Theismann has been undefeated well into a season before; in 1978, his first year as a full-time starter, the Redskins won their first six games, and then went on to finish 8-8. That started the gripes. "You name the raps, I've had 'em," Theismann said last week. "My arm isn't strong enough. I don't stay in the pocket, and I scramble too much. I stay with my primary receivers too long. It goes on and on. I've been knocked every way a quarterback can be during my 12 years. My wife, Cheryl, used to say, 'Why not ask them to trade you?' "
Obviously, Theismann has hit his stride under Gibbs, who served apprenticeships under Don Coryell at St. Louis and San Diego and as John McKay's offensive coordinator at Tampa Bay. Gibbs, who wears glasses, doesn't exactly look like a pro coach. And he teaches a Bible-study class on Sundays and has a religious vocabulary rarely heard among NFL brain trusters. He's also low-key and without pretension. In fact, last week a visiting writer, observing a man dressed in a frumpy gray sweatshirt, thought the guy was the 'Skins' equipment man. It was Gibbs.
But he has managed, through hard work and that old NFL success ingredient, strength of character, to make winners of a collection of barely known newcomers and a few veterans such as Theismann, Moseley and Running Back John Riggins. One way or another they eke out a victory.
In Sunday's less-than-ideal weather conditions, both sides had practically to eke their hearts out, so sparse was the scoring. Moseley's 45-yard field goal with 9:46 to go in the first quarter provided the first points. It was his ninth straight attempt without a miss. Brown's touchdown came five minutes into the second quarter, and Moseley's second field goal finished the Redskins' scoring toward the end of the third quarter. Philadelphia, meanwhile, was scoring twice in the third quarter, the first time when Tony Franklin kicked a 41-yard field goal, the second when Jaworski and Carmichael teamed on a 44-yard touchdown play, after which Franklin blew the extra point. And that took care of the point-making for the day.
The fourth quarter was nothing but a struggle, with the interceptions by Murphy and then Peters turning back Philadelphia each time it seemed poised for the kill. For the workmanlike Redskins, it was simply another day, another dollar. Nothing seems to come easy in Washington this year, but for the 'Skins, it just keeps coming.