity of those three linemen would change from play to play. Sometimes it would be Charles Mann, Darryl Grant and Markus Koch; more often, Mann, Dave Butz and Koch.
Oddly, Dexter Manley was the odd man out on this tactic. Even when defensive boss Richie Petitbon had his troops in the traditional four-man line, he offered Marino a dollop of surprise. At one point, Koch could be seen backpedaling his 275 pounds. He actually was in pass coverage, assigned to trail a running back. No, Marino did not spot this mismatch.
When he had to be, Marino was sensational. While passing his team to victory, he also figuratively passed one Hall of Famer and joined another. His 393 yards made his 26th time over 300 yards, moving him ahead of a former Redskin helping pass the broadcast back to Washington, Sonny Jurgensen. Marino now is tied for second all-time with John Unitas. And the pup is only 26, with plenty of time to catch and pass Dan Fouts (51 over-300 games).
That Marino would be tough in the clutch was a given for the Redskins; that destiny was the unseen 12th player for the Dolphins during their winning drive became apparent on a Marino incompletion.
How's that? On second and 10 from the Washington 17, Todd Bowles seemed ready for a game-saving interception at the goal line. The ball all but plopped into his hands, when Barry Wilburn unintentionally careened into Bowles and knocked the ball loose. It almost was a double KO, Wilburn staying on the ground long enough for the Redskins to worry. Unnecessarily, it developed, for he soon hopped up and off.
On the winning pass, that six-yarder to Mark Duper, Dennis Woodberry was a fraction of a second late on a batdown try. Duper bobbled the ball; Woodberry dived to slap it away -- and hit only the ground as Duper secured his end zone catch.