Moseley has done wonders for straight-ahead kicking. "The shoe people tell me that sales are way up on square-toe kicking shoes," says the 10½B.
Only last September, Moseley was fighting for his job. But Gibbs decided to keep him over rookie Dan Miller, and off went Moseley to a record streak of 23 consecutive field goals, in rain and snow and from as far away as 48 yards. Says Gibbs, "It's almost like we have a patent on winning. Just keep it close and let Mark kick the field goals."
Moseley gives a lot of credit to Punter Jeff Hayes for taking over the kickoff duties. "Usually, at this time of year, everything aches—legs, hips, foot. But this year I feel great. Kicking off takes so much out of you." Redskin fans should remember that the next time they think about booing Hayes, as they did for his punting on Saturday.
The Redskin players graciously pass along praise to teammates. This bucket brigade of compliments is part of the family atmosphere that Gibbs has fostered. In a way, last season's 0-5 start was a help because the Redskins came out of the adversity together. The relationship between coach and quarterback was a little rocky until Theismann paid a surprise visit to Gibbs one night to clear the air, and they both began to believe in each other.
After those first five games Gibbs decided to go to the one-back, two-tight-end offense he had designed at San Diego. Alternating Riggins and Joe Washington as the single set back, the Redskins began to move the ball. "The formation does two basic things," says Gibbs. "In this day of 3-4 defenses, it's tough to control those outside linebackers, but it's a lot easier if you put a big man in front of them—I'd rather have a tight end instead of [5'10", 179-pound] Joe Washington blocking for Riggins. The second thing is that you can use your tight ends in a variety of ways, like we did with Kellen Winslow in San Diego."
Gibbs, 42, is well aware that the ball works in mysterious ways. He's a born-again Christian, as well as being a former national 35-and-over racquetball champion and the son of a North Carolina sheriff. During the strike he taught Bible study classes to troubled teen-agers in the inner city. "I find inspiration from the Bible all the time," he says. In Chapter 35, Verse 9 of the Book of Isaiah, he might have found a playoff tip: "No lion shall be there."
Indeed the Lions felt a little guilty about qualifying for the tournament with a 4-5 record. "We're Number Eight! We're Number Eight!" Clark chanted after the Lions beat Green Bay two weeks ago to squeak into the playoffs.
But then this had been a strange season all the way around for Detroit. Sims staged a holdout in training camp. Punter Tom Skladany and Kicker Ed Murray walked out together, got the bum's rush when they tried to walk back in together, and were finally, and reluctantly, accepted. Owner William Clay Ford called the team "a ragtag operation all the way around," and All-Pro Tackle Keith Dorney accused some of his teammates of not trying hard enough. Injuries and incompetence decimated the defensive secondary. And nobody knew who the quarterback was, unless it was some guy named Hippleson.
Only one Lion win came in a game in which Hippie or Gary Danielson played the whole time. For the playoffs, Clark chose Hippie. "A gut decision," said Clark, whose gut is too big to ignore.
For a short while, a very short while, it looked as if Clark had made the right move. But then came three fumbles and two interceptions, dropped passes galore and a touchdown called back because of holding. Whenever the defense tried to gamble with a blitz, Theismann picked it up and burned the Lions.