The Washington Redskins remember this eerie scene among dozens of others that night: Quarterback Stan Humphries was lying on the turf in pain, and as doctors and trainers stood over him, trainer Bubba Tyer noticed something weird.

"It looked like we were surrounded by Eagles," Tyer said.

That wasn't even the strangest part. It was the sight of cornerback William Frizzell screaming, "Hey, you guys are going to need a bus to get all the stretchers back home."

A few feet from that scene, Eagles defensive end Reggie White was kneeling on one knee, saying a prayer for Humphries.

"I've never seen anything like it," Tyer said.

That night the Eagles cursed the Redskins and screamed at them and gave them a thorough physical whipping at the line of scrimmage. One player remembers hearing: "Do you guys need any more body bags?" The Eagles defeated the Redskins, 28-14, and it happened Nov. 12 at Veterans Stadium, on "Monday Night Football" in front of a national television audience.

The Eagles' defense scored two touchdowns and forced two other turnovers that led to nine- and 33-yard drives for their other scores. The Eagles limited the Redskins to 50 yards rushing -- their second-lowest total this season -- and they gained 150. They set out to win a physical matchup and they did.

When it ended, the Redskins had nine injured players. Humphries, Walter Stanley and Gerald Riggs went on injured reserve and Joe Howard was knocked cold.

Later that week, after looking at the films and seeing how his team had failed to respond, Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs called his players off the field and berated them for what had happened. He challenged them to do better.

The Redskins have responded by winning five of their last seven games and they have earned what they most wanted: a playoff game against the Eagles, 12:30 Saturday afternoon at Veterans Stadium.

The Redskins do not fight wars of words. It's not the personality of a team dominated by quiet veterans and it's certainly not the personality of their businesslike head coach.

But the Redskins probably want to win this game as much as any similar game in the Gibbs era. The Redskins choose their words very carefully, talking about effort and motive and such. But, in an era when pro athletes often are criticized for being too professional and motivated only by money, the Redskins clearly have a high school-like passion for playing the Eagles and Coach Buddy Ryan.

"The way it happened up there, we should be mad," Redskins defensive tackle Darryl Grant said. "We should be upset. But it's got to be the type anger that'll be positive and get everybody motivated. I don't think there'll be any greater motivating factor than watching the films of the last game. If that's not enough, what is?

"They made up their minds they wanted to come out and destroy us. They had a good, positive football arrogance about themselves, a good feeling. They came out geared up. We didn't match their intensity.

"What we had to do is say, 'We're going to match their intensity.' You have to have a mentality they're going to have, and we didn't equal that the first time. There were two different attitudes going into that game, and it showed. Football is a vicious game and you have to approach it that way. They did and we didn't. We're fortunate to get an opportunity to redeem ourselves."

The Redskins, publicly at least, say there's no point in talking. "Some teams can talk and back it up," quarterback Mark Rypien said. "We prefer to do it on the field; then you've earned the right to say anything you want."

Grant added: "The bottom line is proving your point on the field. They boast and they brag, but they also went out and did it. You can't take anything away from them."

If there is one Redskin torn by all of this, it is linebacker Wilber Marshall. He began his career in Chicago, where Ryan was one of the NFL's most successful defensive coordinators, and he knows how people work up a passion for his ex-coach.

Marshall said he knew that when Ryan became a head coach, there would be hot rivalries and some coaches and players who would become almost obsessed at the idea of beating Ryan.

"He does what he does to motivate his guys," Marshall said. "Maybe it's the wrong way of doing things, giving them all that freedom. But that's just his philosophy. Everyone has their own philosophy, and that's his. I'm sure the Eagles believe what he's telling them and they're winning games. Their attitude keeps getting more positive."

Marshall said he can remember Ryan's meetings in Chicago, when the coach would look a cornerback or a linebacker in the eye and say, "You can't cover their guy."

"All week, he'd say that," Marshall said. "And I think all he wanted was for you to talk back to him. He wanted you to yell, 'Hey, I'm not going to let anyone kick my rear end.' That was how he built your confidence. By the time you'd get into the game, you'd be ready to go out there and kill someone. He's just giving some of those guys that same attitude and he's using it to get them pumped up to play."

Ryan doesn't care if his players fill up the other teams' bulletin boards, whether they promise to kick someone's tail.

Gibbs says nothing. Players say he is passionate and funny in practice, but whatever they think about opponents stays behind closed doors. Publicly, they believe that if they speak very softly, they will be forced to carry a smaller stick.

"They're just totally different," Marshall said, "but they try to do the same things. Coach Gibbs does it a different way. Both of them know there are certain players you can talk to and certain players that need to be brow-beat. Buddy does it the tough way, while Coach Gibbs does it the rational quiet way. They get the same results."

Gibbs took exactly that approach in yesterday's news conference. "You just prepare and know what's at stake," he said. "You take a common sense approach to it. Here's what happened the last game and show the film. Our players have in mind what they think of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia players know what they think of us. I don't think I'm going to change that by trying to water something down."