This coming Redskins’ season will mark the 25th anniversary of one of the worst losses in franchise history which was followed by the sweetest revenge win in team history.
On November 12, 1990, the Eagles beat the Skins 28-14 on a Monday Night in Philly. The Redskins had eight players carted off the field during the game including both of their available quarterbacks.
Stan Humphries was knocked out of the game. So was Jeff Rutledge. Rookie kick returner Brian Mitchell finished up the game under center completing 3 of 6 for 40 yards.
Late in the game, an Eagle player asked a few of the healthy Redskins, “do you guys need any more body bags?”
From that moment on, the game has been referred to as the “Body Bag Game”.
Revenge came nearly two months later in the first round of the playoffs. The Redskins beat the Eagles 20 to 6 to end Philly’s season. It’s my #1 all-time DC sports revenge game.
MY TOP 5 DC SPORTS REVENGE GAMES/MOMENTS
#1: Body Bag Revenge. The Redskins didn’t have Mark Rypien the night they carted one burgundy and gold body off after another but he was back for the playoff game. The Eagles boasted how they broke the Skins two months earlier on a Monday night and vowed to do it again in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Buddy Ryan’s team was confident having won 8 of its last 10 games including their final six at home by an average of 18.3 points per. Ryan himself couldn’t keep his mouth shut predicting that Earnest Byner would fumble three times during the game. Joe Gibbs refused to respond publically but privately was using the Body Bag game and Ryan’s big mouth as fuel.
The Eagles were rolling and solid favorites to advance. The biggest play of the game came in the 2nd quarter with the Skins leading 7-6 and driving deep in Philly territory. Byner caught a pass in the flat and fumbled as he hit the ground. Ben Smith picked up the ball and returned it 94 yards for an apparent touchdown. Replay saved the Skins. Byner’s knee had hit the ground before he lost the ball and the Skins kept possession and built a 10-6 halftime lead. They dominated from there on with Gibbs and Richie Petitbon totally outwitting Ryan and his staff. Randall Cunningham got sacked 5 times awhile Rypien didn’t get sacked once. Rypien threw two touchdowns including the game-clincher to Gary Clark.
Gibbs implored his team late in the game to say nothing and act as if it was totally expected. Afterwards however, Gibbs couldn’t help but acknowledge the sweetness of the win saying, “when you get your clock cleaned like that, all we had to do was show the film, probably the biggest motivating factor is to whip somebody really good, and they’ll remember it.” Buddy Ryan was fired three days after the loss.
#2: From Gone in 60 Seconds to See Ya Later Shane Battier. Marylandand Duke played four epic games during the 2001 season with the last coming in the Final 4. But it was the first two during the regular season that will never be forgotten. In the first matchup at Cole Field House, Maryland blew a 10-point lead in the final minute and lost the game 98-96. It was a shocking loss that very easily could’ve derailed their season. A month later however, the Terps got revengein Duke’s home finale. Juan Dixon was unstoppable on offense (28 pts) and relentless on defense (5 steals) as the Terps spoiled Senior Night for Shane Battier, 91-80. No team beat Duke at Cameron Indoor more than Maryland did in the 2000’s and each one felt great but none more than this one.
#3: “No Danny No”. Most would probably have the Redskins 1983 NFC Championship win over the Cowboys ahead of this game….not me. Heading into the next to last week of the 1983 season, the 12-2 Redskins and the 12-2 Cowboys were the two best teams in football. Dallas had won the season-opener 31-30 in stunning comeback fashion at RFK Stadium. The Skins led by 20 at halftime but were outscored 28-7 in the 2nd half. The rematch on December 11, 1983 was the most hyped game of the year. It would settle the NFC East and with it would come home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Redskins came off their flight in Dallas wearing military fatigues purchased at a D.C. surplus store ready for a war. Joe Gibbs didn’t like the bravado but told them they better back it up. They did. They led start to finish in a 31-10 blowout at Texas Stadium. Dallas came unglued in the 2nd half. Cowboys coach Tom Landry yelled “no, Danny, no” before a 4th and short audible by his quarterback Danny White failed. Two frustrated Dallas defensive backs tried to break up an end-zone touchdown celebration by the “Fun Bunch” and Tony Dorsett got flagged for throwing a ball at the head of Darryl Grant.
#4: Leonard-Duran 2. Five months after Robert Duran roughed up Sugar Ray Leonard in Montreal, Leonard got revenge in the famous “No Mas” fight at the Superdome in New Orleans.
#5: Sonny’s Revenge. Sonny Jurgenson was unable to play in Super Bowl 7 when the Dolphins beat the Redskins 14 to 7. His revenge came in October of ’74 in a regular season matchup against 2-time defending Super Bowl champ Miami at RFK Stadium. Sonny threw for 303 yards and two 4th quarter touchdowns including a 6-yarder to FB Larry Smith with 16 seconds left to beat Miami 20 to 17.
Here are a few more that could’ve easily made my top 5.
Redskins 31, Cowboys 17 in NFC Championship game. The Skins only loss in the ’82 regular season came at home to Dallas 24 to 10….they got revenge in the title game.
Redskins Playoff Win in Soldier Field. The Bears beat the Skins in the ’84 playoffs at RFK and then stomped on the Skins 45-10 during the ’85 regular season. They got revenge on January 3, 1987 by beating the Bears in the playoffs 27-13.
The Sweater Game. #2 St. John’s beat #1 Georgetown 66-65 in their first regular season matchup of 1985 at the Cap Center. In the rematch at Madison Square Garden, St. John’s coach Lou Carnesecca came out wearing his lucky sweater. As the crowd rose to see Carnesecca meet John Thompson right before the tip, the Georgetown coach opened his coat to show a replica of the same sweater. The crowd roared with laughter. Afterwards, Thompson said, “with all the talk about the sweater, I thought I’d better get one, too, if the sweater can carry us to victory, I wanted one.” The Hoyas won the game 85-69 and went on to beat the Redmen in both the Big East Championship game and in the Final 4.