A Hall of Fame career is made up of a series of Hall of Fame moments. Art Monk had many of those during his 14 seasons with the Redskins and his body of work was finally recognized today.
Here is one of his best games, one where he came through when the team needed him the most. From the pages of The Redskins From A to Z:
RFK Stadium—Mark Moseley's 37-yard field goal with 1:42 to play lifted the Redskins to a 29-27 win over St Louis and the NFC East division title. The Cardinals, who would have claimed the division crown, had a shot to steal it back at the end, but Neil O'Donoghue missed a 50-yard field goal attempt on the game's last play. The loss eliminated the Cards from the playoffs.
In an historic sidelight to the contest, Art Monk needed seven catches to break Charley Hennigan's 20-year old record of 101 in a season, set in the AFL with the Houston Oilers. As one would expect of a player of Monk's caliber, he broke the record in style and extended it with clutch plays down the stretch; more on that later.
Monk caught a pair of touchdown passes from Joe Theismann to get the Redskins off to a fast start. Then late in the half, the Redskins blocked a punt to set up a 21-yard Moseley field goal and they enjoyed a seemingly comfortable 23-7 lead going into the locker room at halftime. It wasn't long before Neil Lomax and the Cards would begin to make them sweat.
Lomax directed a drive at the outset of the second half that got the Cards a field goal. About three and a half minutes later, Lomax had his team on the board again, this time in more spectacular fashion with a 75-yard touchdown bomb to Roy Green. At 23-17 the Redskins' cruise to the division title had run into some choppy waters.
Monk helped to wake up the offense with a 36-yard catch to set up a 37-yard Moseley field goal to make it 26-17. That was catch number 102 on the season, breaking the record. The mark was noted on the RFK Stadium scoreboard and on the PA system, but there was no on-field celebration as there was still work to be done.
Lomax helped see to that. In the fourth quarter, he led one drive to a field goal, another to his second TD toss to Green. That lifted St. Louis into a one-point lead at 27-26 and the 54,299 in attendance stunned, along with the Redskins. Lomax racked up 468 yards passing on the day, with 314 of them coming in the second half.
The Washington offense responded, but the drive was in trouble after end Elois Grooms sacked Theismann to create a third and 19 at the St. Louis 47. With 2:40 remaining, everyone in the stadium knew the ball was going to Monk.
Therefore, Joe Gibbs had to try to find a way to hide Monk, inasmuch as that was possible. He sent in a play and formation that he had just installed that week called Two Divide. It called for Monk to line up at tight end on the right side. He fought his way off the line, found a hole on the right sideline and, Monk said, "The ball was perfect." It worked for a 20 yards and the first down at the 27. On the day, Monk caught 11 passes for 138 yards.
Three plays later, Moseley came in. "I felt comfortable and positive," Moseley said after the game. His feelings were justified as his 37-yard kick was perfect with room to spare and Washington was ahead 29-27 with 1:42 left to play.
Lomax and the Cards, though, weren't done just yet. The quarterback completed four passes in five plays to move his team to the Washington 39 with 32 seconds left. On third and nine from there Lomax flipped the ball to back Danny Pittman, who had just one obstacle to getting a first down and getting out of bounds to stop the clock, linebacker Rich Milot. The defender made a solid open-field tackle at the 33 and Cardinals rushed their field goal team in to attempt a 50-yard game winner.
"I was so worn out by then that I had a hard time working up the energy to be nervous," said Riggins after the game. He could have been speaking on behalf of most members of both teams.
The snap and hold were good, but Neil O'Donoghue's 50-yard attempt was a couple of yards short and a little wide to the left. The Redskins as division champs had a week off to prepare for a home playoff game. The Cardinals, out of the playoffs due to wild card tiebreakers, had six months to prepare for next year.