There hasn't been anything quite like the 1982 Redskins season and there probably never will be.
Due to the strike-shortened season, the Redskins had to win three playoff games in order to get to the Super Bowl despite the fact that their 8-1 record was the best in football. The good thing was that they got all three games at home. The NFL scheduled all of the games on Saturday and the first of those three magical days came 28 years ago today.
From the pages of The Redskins Chronicle:
Redskins 31, Lions 7
NFC First Round Playoff Game
Saturday, January 8, 1983
Alvin Garrett came out of nowhere to catch three touchdown passes, John Riggins came out of hiding to rush for 119 yards, and the defense came at the Lions from all directions, forcing five turnovers to lead a 31-7 romp over Detroit.
Detroit had never won in Washington—and their fortunes weren’t going to change on this day. The Lions had a nice drive going in the first quarter when Eric Hipple attempted to throw to running back Billy Sims in the flat. Jeris White stepped in front of the pass at the Washington 23 and had nothing in front of him but green grass and white lines. Seventy-seven yards later, the Redskins had a 7-0 lead.
Turnovers continued to plague the Lions. Cornerback Vernon Dean blindsided Hipple on a blitz, causing a fumble that Darryl Grant covered at the Detroit 19, and setting up a 25-yard Mark Moseley field goal. Then it was Garrett’s turn to shine.
The 5-7 receiver out of Angelo State had caught just one pass for six yards during the regular season. He was thrust into the starting lineup when Art Monk suffered a broken foot against the Cardinals in the last game of the regular season. Charlie Brown, headed for the Pro Bowl, drew double coverage from the Lions secondary, so it was up to Garrett to help make the passing game productive.
Garrett’s first contribution came early in the second quarter when Theismann was under heavy pressure from a Lions blitz. The receiver slipped past cornerback Bruce McNorton and Theismann managed to loft the ball over the defender’s head and into Garrett’s arms for a 21-yard touchdown to make it 17-0. Six plays after Mike Nelms returned a Detroit punt 39 yards to the Lions 48, it was again Garrett beating McNorton and Theismann lofting a 21-yard TD pass.
Riggins broke off a 25-yard run to spur a 74-yard touchdown drive to open the second half. That drive ended in, of course, another Theismann to Garrett TD connection, this one from 27 yards out.
Riggins was the team’s leading rusher during the abbreviated regular season, gaining 553 yards in nine games, but he hadn’t been a focal point of the offense. Sensing that this team had a chance to do something special, Riggins went to Gibbs before the playoffs and told the coach, “Give me the ball.” Gibbs told Theismann to give him the ball 25 times and his 119 yards ground up the Lions, killing the clock and setting up Theismann’s strikes to Garrett. It was the first game of the best playoff run a running back has ever had.
Join me for a live chat during the Eagles-Packers game on Sunday. Kickoff is at 4:30, we'll get going at around 4:00. We can talk about the game, try to figure out how the Redskins beat both of the teams involved, go over the draft and free agency, and anything else you want to chat about.