Payton was still in full dress an hour after the game. "The game of football doesn't owe me a thing," he said. "I'm glad it allowed me the courtesy to play." What else is there to say?
"Barry, Darrell, Brian, Charles Mann, the offensive line, everybody played great," said Redskins general manager and talent guru Bobby Beathard. "But the guy who won this ball game for us was Doug. He read the field wonderfully."
Williams would have little of it. "I like having these guys on my side," he said, sweeping his right arm across the locker room. He had completed 14 of 29 throws for 207 yards and, more important, had converted 7 of 14 third downs against a rugged defense.
Beathard says the 32-year-old Williams will be back in Washington next season, to cross throwing arms with Jay Schroeder, who started most of this season, again. Williams says he's going to play three more years. But that's way off. First, there's tomorrow. On Sunday, Williams will take to the RFK Stadium turf on which he had labored one day, nearly four years ago, before a sparse crowd in the rain for the USFL Oklahoma Outlaws against the misbegotten Washington Federals. He will meet a Minnesota team that Beathard says is "playing better than anybody."
The last team that beat the Vikings? Washington, on the final weekend of the regular season. The Redskins were trailing 24-14 late in the game when Williams rallied them to a 27-24 overtime victory. Of course, as Williams well knows, that was yesterday.