There were mini-celebrations in a lot of different corners yesterday after the Redskins defeated the Bears, 10-9, at RFK Stadium.

A.J. Johnson collected an interception in a season when a knee injury was supposed to sideline him for the year. Joe Jacoby played an entire game at guard, where, until last week, he hadn't lined up since his rookie season.

There was an interception for Brad Edwards and another 100-yard rushing game for Earnest Byner. And rookie Brian Mitchell ran for a flashy 30 yards.

But none of the Redskins could smile as broadly as quarterback Mark Rypien after a game that he had virtually signed, sealed and delivered as a loss turned into a Washington victory.

Rypien, who entered the game with two interceptions in 205 throws, threw five interceptions yesterday. That's the most in one game for a Redskins quarterback since Jay Schroeder did it in the 1987 season.

It certainly the most in one game for Rypien, who had 20 touchdown passes and six interceptions in his previous 10 starts.

But what Rypien tried to look at was that the Redskins have won 10 of his last 12 starts and apparently are headed to the playoffs for the first time in three years.

"No one had to say anything to Rip," Jacoby said. "He's been around and he knows there's going to be ups and downs. You just have to keep plugging along."

That's the text Rypien spoke from, saying, "The main thing is we won. The defense came through and maybe, down he road, we can get one for them. I'm not pleased, but I'm happy with the win."

Rypien made only a couple of real bad throws and three mediocre ones. But the Bears entered the game leading the NFC with 22 interceptions and have turned average throws into average interceptions all season.

"They did all come in {the Chicago} end of the field," Coach Joe Gibbs said.

Rypien's first interception came on the Redskins' first possession. On first down at the Chicago 43, Rypien faked a reverse to Art Monk and threw down the middle for Gary Clark, who was running step for step with rookie safety Mark Carrier.

"We thought by faking the reverse we could get Carrier to bite a little," Rypien said. "Give him credit. He didn't. I underthrew the ball a little, but sometimes on throws down the middle, you have to lay it out there."

His second one was a bad pass, thrown low and in front of Ricky Sanders. Sanders did get his hand on the ball, but just enough to scoop it off the ground and into Carrier's hands.

With 1:46 left in the first half, Rypien threw behind Clark and to cornerback Donnell Woolford. The Bears turned all three interceptions into first-half field goals by Kevin Butler.

"You go in at halftime and you don't feel good about what you've done," Rypien said. "At the same time, we're down by nine points and we've been behind by that much before. You know you can't turn it over like that in this league, but all you can do is keep plugging. The defense saved us and we have to take our hats off to them."

Rypien hit four in a row, including an eight-yard touchdown pass to Clark, as the Redskins opened the second half with an 72-yard touchdown drive to make it 9-7. But he made a couple more mistakes, underthrowing Sanders from his own 31. Markus Paul got that one.

Carrier got his third interception when Rypien was hit by Ron Cox as he released the ball to Clark. Carrier wrestled it away from Clark as the two were about to land on the turf.

Rypien knows better than anyone else that had the Redskins lost, he would have taken the heat. Last night, he celebrated an escape.

"This is the kind of game we've needed," he said. "It's our last game against an NFC opponent, and we had to go all out. We saw that Green Bay and Minnesota had lost, so everything is set for us if we take care of business. Our running game was going pretty good the whole day. We just needed to hit a couple of big passes."