The Packers were big underdogs against the defending Super Bowl champion Redskins. Washington featured one of the best backfields in football behind quarterback Joe Theismann and running back John Riggins and rumbled into Lambeau Field with a 5-1 record.
Green Bay entered the game 3-3 and was embarrassed on Monday Night Football three weeks earlier, losing 27-3 to the New York Giants. In short, the Packers were nowhere near the playoff form that they achieved the year before.
The Packers felt they had something to prove in front of their hometown fans and they weren't about to let the Redskins get in their way.
"We got pride. We got desire. We got heart," defensive end Ezra Johnson said. "We proved what caliber team we got."
Through most of four electrifying quarters, the Packers found themselves leading, 45-40. But Washington scored a touchdown with 2:50 left to take a 47-45 lead.
On the ensuing drive, Dickey hooked up with running back Gerry Ellis on a third-and-10 for a 56-yard completion to Washington's 8 yard line. The Packers were unable to punch the ball into the end zone and settled for Jan Stenerud's 20-yard field goal with 54 seconds left.
Theismann and the Redskins put together one last drive and marched 52 yards into Green Bay territory with a golden opportunity to win the game. But the reliable Mark Moseley's 39-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right as time expired and the Lambeau Field crowd erupted with delight. "I've never been involved in a more exciting game," said Packers coach Bart Starr, who stayed on the field along with the players to celebrate with the fans.
"I wanted them to stay out there and salute the crowd, which was very instrumental tonight. The crowd was really turned on and it was a brief way to say thank you."