At the tail end of the first quarter, Theismann threw 46 yards to Garrett down to the Viking 11, but even on that play, Riggins had a role. Theismann handed the ball to his fullback who, upon hitting the line, spun around and lateraled the ball back to Theismann, who then threw a perfect pass to the 5'7" Garrett. "That play's been in football since George Halas," said Minnesota Coach Bud Grant.
Riggins to the six, Riggins to the three, Riggins to the two, and the Redskins had a fourth-and-one. Now Riggins to the goal line. "That was a gut call," said Gibbs, meaning gut with a small g. It was also a 50 Gut, and Mark Moseley's kick gave Washington a 14-0 lead.
The Vikings and Quarterback Tommy Kramer were having their troubles. Not until the last play of the first quarter did Kramer complete a pass or get a first down. Three plays later he hooked up with Terry LeCount on a 42-yard floater to the Redskin 21. From the 18, Running Back Ted Brown went through a big hole, made a nice move to the left and caught a corner of the end zone. Washington came right back, a 30-yard pass to Charlie Brown putting the ball on the 24. After Riggins carried for six, Theismann hit Garrett on a post pattern. 21-7.
All the Redskins had to do in the scoreless second half was hand the ball to Riggins and keep Two-Minute Tommy in check, which they did, although Kramer did give them a scare or three. He found White in the end zone from 28 yards out in the third quarter, but White dropped the ball. Then on fourth-and-six, Joe Lavender tipped away a touchdown pass to Sam McCullum. White also flubbed three other passes. "I'll never forget this game," said White. "This is a hurting thing. I had a chance to be a hero. As it turns out, I'm nothing but the goat."
"Last year I felt we had to improve our aggressiveness," said Redskin Defensive Coordinator Richie Pettibon, once a jarring defensive back himself. "We stressed that in training camp, and it paid some dividends in dropped balls today."
In the meantime, Riggins paid dividends on offense. In the second half alone, he had 18 carries for 110 yards. The game was in such control that with 8:15 to go, the 54,593 fans started chanting, "We want Dallas! We want Dallas!"
With 4:17 to go, Riggins broke off his longest run of the day—29 yards. He got the call the next five times, and then walked off to a standing O. He stopped near midfield, doffed his helmet and bowed royally to the south and then the north. His 185 yards were a personal best, and his 37 carries a Redskin record.
In the last two weeks, including the Skins' 31-7 win over the Lions, Riggins had 304 yards rushing. Saturday's was his 20th career 100-yard game; his first came in 1972, when he was a second-year Jet out of Kansas. "I remember watching him with the Jets when I was three or four years old," said Redskin Center Jeff Bostic, who was only kidding. When Riggins left the Jets as a free agent after the 1975 season, he was courted by Grant and the Vikings. "I wined him and dined him," said Grant, who shares Riggins' fondness for the outdoors, "but the Redskins offered him more money."
In those days, Riggins was famous for his antics and beloved for his quotes. He sat out the 1980 season, and when he came back in '81, he was no longer talking to the press. That year he surprised people by rushing for 714 yards. "He's quicker this year," says Bostic.
Now 'bout them Hogs: Three of the starting five interior linemen, Right Tackle George Starke, Right Guard Fred Dean and Bostic had been cut by other NFL teams. Left Tackle Joe Jacoby was brought into camp last year as, Gibbs thought, a defensive tackle. When Gibbs found out Jacoby's 295 pounds were meant for offense, he almost cut him. Russ Grimm, drafted as a center in 1981, had to be moved to left guard because of Bostic's play. Together they did a great job Saturday on one of the better defensive lines in football.