A Redskins Christmas Carol: Oh RGIII!
The Redskins and Cowboys are meeting for the NFC East title on Sunday. It is not, of course, the first time the teams have met with a lot on the line. Here, in chronological order, is a look back at five of the biggest Cowboys-Redskins games ever.
Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments.
Redskins 26, Cowboys 3 12/31/72, NFC Championship game, RFK Stadium—The Redskins advanced to their first Super Bowl by playing nearly a perfect game in thumping the Cowboys. The home team took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter when Billy Kilmer hit Charley Taylor on a slant or 15 yards and a touchdown. But it was still a game at 10-3 going into the fourth quarter. Kilmer and Taylor sent the crowd into a frenzy by connecting on a 51-yard bomb. Taylor had blown past backup cornerback Mark Washington, who made a futile diving attempt to stop the wide receiver. Kilmer’s pass was perfect and Taylor gathered it in for the touchdown. The Redskins defense did its part, sacking Roger Staubach six times and holding him to 98 yards passing.
Cowboys 35, Redskins 34 12/16/79 Texas Stadium—Things looked good for the Redskins a couple of different times in this win or go home season finale in Dallas. Washington was up 17-0 early in the second quarter as Joe Theismann threw for one touchdown and ran for another. But the Cowboys reeled off 21 answered points and took a 21-17 lead into what would be a wild fourth quarter. The Redskins rallied and John Riggins appeared to clinch the division when he started up the middle, broke to his right, got a full head of steam going, and rolled 66 yards for a touchdown and a 34-21 Redskins lead with 6:41 to play. But the game took one final turn. They didn’t call Staubach Captain Comeback for nothing and his two touchdown passes in the last 2:20 of play won it for Dallas. He lofted the second one to Drew Hill from eight yards out with 42 seconds left and that was the dagger for the Redskins.
Redskins 31, Cowboys 17 1/22/83, NFC Championship game, RFK Stadium—It was the ultimate home field advantage, a packed house that was cheering and chanting an hour before kickoff. The Redskins rewarded their faithful by taking a 14-3 lead as halftime approached. Dallas was driving until Dexter Manley made road kill out of quarterback Danny White. The hit knocked out White out of the game and sent in Gary Hogeboom at quarterback. But the inexperienced Hogeboom didn’t know that he was supposed to shrivel up in fear of the hostile crowd. He brought the Cowboys back and it was 21-17 going into the fourth quarter. The Redskins, though, rewarded the fans for their enthusiasm. With Washington holding on to a seven-point lead, Manley tipped a Hogeboom pass high in the air. Defensive tackle Darryl Grant caught the ball at the ten, high-stepped into the end zone and emphatically spiked the ball. What sounded like an extended sonic boom erupted from RFK Stadium and the Redskins were on the way to the Super Bowl.
Redskins 31, Cowboys 10 12/11/83, Texas Stadium—CBS bill this one as “The Game”, a meeting of 12-2 teams with the division and home field throughout the playoffs on the line. The Redskins jumped out on top 14-0 in the first quarter but Dallas settled in and make to a 14-10 game at intermission. On Dallas’ first possession of the second half, coach Tom Landry looked on in horror as White ran a fourth and one play near midfield when the plan was for him to simply try to draw the Redskins offside. The cameras caught Landry yelling “No, Danny, no” as the ball was snapped and the Redskin stuffed the play. With the momentum back on their side the Redskins took care of business. After a Darrell Green interception, Joe Theismann threw a 43-yard touchdown bomb to Art Monk to make it 21-10 and the Redskins were on their way to the division title.
Redskins 27, Cowboys 6 12/30/07, FedEx Field—The fact that the Cowboys had wrapped up the top seed and had nothing to play for took little of the luster off of this game for the Redskins. Not only would a win put them in the playoffs, it would be a fitting tribute to teammate Sean Taylor, who had been shot and killed in his home the previous month. This one was Redskins all the way. Clinton Portis got the scoring going with a 23-yard run up the middle. Portis, a teammate of Taylor’s at the University of Miami, scored again in the third quarter as he blasted in from a yard out to give the Redskins a 20-3 lead. The clincher came when Santana Moss, another Miami alum, hauled in a 43-yard touchdown pass from Todd Collins in the fourth quarter.