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Flashback Friday—Revenge of the Body Bags

Flashback Friday—Revenge of the Body Bags

I put up a Redskins Chronicle excerpt from the 1990 season up on the website and this game has drawn a few comments. About two months before this first-round playoff game the Eagles had physically whipped the Redskins, beating them 28-14 in a game that was not nearly as close as that score would indicate. The loss dropped the Redskins to 5-4 and their playoff prospects were dim.

A 5-2 finish got them in and, as luck would have it, their playoff draw had them returning to the scene of the crime, Veterans Stadium. The Redskins got their revenge.

1/5/91

Redskins 20, EAGLES 6

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FG Ruzek 37

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Monk 16 pass from Rypien (Lohmiller kick)

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FG Lohmiller 20

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Clark 3 pass from Rypien (Lohmiller kick)

 

In their Monday night game eight weeks earlier, the Redskins got physically crushed by the Philadelphia Eagles in the "Body Bag" game. That was bad enough, but the Eagles chose to rub it in their faces, taunting and trash talking until the final gun on the field and in the locker room afterwards.

Sometimes, things just fall into place. Washington qualified for the playoffs as a wild card entry, and the seedings called for the Redskins to return to the scene of the crime, Veterans Stadium, for a first-round playoff contest. They would have their shot at revenge.

When facing the press in the days prior to a game, Gibbs was usually overly gracious in his comments about the opposition, making a 2-10 outfit sound like the '60's Packers and their coach the second coming of St. Vincent. Not this week, though. When asked about Ryan, Gibbs stood stone-faced and talked about the challenges ahead.

One reporter caught Gibbs in an unguarded moment. It was January 3, the day before the game. Snow had fallen on New Year's Eve and the journalist noted that the snow still covered Gibbs' car in the parking lot at Redskins Park. In the hallway, the more Gibbs talked about Buddy, the madder he got. "I live to play a game like this one. I live to play this guy," Gibbs said, turning red-faced with rage. While this was hardly headline material or Eagle bulletin board fodder, it was very telling of the mood of the coach and team. They were clearly on a mission as they entered the Vet for the game.

It took them a quarter to get untracked as Philadelphia got two FG's for a 6-0 lead, but the defense stiffened after that, sacking Eagles QB Randall Cunningham five times and forcing three turnovers. Mark Rypien threw two scoring passes and Ernest Byner and Gerald Riggs shared the rushing duties and combined for 94 yards on the ground.

A turnover reversed by replay was the game's turning point. The Redskins had taken a 7-6 lead and were driving for more when the ball popped loose from Byner's grasp when he was tackled at the Philadelphia six. Cornerback Ben Smith scooped the ball up and ran 94 yards for an apparent touchdown. Fortunately for the Redskins, instant replay showed that the ground caused the fumble and the call was reversed, with the Redskins retaining possession. The reversal became a 10-point turnaround as Chip Lohmiller connected on a short field goal and instead of a six-point deficit, the Redskins had a four-point lead. The Eagles' offense never could get untracked and the Redskins won 20-6.

During a players-only meeting in the week before the game, the team had made a pact that they would not sink to the level of Philly and deliver "I told you so's" to the classless Eagles after the game. But the message was delivered to Buddy and his losing team after the game with a certain degree of subtlety.

Clark said, "You'd better not question someone's character unless you're sure of the character you're talking about. This team has character, and hopefully this is just one step."

"People threw dirt on this team all year but they didn't know we had shovels and would keep digging our way out," Coleman added.

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

Related: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.