Tag Archives: Washington Redskins

Super Bowl XXII

Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego
January 31, 1988

Washington Redskins 42
Denver Broncos 10

This was the Doug Williams Super Bowl, and the second Super Bowl in a row that the Denver Broncos took a beating.

The Redskins set the following Super Bowl records in the victory:

* Total offensive yards (602)
* Total offensive rushing yards (280)
* Most touchdowns scored in a Super Bowl game (6)
* Total offensive yards in a quarter (356)[2]
* Most points in a quarter and in a half (35)
* Most touchdowns in a quarter (5)
* The largest deficit that a team has overcome to win a Super Bowl (10 points)

Both teams combined to set the following records:

* Total combined offensive yards (929)

Redskins quarterback Doug Williams was named the Super Bowl MVP, completing 18 of 29 passes for a Super Bowl record 340 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception. Williams became the first player in Super Bowl history to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter, and throw four in a half. Williams was also the first African-American quarterback to win the Super Bowl.

The Broncos routed the Houston Oilers in the Divisional round of the playoffs, 34–10. Denver then won the AFC Championship Game in an exciting game over the AFC Central champion Cleveland Browns 38-33 for the second consecutive year. The game featured the play that became known as The Fumble resulting more bad luck in Cleveland professional sports lore: Denver defensive back and former Tampa Bay Buc Jeremiah Castille stripped the football from Browns running back Ernest Byner and recovered the ensuing fumble as Byner was rushing in for the potential tying touchdown, securing the Broncos’ win.

Meanwhile, the Redskins had narrow wins in the playoffs. First, they won at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears, 21–17. The Redskins won a defensive battle against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, 17-10.

The game started out very well for Denver. After forcing Washington to go 3 and out, the Broncos’ scored on their first play from scrimmage, when quarterback John Elway threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to wide open receiver Ricky Nattiel, giving Denver a quick 7–0 lead after just 1:57 had elapsed in the game. It was the earliest touchdown any team had ever scored in Super Bowl history.

The Broncos quickly forced Washington to punt, and put together another drive. After getting to the 6-yard line, they were forced to get a field goal, and went up 10-0.

On the Redskins’ first play of the second quarter, receiver Ricky Sanders got behind defensive back Mark Haynes (who tried to jam him at the line of scrimmage), caught a pass from Williams, and took it 80 yards for a touchdown. After forcing the Broncos to punt on their next possession, Washington advanced to the Denver 27-yard line. Facing third down and 1, with Denver’s defense expecting a running play, Washington decided to pass and receiver Gary Clark made a diving catch in the end zone for a touchdown to give Washington a 14–10 lead.

After the ensuing kickoff Denver drove to the Washington 26-yard line, aided by running back Sammy Winder’s 27-yard reception and Elway’s 21-yard run. After Elway threw an incomplete pass on third down, however, Karlis missed a 43-yard field goal attempt. On the first play of the Redskins’ ensuing drive, Williams threw a 16-yard completion to Clark. Then on the next play, running back Timmy Smith, a rookie in his first NFL start, took off for a 58-yard touchdown run, making the score 21–10.

The Redskins increased their lead to 28–10 on their next possession with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Sanders, making him the first player in Super Bowl history to catch 2 touchdowns in a single quarter. Four plays after the ensuing kickoff, Washington defensive back Barry Wilburn intercepted a pass from Elway on the Redskin 21 yard-line, and once again the Redskins stormed down the field to score. First, Timmy Smith broke loose for a 43-yard run, then Williams completed a pair of passes to Sanders to reach the Denver 7-yard line. Two plays later, Williams threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Clint Didier to make the score 35–10. On Denver’s next drive, Elway completed 3 consecutive passes for 40 total yards to advance to the Redskins 36-yard line. However, Washington rookie defensive back Brian Davis intercepted Elway’s next pass at the 21-yard line with 7 seconds left in the half.

By the end of the game, Elway was sacked five times and threw three interceptions, and Washington scored another touchdown, a 4-yard run by Smith in the fourth quarter, to bring the game to its final score of 42–10.

The Wonder Years premiered on ABC at the conclusion of this Super Bowl. This was only the second successful series to debut following the Super Bowl (The A-Team, which premiered following Super Bowl XVII, was the other).

Super Bowl XVII

January 30, 1983
Rose Bowl

Washington Redskins 27
Miami Dolphins 17

This Super Bowl followed a strike-shortened season. Instead of 16 regular season games, 9 were played.
The game was a rematch of Super Bowl VII, also played in the Los Angeles area at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum ten years before, where the Dolphins completed their 17–0 perfect season at the Redskins’ expense by a score of 14–7.

This Super Bowl was the John Riggins game. Washington’s running back, John Riggins, was named Super Bowl MVP. He finished the game with 2 Super Bowl records: the most rushing yards in a Super Bowl game (166), and the most rushing attempts (38). His performance was also his fourth 100 yard rushing game in a row in a postseason game, a postseason record. Riggins also recorded a reception for 15 yards, giving him more total yards than the entire Miami team. Much of Washington’s success on offense was also attributed to their offensive line, affectionately known as “The Hogs”.

The Dolphins’ main strength was their defense, nicknamed the “Killer Bees” because 6 of their 11 starters had last names that began with the letter “B”. The “Killer Bees”, anchored by Pro Bowl defensive tackle Bob Baumhower, led the league in fewest total yards allowed (2,312) and fewest passing yards allowed (1,027). Linebacker A.J. Duhe was extremely effective at blitzing and in pass coverage. And the Dolphins secondary, consisting of defensive backs Don McNeal, Gerald Small and brothers Lyle and Glenn Blackwood, combined for 11 interceptions.

However, this was the pre-Dan Marino era for the Dolphins, and quarterback David Woodley, ranked last in the league in passing with 1,401 total yards, 8 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.The Dolphins advanced through the special 16-team playoffs by defeating the New England Patriots, 28-13, the San Diego Chargers, 34-13, and the New York Jets, 14-0, to earn a trip to their fourth Super Bowl in team history.

Meanwhile, the Redskins beat the Detroit Lions, 31-7, the Minnesota Vikings, 21-7, and the Dallas Cowboys, 31–17.

Miami scored first on their second possession with a 76-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Woodley to wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo. Then after forcing the Redskins to punt, Woodley attempted a deep pass again, but was hit by Washington defensive end Dexter Manley causing him to fumble, and defensive tackle Dave Butz recovered the ball. The turnover led to Redskins kicker Mark Moseley’s 31-yard field goal to cut the lead 7–3 two plays into the second quarter.

Miami then followed with a field goal, increasing their lead 10-3. Then the Redskins went on an 80 yard scoring drive, capped by a 4 yard Joe Theismann touchdown pass to Alvin Garrett, tying the score 10-10. But, he tie did not last long: Fulton Walker returned the ensuing kickoff a Super Bowl record 98 yards for a touchdown to give the Dolphins a 17–10 lead. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown in Super Bowl history.

In the 3rd quarter, Washington drove on their second posession, and settled for a field goal cutting their deficit to 17–13.

In the fourth quarter, Washington had another drive, and reached Miami’s 43 yard line, and face fourth down and one to go. Instead of punting, the Redskins decided to gamble and attempt to get the first down with a run from Riggins. But Riggins did a lot more than pick up the first down. Coach Joe Gibbs called his trademark play I-Right 70 Chip, starting TE Clint Didier in motion towards the right, then reversing motion back to the left. Theismann handed to Riggins who broke a tackle from Miami cornerback Don McNeal and took off for a 43-yard touchdown run, giving Washington their first lead of the game, 20–17, with a little more than 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Washington quickly forced Miami to punt on their next possession, and punt returner Mike Nelms’s 12-yard return gave the Redskins great field position at the Dolphins 41-yard line. The Redskins then executed 5 consecutive running plays by Riggins, consuming a lot of time off the clock and moving the ball to the 23-yard line. Then on third down, Theismann made a key pass completion to Brown to the 9-yard line. Riggins then advanced the ball to the 6-yard line with two more runs. Then after the 2-minute warning, Brown caught a touchdown pass on the next play, increasing the Redskins lead to 27—17 and putting the game away.

Washington had completely dominated Miami in the second half, allowing only two first downs and no pass completions. Overall, the Dolphins gained just 9 first downs and 4 completions in the entire game.

Following the game, NBC aired the premiere episode of The A-Team, beginning the tradition of the game’s
host network airing programming after the game.