Tandler's Take: Back in Time

The Giants are Washington's oldest rivals; they've been going at each other since 1932. Leading up to this Sunday's big game against the G-Men, Warpath Insiders looks back at some of their greatest battles.

Redskins vs Giants 12/19/82 by Rich Tandler

 

The Giants are Washington’s oldest rivals; they’ve been going at each other since 1932. Leading up to this Sunday’s big game against the G-Men, Warpath Insiders looks back at some of their greatest battles.

 

12/19/82

REDSKINS (6-1) 15, Giants (3-4) 14

50,030

NYG

7

7

0

0

 

14

Was

0

3

6

6

 

15

First Quarter

NYG

Perkins 28 pass from Brunner (Danelo kick)

Second Quarter

Was

FG Moseley 20

NYG

Woolfolk 1 run (Danelo kick)

Third Quarter

Was

Washington 22 run (kick failed)

Fourth Quarter

Was

FG Moseley 31

Was

FG Moseley 42

 

“It was like a Hollywood script,” Redskin safety Mark Murphy said, “you couldn’t have written it any better.” Except even fiction couldn’t have been as compelling or as exciting as the truth about this one.

 

With three games left in a strike-shortened season, a win for the 5-1 Redskins over the 3-3 New York Giants at RFK Stadium would give them a playoff spot, a loss would put them in the muddled middle of the postseason picture. Before Mark Moseley, who was this close (thumb and index finger an eighth of an inch apart) to losing his job during training camp had a chance to attempt a game-winning, playoff-clinching, record-setting field goal, the Redskins had to scrap and come off the mat and give him a chance to try it.

 

Washington turned the ball over five times in the first half, four of those being interceptions thrown by Joe Theismann. The first and third picks by the Giants led to touchdowns. The Redskins could only hold on to the ball long enough to tally a Moseley field goal and trailed at halftime 14-3.

 

"I told them at the half that we were fortunate not to be further behind," said coach Joe Gibbs. "I told them that if we could put together one pounding, sustained drive with a lot of plays and score a touchdown, we'd be right back in the game."

 

The Redskins clearly believed in their second-year coach and did exactly as he suggested. Their 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to open the second half was exactly what Gibbs had asked for at halftime, even though the scoring play wasn’t exactly as he had drawn it up in the playbook.

 

After passes to Don Warren and Charlie Brown led to a first down at the New York 22, Gibbs called for a halfback option, with Joe Washington sweeping right, pulling up and throwing to Art Monk. New York sniffed it out and Monk was covered. Washington reversed his field and took off around left end. The Giants were caught flat-footed and the only obstacle between Washington and the end zone was cornerback Terry Jackson. "I saw one friendly jersey and it was Joe Theismann's," said Washington. "Then I had to get by one Giant or flip the ball to Joe, like a wishbone quarterback."

 

Theismann made the decision easy as he dispatched Jackson with a textbook cross-body block and Washington scooted into the end zone.

 

It had been snowing off and on the entire day and the field was wet and muddy. The point after attempt slipped off of Moseley’s wet toe, and the Redskins trailed 14-9.

 

As the fourth quarter began, the snow began to fall harder. It was time for a Riggo Drill, Gibbs decided, calling John Riggins’ number eight times in 10 plays. It was good enough to get in position for Moseley to kick a 31-yard field goal with 6:23 left in the game to bring Washington to within 14-12. It was Moseley’s 20th straight successful attempt, tying Garo Yepremian’s NFL record for consecutive field goals made. He was hoping for an opportunity to break the mark.

 

Deprived of Washington turnovers, the New York offense did nothing in the second half. They were given a golden opportunity to salt away the game after their defense stopped Riggins short on a fourth and one at the Washington 40, but Scott Brunner was sacked twice and they had to punt. The Redskins took possession at their own 29 with 3:38 left.

 

On second down, Theismann found tight end Rick Walker over the middle for 20 yards to get the drive started. A facemask call pushed it forward to the Giants 44.

 

“When a kicker is on a roll like that,” said Joe Jacoby, “You’re confident that when you get on the other side of the 30, you’ve got three points.”

 

On third and five from the 39, Theismann squeezed the ball to Brown between two defenders for 14 yards to the 25. After a holding penalty, Riggins got it back to the 25 and the Redskins let the clock run down to 9 seconds before calling time out. It was snowing as hard as it had been all day.

 

The only words from Moseley before the kick were his customary “Let’s get it, Joe” to holder Theismann. With the consecutive field goals record, thegame, and the playoff spot all riding on the kick, Jeff Bostic’s snap and Theismann’s hold were perfect. Moseley tried to get a little extra foot into it, giving the Giant’s Byron Hunt a chance to get a finger on the ball. The kick wobbled a bit, but it could not have been more beautiful for the Redskins and their fans. It cleared the crossbar with plenty to spare.

 

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has detailed coverage of every game the Redskins played from 1937 through the 2001 season. For details, go to RedskinsAtoZ.com

 


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