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Rypien's bang-up effort scores big with Gibbs Gutty job likened to bloody Theismann


ASHBURN, Va. -- Coach Joe Gibbs ignored one statistic yesterday when he viewed the videotape of the Washington Redskins' 15-13 victory over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.

He didn't count the number of times quarterback Mark Rypien was knocked down.

"We try and forget that," he said. "We don't want everybody to remember that. We run through those real quick."

Gibbs, though, will remember Rypien's performance under a fierce pass rush for a long time.

Forget the 442-yard passing day against the Atlanta Falcons last year. Pulling out a victory under adversity is what impresses Gibbs.

"It means more to me than any of those other games when he throws for all those yards," he said. "It was a gutsy game for him. He got hit and knocked around a lot and had to make a lot of decisions. That means more than some of those days when he looked pretty last year."

Gibbs ranked it with one of his favorite quarterback performances. That was when Joe Theismann was intercepted three times in the first half, had a couple of teeth knocked out and yet led the Redskins to a 15-14 victory over the New York Giants in 1982 on Mark Moseley's late field goal.

Rypien was in college then, but Gibbs has told him about that game.

"He mentioned that to me afterward that the one thing that sticks in his mind about Joe [despite the Super Bowls] was the game when he had his teeth out, blood all over his jersey and he came away with a hard-fought win," Rypien said. "Sometimes, guys are measured on games like this more than they are when things come easy."

Rypien said in addition to the sprained right knee the team announced Sunday, he damaged the sciatic nerve in his left leg.

"I was throwing with no legs, all arm, and it looked like that at times, too," he said. "I threw some of the ugliest balls I've seen. I didn't feel like I had anything on the ball at all."

Rypien said he felt better than he thought he would yesterday after the pounding he took, but he said the sciatic nerve still bothers him when he "stretches or bends over or does anything like that."

Rypien also said he had no aftereffects from getting shaken up scrambling for a fourth-quarter first down.

"They didn't ask any questions, so I'm saying, 'Hey, Oct. 24th, it's Oct. 24th. Don't worry I'm fine,' and then Brian Mitchell's in the background going, 'Ryp, it's Oct. 25th,' and the coaches are going, 'Quiet, he's close. Leave him alone. He's in the month,' " Rypien said.

Rypien didn't recognize the first play Gibbs wanted to call, so they changed it to one he recognized.

"It was like three-quarters of my brain was there," he said.

Rypien said he was fine once he went back on the field, but Gibbs called a pass play on second down he could have long regretted because Jack Del Rio almost picked it off.

Gibbs knows what what would happened if the pass had been intercepted and the Redskins had lost.

"That would have been all you would have been writing about for a long time. That would have been right up there with that [Rocket Screen in Super Bowl XVIII against the Los Angeles Raiders that Jack Squirek intercepted for a touchdown]."

Gibbs then called a running play on third down and Chip Lohmiller came in to kick the game-winning field goal.

One thing that will help the Redskins offensive line is that it will face losing teams the next two weeks -- the Giants and Seattle Seahawks.

The Redskins also got good news on the injury front yesterday. Linebacker Andre Collins will have a magnetic resonance imaging on his back today, but the Redskins don't think it's a serious problem. They also think that guard Joe Jacoby, who went out with a pinched nerve in his neck, could be back for the Giants game.

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