The first two weeks of the season had been much kinder to quarterbacks than the previous few seasons, when many of the stalwarts of the glamour position went down with a myriad of injuries. Last weekend, however, quarterbacks began paying the price.

The Redskins' Mark Rypien is likely to be out about two months following arthroscopic knee surgery. Minnesota's Wade Wilson, off to good start with seven touchdown passes, will be out at least a month after ligament surgery on his right (throwing) thumb.

And all three Indianapolis quarterbacks were injured in Sunday's 24-10 loss at Houston.

The Vikings, like the Redskins, will turn to a promising, but untested, quarterback who has been waiting for an opportunity. With Tommy Kramer long gone, the man is Rich Gannon, 24. He's the holder of most passing records at the University of Delaware, but has thrown only 21 regular season passes, none since Oct. 2, 1988.

"I feel bad for Wade," Coach Jerry Burns said. "He had gotten off to a good start and was playing well, but I feel the team will rally around Rich.

"I am concerned about putting an untested guy in there, but what can I do?"

Colts Coach Ron Meyer is asking the same thing.

He started No. 1 draft pick Jeff George in the Astrodome, although George had missed practice during the week with an abdominal strain.

By the second quarter, Meyer sent in Jack Trudeau, but Trudeau went out with a concussion and a bruised left hand in the fourth quarter.

In came Mark Herrmann, who lasted only two plays before suffering a separated right (throwing) shoulder. He is likely to be put on injured reserve.

George was forced to finish the game. Afterward, Meyer said he regretted playing George at all.

Trudeau probably will start this week as the Colts seek their first win, but Meyer, who some believe is a chief candidate to be the first NFL coach fired this season, says his team has more problems than at quarterback.

"We're not shooting ourselves in the foot -- we're actually amputating both legs," he said. "We're just killing ourselves, and then we're bleeding to death while we're out there." 1990 Looking Like 1980s

Many people saw the upheavals of 1989 as an indication of what would come in the '90s in the NFL, but after three weeks of the new decade, 1990 looks surprisingly familiar. Pre-1989 familiar.

The Bears, instead of falling apart, look like the power of the NFC Central as Detroit and Green Bay have not shown a semblance of the promise with which they entered the season.

The Bengals, who fell to 8-8 in 1989 after going to the Super Bowl the previous season, are unbeaten and averaging 29 points per game. The Bills, despite clubhouse strife that disrupted the team in December, are 2-1 after Thurman Thomas ran for 214 yards in Monday night's 30-7 thrashing of the Jets.

Although the Bears are being cautious about their 3-0 start -- Chicago was 4-0 last year before going 2-10 the rest of the way -- some numbers are glaring.

From 1984 through 1988, the Bears never finished lower than No. 2 in total defense. Last year, they were No. 25. After three weeks this season, they are back to No. 3.

Among the reasons for Chicago's slide in 1989 were injuries, especially one that sent defensive tackle Dan Hampton out for the season after the 4-0 start. Hampton is upbeat this year.

"This is a new year with a new team and a new attitude," he said. "If it starts raining, we don't think there will be a flood.

"Everybody is happy." When Reality Sets In

Yesterday's trade in which the Cowboys obtained three high draft picks for reserve quarterback Steve Walsh gives Dallas five first-round picks and five second-round selections over the next two NFL drafts. That would seem like a dream for any team attempting to rebuild, but what no one has addressed is how the Cowboys will pay for all that talent if they hold on to those picks.

At the going rate for first and second selections, Dallas would have to be willing to commit more than $30 million just to sign those draftees. . . .

When told of the Walsh deal, in which the Saints gave up No. 1 and No. 3 picks in 1991 and a No. 2 in 1992, the Rams' administrator of football operations, Jack Faulkner, said, "It sounds like a Lawrence Welk trade -- aah one and aah two and aah three." . . .

Among those whose NFL lives with their current teams apparently will be extended at least one more week are San Diego kicker Fuad Reveiz and Minnesota punter Harry Newsome.

Before Sunday's 24-14 win over Cleveland, Chargers Coach Dan Henning told Reveiz he would lose his job with one more poor performance. Reveiz kicked a 42-yard field goal and just missed a 44-yarder into a strong wind.

Newsome dropped a punt snap with 25 seconds left in Sunday's 19-16 loss to Chicago. The Bears recovered and with four seconds remaining Kevin Butler kicked the winning 52-yard field goal. Ryan on Rushing

The Philadelphia rushing game under Coach Buddy Ryan has often been criticized, but in Sunday's 27-21 road conquest of the Rams, Anthony Toney gained 103 yards on 23 carries.

"We should've taken {Toney} out of the game before he got 100 so we could keep that myth going that we don't have anybody that can rush for 100 yards," said Ryan.