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Sports Then and Now



Classic Rewind: Eagles Comeback Shocks Redskins 2

Posted on October 23, 2009 by Dean Hybl

Each week, Sports Then and Now picks one NFL matchup and looks through the history books to find an intriguing past meeting between the two teams. We recap the game and hopefully help reintroduce (or introduce for you younger readers) you to some of the greats (and in some cases not so greats) from the history of professional football.

Since their first meeting during the 1934 season when the Redskins still called Boston home, the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins have played some exciting and memorable games. As NFC East rivals, they play twice annually in games that often have playoff implications.

Until the late 1980s, it surprisingly was not common for both the Redskins and Eagles to be contenders at the same time.

When the Redskins were contending in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the Eagles were among the weaker teams in the league. By the time the Eagles became a contender in the late 1940s, the Redskins had already started a stretch in which they recorded only three winning seasons in 22 years.

Despite the struggles of the Redskins, they did give the Eagles a serious run during the 1947 season opener. In a game for the ages, Sammy Baugh connected on five touchdown passes and Eddie Saenz had a 94-yard kickoff return for the Redskins. However, Tommy Thompson threw three touchdown passes and Steve Van Buren scored on a 95-yard kickoff return and a one-yard run as the Eagles held on for a 45-42 victory.

While the Redskins became winners in the 1970s, the Eagles were in the middle of a stretch of 11 seasons without a winning record.

It wasn’t until the late 1980s, with Joe Gibbs guiding the Redskins and Buddy Ryan guiding the Eagles that both teams were at the top of their game at the same time.

Our Classic Rewind for this week looks at a memorable matchup from the second week of the 1989 season when the Eagles shocked the RFK crowd with a dramatic fourth quarter comeback.

This game has particularly special memories for me as I was serving as an intern in the Public Relations Department of the Eagles at the time and had the pleasure of observing the game from the press box.
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      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

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      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

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