Washington’s 28-18 victory over archrival Dallas on Sunday may herald an era of greatness with dynamic rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris (“Just the tip of the iceberg for these Redskins,” Web, Monday). But for longtime Redskins fans, it also brought a measure of closure for a devastating loss 33 years ago.
In 1979, like this year, Washington surpassed all expectations and faced Dallas in the regular-season finale in a head-to-head showdown for the NFC Eastern Division title. After an epic back-and-forth struggle, the Redskins took a 34-21 fourth-quarter lead on a 66-yard touchdown run by John Riggins — and appeared to have the game won. Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach rallied the Cowboys with two late touchdown passes to take a 35-34 lead with just 39 seconds to play. On the final drive, Joe Theismann led Washington across midfield, seemingly setting up a 59-yard field goal attempt by Redskins All-Pro placekicker Mark Moseley to win the game. Although Washington clearly called a timeout with two seconds left, the referees ignored it and let the clock expire. Dallas “won” the game and division title, ending the Redskins’ dream season.
Three years later, Washington defeated Dallas 31-17 in the 1982 NFC Championship Game at RFK Stadium to advance to Super Bowl XVII, which the Redskins also won, 27-17, over the Miami Dolphins. In 1983, the Redskins crushed the Cowboys 31-10 in a battle of 12-2 teams in the regular season’s penultimate week en route to a return trip to the Super Bowl. Not until this year did Washington and Dallas again meet in a regular-season finale with the division title awaiting the winner. This time, the Redskins prevailed and a historical wrong was finally set right.
STEPHEN A. SILVER
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