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Flashback Friday—Redskins vs. Vikings 11.30.75

Jul 24, 2009, 5:00 AM EDT

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Ron McDone from RedskinsCardMuseum.com

Ron McDole from RedskinsCardMuseum.com

The Redskins and Vikings have hooked up in some of the best games ever played at RFK Stadium. A couple of weeks ago I looked at a 1986 classic that the Redskins won on Gary Clark’s overtime catch. This one took place 11 years earlier. What made is special was that it knocked the 10-0 Vikings from the ranks of the undefeated. From the pages of The Redskins Chronicle:

Redskins vs Vikings 11.30.75

Redskins vs Vikings 11.30.75

RFK Stadium—“It was the kind of game you have to pinch yourself to make sure you won,” said George Allen after the contest, and the 55,004 in attendance and anyone else who watched the Redskins topple the previously unbeaten Vikings would have to agree.

The Redskins lost a 21-0 second-quarter lead but, when normally reliable Minnesota kicker Fred Cox missed a pair of fourth-quarter attempts, the Redskins had an opportunity to top the Vikings’ comeback. They did just that when Billy Kilmer hit Frank Grant with a 15-yard touchdown pass in the game’s last minute and Mark Moseley made the extra point. Ron McDole blocked Cox’s attempt at redemption from 45 yards as time ran out.

The home team started out as though no late heroics would be necessary. Two Kilmer touchdown passes—one to Grant, the other to Mike Thomas—and a Larry Brown touchdown run had the Redskins sitting on a 21-0 lead in the second quarter. The Vikings got their offense going when running back Chuck Foreman scored the first of his three touchdowns, this one on an eight-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton, to pull his team to a 21-7 deficit.

In the third quarter, Foreman scored again, but the Redskins responded with a 32-yard Mark Moseley field goal. Washington led 24-14 going into the wild fourth quarter.

Cox started a 16-0 scoring run by the visitors by hitting a 33-yard field goal. His next kick was not as successful. After Tarkenton scrambled 21 yards for a touchdown to pull his team within one, Cox shanked the point after. “I just plain out missed it,” said Cox of the attempt.

The Minnesota offense wasn’t done. They took their first lead on Foreman’s 31-yard run. Cox’s point after attempt was good and the Vikings led 30-24. They then had a chance to put the game away with less than two minutes left, but a 40-yard field goal attempt by Cox went wide left and the Redskins had a shot with 1:51 left.

Kilmer went to work, hitting Grant for 21 yards and then Charley Taylor for another 21 to move to the Minnesota 35. A screen pass to Thomas got them to the 15. On the next play, Grant beat Vikings cornerback Nate Wright on a post pattern and Kilmer hit him with a perfect strike for the touchdown and the crowd went wild. The celebration began in earnest when Moseley hit the extra point and McDole swatted away Cox’s final attempt.

  1. Scott - Aug 28, 2009 at 5:01 PM

    What a fantastic game. I’d love to see it again. I know it was the NFL game of the week so perhaps I’ll be able to see that condensed half hour video some time.

    I was 8 when this game was played on 11/30/75. A friend of mine and his dad were attending the game. His mom was over at our house in the meantime, chatting with my mom and other family upstairs.

    I watched the whole game mostly by myself and kept running back and forth on the stairs to update everyone about the game. It was wonderful being the bearer of such good news in the first half as the Skins were whipping the Vikes.

    Then it got dismal as I had to keep updating the Viking scores. But when it was 24-17 and Minnesota got a td, I prematurely ran up the stairs and said it was now tied 24-24. Everyone groaned. But then I saw Cox had missed the pat so we were still ahead by one point. But not for long as they added another td to go ahead 30-24.

    I had a feeling we were going to suffer yet another heartbreaking loss, having come off back to back wild OT losses to the Cardinals and Raiders. Plus the Vikings being 10-0 seemed determined to pull this one out.

    But the Skins were fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive and went back ahead 31-30. Thought we had it then for sure! Barely any time was left. Yet, Tarkenton just wouldn’t quit, and amazingly the Vikes were in position in the final seconds to potentially win the game 33-31. I shifted back once again to despair mode. Only to see the fg attempt blocked and the game (yes the fat lady was singing this time!) over for sure this time!

    The next week the Skins gave us another heart attack as they struggled in a must win game at lowly Atlanta, which they won in a close one. But then the following week it came down to a game at Dallas where the winner is the wild card and the loser is out of the playoffs. Alas, Dallas won.

    Yet this Minnesota game lived on. For as we were entering the ’76 season the next year, and speculating how they would do, my friend’s dad reminded me of the game they had been to the previous year when he said, “Well, we were the first team to beat the Vikings last year.”

    Indeed, and 34 years later I’m still proud of my Skins for such a feat.

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