Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Good 14 - Evil 13

Wow, what a game. My wife and I let our twelve-year old son stay up for the first three quarters. When I kissed him good night, I said “I’ll try not to wake you up when the Skins score two touchdowns and win.” He thanked me. I woke him at 6:30 this morning and led him to the TV where I had the TIVO queued up to 4:00 minutes left in the game. He reacted like he was watching it live.

So many demons were exorcised last night that it is difficult to name them all.

Starting with Clint Longley coming off the bench on Thanksgiving Day in 1974 and heaving a ridiculous bomb, it has always been the Cowboys that pulled off improbable, last-minute comebacks to beat the Redskins. Only once before, in 1992, did the Skins treat Dallas to a spoonful of heart-wrenching comeback. Beelzebub Longley? Drink some Holy water.

In 1979, on the last day of the season when a victory over Dallas would clinch a division title for the Skins, the Redskins held a 13 point lead with about five minutes left in the game. That's when Riggins ran around right end for about sixty yards to seemingly ice it. It took Staubach 140 seconds to throw two touchdown passes, beat the Skins 35 - 34, and knock them out of the playoffs. After the game, the great statesman Harvey Martin threw a funeral wreath into the Redskins locker room. Mephistopheles Martin and Samael Staubach? Die.

In 1999, heading into the fourth quarter, the Skins held a 35 - 14 lead. Dallas scored 21 points in the fourth to send the game into overtime. In overtime, Raghib Ismail was left uncovered and caught a ball and ran 76 yards for the winning score. Raum Raghib Ismail? Back to hell.

Last year, on December 26, the day after the birthday of Satan’s nemesis, the Redskins had a 10 – 6 lead with 30 seconds left in the game. In the Cowboys’ previous offensive series, Testaverde took three snaps from center and was sacked all three times. In their last series, Testaverde took two snaps and the Skins sacked him both times (Correction: The Skins sacked Testaverde a total of five times and only three times in the last two series). When he took his third snap, he threw a 39-yard TD bomb to Crayton for a 13 – 10 win. Get behind me Satan Testaverde!

There were other heartbreaking losses to Dallas, but they hardly seem important now that good has conquered evil.

More slates to wipe clean:
• It’s been ten-years since the Redskins beat Dallas in Dallas. Wipe that slate clean;
• Bill Parcells is 77 – 0 when leading by 13 or more in the fourth quarter? Make that 77 – 1;
• Parcells beat Gibbs eight straight times? Gibbs has the current winning streak;
• Redskins were 0 – 25 when trailing after three quarters. Reset the counter;

The best part about all of this was driving the stake through their hearts on the night that Aikman, Irvin and Smith were inducted into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor. The announcers on the Redskins Post Game Show quoted Joe Gibbs saying: “They treated us like a homecoming team.” They scheduled the game against an opponent they thought they could easily beat so they wouldn’t spoil the “Triplets” night. Triplets? Ring of Honor? Dante has reserved a ring for each of them.

The Redskins still have areas they need to work on, but I’ll save those for another post. Today is a day for basking in victory. Yesterday, Satan Moss became the Cowboy fans’ demon.


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