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Flashback Friday—Revenge of the Body Bags

Flashback Friday—Revenge of the Body Bags

I put up a Redskins Chronicle excerpt from the 1990 season up on the website and this game has drawn a few comments. About two months before this first-round playoff game the Eagles had physically whipped the Redskins, beating them 28-14 in a game that was not nearly as close as that score would indicate. The loss dropped the Redskins to 5-4 and their playoff prospects were dim.

A 5-2 finish got them in and, as luck would have it, their playoff draw had them returning to the scene of the crime, Veterans Stadium. The Redskins got their revenge.

1/5/91

Redskins 20, EAGLES 6

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FG Ruzek 37

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Monk 16 pass from Rypien (Lohmiller kick)

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FG Lohmiller 20

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Clark 3 pass from Rypien (Lohmiller kick)

 

In their Monday night game eight weeks earlier, the Redskins got physically crushed by the Philadelphia Eagles in the "Body Bag" game. That was bad enough, but the Eagles chose to rub it in their faces, taunting and trash talking until the final gun on the field and in the locker room afterwards.

Sometimes, things just fall into place. Washington qualified for the playoffs as a wild card entry, and the seedings called for the Redskins to return to the scene of the crime, Veterans Stadium, for a first-round playoff contest. They would have their shot at revenge.

When facing the press in the days prior to a game, Gibbs was usually overly gracious in his comments about the opposition, making a 2-10 outfit sound like the '60's Packers and their coach the second coming of St. Vincent. Not this week, though. When asked about Ryan, Gibbs stood stone-faced and talked about the challenges ahead.

One reporter caught Gibbs in an unguarded moment. It was January 3, the day before the game. Snow had fallen on New Year's Eve and the journalist noted that the snow still covered Gibbs' car in the parking lot at Redskins Park. In the hallway, the more Gibbs talked about Buddy, the madder he got. "I live to play a game like this one. I live to play this guy," Gibbs said, turning red-faced with rage. While this was hardly headline material or Eagle bulletin board fodder, it was very telling of the mood of the coach and team. They were clearly on a mission as they entered the Vet for the game.

It took them a quarter to get untracked as Philadelphia got two FG's for a 6-0 lead, but the defense stiffened after that, sacking Eagles QB Randall Cunningham five times and forcing three turnovers. Mark Rypien threw two scoring passes and Ernest Byner and Gerald Riggs shared the rushing duties and combined for 94 yards on the ground.

A turnover reversed by replay was the game's turning point. The Redskins had taken a 7-6 lead and were driving for more when the ball popped loose from Byner's grasp when he was tackled at the Philadelphia six. Cornerback Ben Smith scooped the ball up and ran 94 yards for an apparent touchdown. Fortunately for the Redskins, instant replay showed that the ground caused the fumble and the call was reversed, with the Redskins retaining possession. The reversal became a 10-point turnaround as Chip Lohmiller connected on a short field goal and instead of a six-point deficit, the Redskins had a four-point lead. The Eagles' offense never could get untracked and the Redskins won 20-6.

During a players-only meeting in the week before the game, the team had made a pact that they would not sink to the level of Philly and deliver "I told you so's" to the classless Eagles after the game. But the message was delivered to Buddy and his losing team after the game with a certain degree of subtlety.

Clark said, "You'd better not question someone's character unless you're sure of the character you're talking about. This team has character, and hopefully this is just one step."

"People threw dirt on this team all year but they didn't know we had shovels and would keep digging our way out," Coleman added.

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Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 19, 54 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 46
—NFL Draft (4/26) 97
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 233

Things change quickly

Two years ago today, the Redskins were in the process of picking up the pieces after their 35-18 home loss to the Packers in the wild-card round of the 2015 season playoffs. How many of the 22 players who started that game for Washington are still with the team? You may be surprised to find out just how few are likely to be with the Redskins when the season opens in September.

Offense:

WR DeSean Jackson—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
WR Pierre Garçon—Signed with 49ers as a free agent last year.
WR Jamison Crowder—Still with the Redskins
TE Jordan Reed—Still with the Redskins
LT Trent Williams—Still with the Redskins
LG Spencer Long—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
C Kory Lichtensteiger—Retired following the 2016 season
RG Brandon Scherff—Still with the Redskins
RT Morgan Moses—Still with the Redskins
RB Alfred Morris—Signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in 2016
QB Kirk Cousins—Set to be a UFA, you know the story here

Of the 11 offensive starters, five are still with the team, one has retired, three are employed by other teams, and two are headed into free agency. The chances of either Long or Cousins returning currently hover under 50 percent, although things can change.

Defense:

DE Chris Baker—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
DE Jason Hatcher—Retired following the 2015 season
NT Terrance Knighton—Signed with the Patriots following the 2015 season but was cut and he hasn’t played and subsequently retired
ILB Will Compton—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
ILB Mason Foster—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
OLB Ryan Kerrigan—Still with the Redskins
OLB Trent Murphy—Spent 2017 in injured reserve, set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Bashaud Breeland—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Will Blackmon—Released last September, currently unsigned
S DeAngelo Hall—Set to be an unrestricted free agent, likely to retire
S Dashon Goldson—Released after 2015 season, currently unsigned

Only one starter, Ryan Kerrigan, is under contract for 2018. Of the free agents, Breeland is likely to depart and things are up in the air regarding Foster, Compton, and Murphy.

To sum it up, out of 22 starters in that game played 740 days ago, only six are certain to be with the team in 2018 while nine have either signed elsewhere, spent 2017 out of football, or have retired (10 if you count Hall).

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Most NFL teams usually carry at least six wide receivers, but going into the 2018 season, only Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Maurice Harris and Robert Davis hold signed contracts with the Redskins.

That means Washington must consider adding receiver help via free agency, especially considering Harris and Davis rarely played in 2017. Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Grant both played with the Burgundy and Gold in 2017, and while Grant has a solid chance to return, it would seem Pryor will head elsewhere after a disappointing season in D.C. 

Like every year, a number of receivers will be available via free agency, but what guys make sense for Jay Gruden's team? Let's take a look at three different scenarios, knowing Washington likely needs to add at least one free agent wideout. 

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  • Expensive: Jags WR Allen Robinson - A second-round pick in 2014, Robinson posted a 1,400-yard season in 2015 and has shown the ability to be a true No. 1 wideout in the NFL. He's 6-foot-3 with speed and leaping ability. In 2016, his numbers dipped to less than 900 yards receiving, but that season the Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles struggled significantly. Here's the thing: Robinson blew out his knee in the NFL opener in 2017, and that might make his price tag drop a bit. Word is the former Penn State star should be fully cleared by early March from the injury, and just 24 years old, he will be intriguing. Washington showed they would spend for a wideout in 2017 with the Pryor signing, but they did so on a one-year deal. If Robinson finds the free agent market not as robust as he wants, maybe a similar short-term deal could be reached?
  • Reasonable: Colts WR Donte Moncrief - A third-round pick in 2014, Moncrief also had a big sophomore season in 2015. He grabbed 64 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns. That was his only full 16-game season, as injuries have continued to be an issue for the 6-foot-2, 220 lbs. wideout out of Ole Miss. In 2016, only playing in nine games, he still contributed with seven touchdowns. In 2017, his numbers slipped big-time, and he posted less than 400 yards receiving in 12 games. Moncrief's problem isn't talent, it's health. That means he could be relatively cheap, and at just 24 years old, that contract might bring a strong return. 
  • Wild Card: Jets WR Eric Decker -  The Redskins have lacked a true veteran wideout since DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon left the team following the 2016 season. Decker will turn 31 in March and would give Washington a different presence in the WR meeting room. He posted two 1,000 yard seasons playing with Peyton Manning in Denver and went to the Super Bowl in 2013. In 2015, while teamed up with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing for the Jets, Decker again hit the 1,000-yard mark and hit the end zone 12 times. Throughout his career, Decker has been a solid red zone threat and has shown the ability to win on tough routes. He will need to take a big pay cut from the $4.5 million, one-year deal he signed in Tennessee in 2017, but that has to be expected considering his paltry production. In 16 games with the Titans, Decker logged 563 yards and only one TD. Decker might make sense, though the cost would need to be low. 

There are plenty of other names to watch, guys like Seattle's Paul Richardson or Buffalo's Jordan Matthews. Free agency opens in mid-March, and some connections between the Redskins and wideouts will start prior to that.

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