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Classic Rewind: Packers Shoot Past The Redskins

Posted on October 05, 2010 by A.J. Foss

Many fans were hoping for a shootout when two of the most high-powered offenses in the NFL, the Washington Redskins and the Green Bay Packers, got together for a week 7 Monday night game in Lambeau Field.

The Redskins were the defending Super Bowl champions and entered this game with a 5-1 record, their only loss being a 31-30 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in week 1.

Washington’s offense had been outstanding though the first six games as it averaged nearly 30 points and 356 yards per game,

Quarterback Joe Theismann had all sorts of his weapons with a backfield that consisted of running backs John Riggins and Joe Washington to go along with a great corps of receivers known as the “Fun Bunch” for their end zone celebrations, Art Monk, Charlie Brown, and Alvin Garrett.

But the heart of the Redskins’ offense was in its offensive line, known as the “Hogs”, who were able to dominate the line of scrimmage to provide huge holes for their running backs and allowed Theismann the time to find his receivers.

The Packers had a high-powered offense as well as it averaged nearly 27 points and 389 yards per game through the first six games, thanks to quarterback Lynn Dickey.

Despite their great offense, the Packers were 3-3 because they had the worst defense in the league.  Entering the game, the Packers defense gave up an average of almost 28 points and 385 yards per game.

However, the Packers defense came up with the first big play of the game when linebacker Mike Douglass hit Joe Washington after he caught a screen pass at the Redskins’ 25-yard-line, causing a fumble.  Douglass picked up the loose ball and ran in for a 22-yard touchdown to give Green Bay a 7-0 lead just 67 seconds into the game.

Gerry Ellis caught passes for 105 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins.

When the Redskins got the ball  back, they drove 55 yards in six plays for a touchdown that was unconventional as Riggins fumbled the ball at the Green Bay 1-yard-line, only to have tight end Clint Didier recover the ball in the end zone for a Washington touchdown.

The score was 7-7 when the Green Bay offense finally got onto the field, which got a field goal on its opening drive as Jan Stenerud, kicked a 47-yard field goal to put the Packers ahead 10-7 with 6:34 to go in the first quarter.

Washington was poised to score another touchdown on its next drive as the Redskins faced a second-and-goal at the Green Bay four-yard-line.  But on the next two plays, Theismann was sacked by linebacker John Anderson and defensive end Ezra Johnson, respectively, forcing a field goal from Mark Moseley, who made it from 42 yards out, tying the game at 10-10.

The fireworks continued into the second quarter when on the first play of the quarter, Dickey found his tight end Paul Coffman, for a 37-yard touchdown to make it 17-10 in Green Bay’s favor.

Once again, the Redskins drove down the field and this time got a touchdown when Riggins dove for a one-yard touchdown, tying the game 17-17 after only 19 minutes of play.

Both teams got one more score in the first half as Dickey found Coffman for a 9-yard touchdown to put the Packers back up 24-17, then Moseley drilled a 28-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half, cutting Green Bay’s lead to 24-20 as both teams went into the locker room for halftime.

Any hopes of the two defenses making adjustments and limiting the offense were quickly squashed on the Packers’ opening drive of the second half.

Green Bay drove 82 yards in just 42 seconds as fullback Gerry Ellis took a sweep play and ran it in for a 24-yard touchdown, giving the Packers their largest lead of the game at 31-20.

However, the rest of the third quarter would belong to the Redskins as Washington scored the next 13 points of the game.

First, came another field goal by Moseley, this time a 31-yarder, which was followed by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Theismann to Joe Washington and finally a 28-yard field goal by Moseley with 10 seconds left in the quarter, putting Washington ahead for the first time in the game at 33-31.

Joe Theismann passed for 398 yards and John Riggins rushed for 98 yards in the loss to Green Bay.

However, the lead did not last long as Harlan Huckleby returned the following kickoff 57 yards to the Redskins’ 39-yard drive setting up a three-play touchdown drive which culminated with a 2-yard run by tight end Gerry Ellis on a end around that put Green Bay back ahead 38-33 with 13:45 to go in the fourth quarter.

The Redskins came right back with another touchdown as Riggins, who was limited in the second half due to a pinched nerve in his right hip, ran in for a 1-yard touchdown to give Washington a 40-38 lead with 9:57 remaining.

Following the Riggins touchdown, the Packers drove back into Redskins territory where they faced a 3rd-and-13 at the Redskins’ 31-yard-line.  That is where Dickey found fullback Mike Meade at the 23-yard-line, who ran down the left sideline and then leapt from the two-yard-line over free safety Mark Murphy, for a spectacular 31-yard touchdown, that gave the Packers the lead once again at 45-40, with 7:23 left in regulation.

Four minutes later, the Redskins retook the lead when Theismann threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Joe Washington to give the Redskins a 47-45 lead with 2:50 to go in the game.

Green Bay took the ball over at its own 36-yard-line with 2:42 left but Dickey would threw incomplete passes on first and second down.

But on 3rd-and-10, Dickey completed a short pass to Ellis in the right flat, who then split Redskins linebacker Monte Coleman and rookie cornerback Darrell Green, running it all the way down to the Redskins’ eight-yard-line as Green tackled Ellis before he could get into the end zone.

But Green’s tackle was a blessing in disguise for the Packers as it allowed Green Bay to milk the clock as much as possible.

The Packers ran three straight running plays up the middle before Stenerud came on to attempt to a 20-yard field goal.

Jan Stenerud's 20-yard field goal proved to be the game winner.

The kick was true and the Packers had the lead at 48-47, but they were 54 seconds left, giving Washington just enough time to drive down the field and set up a game-winning field goal by Moseley.

The Redskins drove from their own 23-yard-line to the Packers’22-yard line thanks in large part to three catches by Joe Washington, setting up a 39-yard field goal attempt by Moseley with three seconds left

It seemed like it was a sure thing the Redskins would as Moseley had a lifetime percentage of 82% from kicks inside 40 yards.

But on this night, Moseley would miss as his kick sailed right and the Packers came away with a 48-47 victory in the highest scoring game in Monday Night football history.

The stats complied by both offenses are staging as the teams combined for 1,025 yards of total offense and 56 first downs.

The Redskins finished with 552 yards of offense as Theismann completed 27 of 39 passes for 398 yards and two touchdowns as Joe Washington combined for 137 yards on 25 touches and two touchdowns, to go along with Riggins’ 98 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns, despite the fact that he was limited in the second half.

For the Packers, they complied for 473 yards of offense, with most of it coming through the air as Dickey completed 22 of 21 passes for 387 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception as Green Bay averaged 9.1 yards per offensive play in this game.

The game was a microcosm of the Packers’ season as they would give up points just as quickly as they scored them.  Green Bay would finish with an 8-8 record and after the season head coach Bart Starr was fired.  Dickey would play two more seasons with the Packers before he retired.

After their narrow defeat, the Redskins would not lose again for the rest of the regular season.  The Redskins would finish the season with a 14-2 record as it broke the record for most points in a season with 541 points scored.

The Redskins made it back to the Super Bowl only to be crushed by the Los Angeles Raiders 38-9 in one of the most decisive blowouts in Super Bowl history.


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