Back in Time: Super Bowl XXVI

Our Super Bowl special series ends here with the last time the Redskins won the Super Bowl. Today we look at Super Bowl XXVI, Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota January 26, 1992.

The Matchup: Washington Redskins (14-2 regular season, 2-0 playoffs) vs. Buffalo Bills (13-3, 2-0). Both teams featured powerful offenses. The Bills' was led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, versatile running back Thurman Thomas, and receiver Andre Reed. Washington's Joe Gibbs had a solid ground game led by Ernest Byner and Ricky Ervins but the feature of the offense was quarterback Mark Rypien tossing the ball to the Posse, receivers Art Monk, Gary Clark, and Ricky Sanders.

Early Worries: The Skins looked to have taken the lead on their second possession, but an apparent TD pass to Art Monk was overruled by the replay officials and the subsequent field goal try was botched by a fumbled snap. Later, they blew another opportunity after Brad Edwards returned an interception to the Buffalo 12. Rypien's pass went off of guard Mark Schlereth's helmet and into the arms of Buffalo cornerback Kirby Jackson.

The Turning Point: With the Redskins up 17-0 at halftime, Kurt Gouveia's interception on the Bills' first play of the second half. Kelly got pressure up the middle and didn't see Gouveia as he tried to throw to the middle of the field. The linebacker picked the ball off at the 23 and returned it to the two. Gerald Riggs scored on a cutback from there.

The Clincher: The Bill rallied gamely from the 24-0 deficit to pull within two touchdowns with the game still in the third quarter. From their own 20, the Redskins drove to put it away. Of the 80 yards on the drive, 60 came on connections from Super Bowl MVP Rypien to Clark. The last one was as nice a pass as you've ever seen, a 30-yard touchdown toss. Clark broke open in the end zone and Rypien's pass was perfectly placed into the receiver's hands. That made it 31-10 and it was all over but the crying.

The Aftermath:Rypien, a sixth-round draft choice, had his doubters earlier in his career, including many within the Redskins organization. He addressed those folks with style: "I'm glad for the trophy because it said I did some good things," he said. "No matter what happens, I'll always have this moment. They can never say I can't win the big one because they don't come any bigger than this."

Gibbs was, well, Gibbs: "I've never felt more humble than right now," Gibbs said. "The Lord has blessed me. We've got a great owner {Jack Kent Cooke} and a great team. I've said this was one of my easiest years. Our older players took the leadership upon themselves and the coaches were kind of along for the ride."

Rich Tandler is the author of the upcoming book Gut Check: The Complete History of Joe Gibbs' Washington Redskins. Read accounts of each games that Gibbs coached for the Redskins, data on every player who played for him and every coach who coached under him, offseason and between-games headlines and much, much more. For details on how to obtain this book, a must-have for any true Redskins fan, go to www.gutcheckbook.com


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