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Forgotten Classics: Redskins Beat Vikes Despite Foot Faults 11.02.86

Jul 5, 2009, 10:00 PM EDT

I don’t know if this was a modern era record, but the Redskins scored six touchdowns and didn’t get the point after following four of them. Three of them were missed and the fourth touchdown didn’t have a conversion attempt because it was the game winner in overtime.

In any case, this was a breathtaking classic, a prototypical game by a Redskins team that just never gave up.

Played 11/2/1986, from the pages of my upcoming book The Redskins Chronicle:

RFK Stadium—“It feels like we’ve been playing for about five hours,” said Joe Gibbs after this one and the members of the Redskins secondary would have to agree. Tommy Kramer torched them for 490 yards and four touchdowns. Three of the touchdown passes were on plays of more than 65 yards.

Washington did not score the extra point following four of its six touchdowns. The last of those TD’s, though, was the game-winner in overtime, so Max Zendejas didn’t get an opportunity to blow this one after the Redskins won this wild affair 44-38.

Jay Schroeder managed “only” 378 yards in the air, but he led his team to the game’s final three touchdowns, including the 38-yarder to Gary Clark to win it . . . but that’s getting way ahead of things.

Washington bolted to a quick 10-0 lead, but the Vikings responded as Kramer heated up. A 67-yard touchdown pass to receiver Leo Lewis gave the Vikings a 14-10 lead by the time the first quarter ended.

They gave the lead right back to Washington when a shotgun snap went over Kramer’s head and end Dexter Manley snared it in stride, racing unchallenged 26 yards for a touchdown. The shape of things to come was seen, however, when Zendejas’ point after was low and got blocked, allowing the Vikings to claim the halftime lead at 17-16 as Chuck Nelson kicked a 39-yard field goal with about a minute left in the quarter.

The visitors quickly extended their lead in the third quarter with a 68-yard bomb from Kramer to tight end Steve Jordan. After a Zendejas field goal, George Rogers converted a fourth and one at the Minnesota 40 in grand fashion. He broke through the line, cut back and went all the way and the Redskins were up by two at 26-24 following the extra point. They enjoyed the lead for about a minute and a half as Kramer went to Lewis for 76 yards and a touchdown with six seconds left in the third quarter.

A much shorter Kramer TD toss—one yard to Darrin Nelson—followed a pass interference call in the end zone against cornerback Barry Wilburn. Minnesota was up by 12 with less than seven minutes left to play.

The home team responded swiftly, moving 65 yards in three plays, with a 30-yard catch by Clint Didier setting up a 34-yard scoring pass from Schroeder to Art Monk. It didn’t seem to matter that Zendejas missed the point after as another touchdown would tie the game and surely, a professional kicker couldn’t miss two PAT’s in a row. Or could he?

We found out after Schroeder completed a bomb to Didier at the two, who was credited with the catch after replay reviews on the question of if he trapped it were inconclusive. After Rogers ran over from there with 1:03 left, Zendejas did the unthinkable: he missed his second extra point in a row. The roar from the RFK crowd quickly turned to grumbles of disgust as the game headed to overtime tied at 38.

The crowd did go home happy, though. The Redskins won the overtime coin toss. Four plays into the extra period, from the Minnesota 38, Schroeder threw a 15-yard pattern to Clark, who broke away from the Minnesota cornerback and raced down the left sideline for the winning score.

  1. Anonymous - Jul 5, 2009 at 11:27 PM

    for those who think that it is okay to have a caretaker QB who simply doesnt lose games for you by taking too many chances– that game should be required viewing.

    sometimes your defense has a crappy day.. or your defense runs into a smoking hot qb.. those are the days you need your own qb to step up and win the game for you

    that is why Campbell will likely never be the long time starter for the Redskins. he is not capable of winning a game like that. it was probably not lost on Snyder and Cerrato as well.. that is a game that Cutler could win for you; and perhaps Sanchez as well, in a couple of years. but not Campbell- not in a million years.

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