Today's Flashback Friday represents what was one of the few high points of the Steve Spurrier era. On October 27, 2002, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts went into FedEx Field and absorbed a 26-21 defeat at the hands of Shane Matthews and the Washington Redskins.
The halftime entertainment was almost as compelling as the game as many of the 70 Greatest Redskins were introduced as part of the celebration of the team's 70th anniversary season.
FedEx Field—The Redskins bolted to a 20-0 second-quarter lead and then had to hang on to beat the Colts 26-21.
Stephen Davis carried three times for 21 yards to key a drive to a 40-yard James Tuthill field goal to give the Redskins an early 3-0 lead.
It appeared that Davis was on his way to a huge game, but he went out with a knee injury after gaining 80 yards in the first half.
The Colts went three and out and the Skins moved 66 yards to make it 10-0. Shane Matthews completed passes of 15 yards to Darrius Thompson and 16 to Rod Gardner and Davis rumbled for 15 to help get Washington to the Indianapolis nine. From there, Matthews found Darnerien McCants open on a post pattern and hit him for the TD.
An 11-play, 78-yard advance culminated in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Matthews to Chris Doering. That made it 17-0 four minutes into the third quarter and about five minutes later the Redskins appeared to be in command after a 23-yard Tuthill field goal.
It soon started to come unraveled, however. Davis fumbled and was injured on the same play late in the first half. The Colts took over at the Washington three and scored three plays later on a one-yard Payton Manning sneak.
Ladell Betts' 60-yard return of the ensuing kickoff righted the ship for a while as it set up a 41-yard Tuthill field goal to make it 23-7 at intermission.
After a Fred Smoot interception, the Redskins moved in for the kill in the third quarter—or they tried to, anyway. After taking over at the Colt 14, Washington faced fourth and one at the five. Steve Spurrier eschewed the field goal and went for it. The gamble backfired as Matthews was under pressure and his pass intended for Rock Cartwright fell incomplete.
Manning and the Colts immediately drove 95 yards for a touchdown, the score coming on a 2-yard pass from Manning to running back Edgerrin James. The back powered in for the two-point conversion and all of a sudden it was a one-score game at 23-15.
A few series later a 34-yard punt return set the Colts up at the Washington 41. Four plays later, with 6:46 left to play, Indy got a chance to tie it up when Manning executed a play fake to Ricky Williams and then found him all alone running down the sideline for 20 yards and a touchdown. However, it remained 23-21 as Smoot smacked receiver Qadry Ismail just as Manning's pass arrived, jarring the ball loose.
The Skins offense did just what it needed to do. A 14-play, 66-yard drive ate up all but 18 seconds of the remaining time and Tuthill's 22-yard field goal accounted for the final score.