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Skins Lines in Texas Stadium: A History


Marc Logan, after the first Skins-Boys game of 1995. (By John McDonnell - TWP)


This being the Redskins' final regular-season trip to Texas Stadium, it seemed a fitting time to review some point-spread history. All of these numbers are courtesy Las Vegas Sports Consultants.

This year, for only the sixth time in the past 29 years (and the second-straight year), the Redskins will be double-digit underdogs in Dallas. Washington's covered in three of those five games, but their straight-up record record in those games is 1-4. The one? In December of 1995, the Skins won 24-17 as 17.5-point dogs.

Following that Shuler-and-Norv-led upset, Washington lost 11 of its next 12 games in Dallas, with the Brunell-to-Moss miracle being the one happy outlier. The numbers aren't that much better when you include the point spread: 4-8 against the spread over those last 12 years, although last year's five-point loss as 11-point dogs was certainly an exception.

Last year's 28-23 final was also the first top the Redskins topped 20 points in Texas Stadium since the 1995 upset. Washington hasn't gone over 24 points in Texas Stadium since 1991, when the Skins were 33-31 winners as 2.5-point favorites.

Overall, since 1980, the Redskins are 8-19 straight up in Dallas and 11-16-1 against the spread.

With the 1995 upset being sort of the only source of inspiration here, I figured I'd include another Washington Post blast from the past. How about the A1 story from the following day, by a guy named David Aldridge.

AN UPSET, DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXANS REDSKINS-COWBOYS: BIG RIVALRY PRODUCES ANOTHER BIG SURPRISE

By David Aldridge
Washington Post Staff Writer

IRVING, TEX., DEC. 3 --When the Washington Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys at RFK Stadium two months ago, almost no one had given them a chance. For today's game against Dallas, at Texas Stadium, with the Cowboys regarded as the best team in the National Football League, even the Redskins weren't sure what would happen. What happened was another unexpected moment in one of pro football's great rivalries, with the Redskins pulling off a shocking 24-17 upset.

The Redskins have gone through an awful season, a brutal disappointment for everyone attached to the organization. They had lost four straight games coming into today's and were tied with the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets for the worst record in the National Football League. But today, 17-point underdogs to Dallas, Washington played with emotion and purpose and was the better team.

Coming on the same day that owner Jack Kent Cooke reached a tentative agreement with the state of Maryland to build a stadium in Prince George's County, Washington's unlikely victory produced one of the more momentous afternoons in franchise history.

"I'm as close to these people {the Cowboys} as anyone I know," said Redskins Coach Norv Turner, who was the Cowboys' offensive coordinator from 1991 through 1993 before taking Washington's job in 1994. "But you've got to separate that. We wanted to win the football game. We talked about it as a football team. If there were 53 guys in this state that thought we could win the game, they had to be in our room. No one else thought it. And I'm not sure that all 53 in here thought we can."

The triumph may be a big step toward bringing the team together. The Redskins spent millions of dollars this past offseason to bring in free agent players who had been on successful teams elsewhere. So their fourth victory in 13 games this season was not cause for raucous celebration.

It was, however, the first time since 1987 that the Redskins have won both games in one season against Dallas, and the first time in five seasons that the Cowboys had dropped both games in one season to any of their NFC East Division opponents.

"There's no such thing as an easy game, but you would think this would have been one for the Cowboys," Fox television analyst John Madden said during the game broadcast, echoing the thoughts of many people who knew the records of the 10-2 Cowboys and 3-9 Redskins before the game.

Earlier in the week, the Redskins' defense was criticized by two of its starters, safeties Stanley Richard and James Washington. The unit responded today with its best effort of the season. Washington held all-pro running back Emmitt Smith to 91 rushing yards, forcing quarterback Troy Aikman to set a career high in pass attempts with 48.

The carping from Richard and Washington was mild compared with the feelings expressed by many Washingtonians toward quarterback Heath Shuler. Second in the fans' hearts to teammate and underdog success story Gus Frerotte, Shuler, the much-maligned, $19 million second-year player, was making his third start of the season. While not spectacular statistically, Shuler perhaps began to justify the Redskins' weighty investment with his leadership. His 44-yard completion to wide receiver Leslie Shepherd in the fourth quarter may have been the biggest play of the game.

"It was great to see Heath make that play," guard Ray Brown said.

Said Shuler: "That goes to show you why Norv Turner is as good as he is. He said, Hey, we have a chance to throw it. And it's something they least expect.' It was a gutsy and great call. . . . I was praying that it would definitely come down. I was saying Is this ball ever going to come down?' It hung up there longer than I thought it would."

Down 7-0 in the second quarter, the Redskins took over the contest with a long touchdown drive to tie it. Dallas led 10-7 at halftime, but Washington drove 83 yards midway through the third quarter for the go-ahead touchdown, a two-yard run by Terry Allen. The Redskins then made it 21-10 after an interception by Richard.

Eddie Murray made a 47-yard field goal with 3:30 left to give Washington a 24-10 lead. The Cowboys scored with 1:48 left on a pass from Aikman to wide receiver Michael Irvin, but the Redskins then ran out the clock.

After Redskins players whooped their way up the tunnel leading to their locker room, with shouts of "we shook the world", the locker room was strangely quiet. The players have had their fill of criticism this season. They think they're better than their record indicates.

"It's not unbelievable," tackle Ed Simmons said of the outcome. "I could see it happening in my sleep."

"People can say whatever they want about us, but we don't have to take it to heart," added linebacker Marvcus Patton, who played on teams in Buffalo that reached the Super Bowl. "People counted us out of this game. Just like they did the last one {a 27-23 Washington victory}. If we had sat and listened to all of that stuff we'd have been up the creek."

The victory also provided a sweet homecoming for a number of Washington players who were with Dallas before coming to the Redskins.

"I can't compare it to the Super Bowl," said Washington, who was on the Cowboys' teams that won Super Bowls after the 1992 and '93 seasons. "But this is the only Super Bowl I'm going to be in this season."

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 25, 2008; 3:29 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Morning Look: Cooley's Dallas Hat

Comments

So you're saying there's a chance!

Posted by: Skin Patrol | September 25, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"Coming on the same day that owner Jack Kent Cooke reached a tentative agreement with the state of Maryland to build a stadium in Prince George's County.."

Box Score for 12/3/95
1 win for the team
1 loss for the fans

Posted by: A Day that will live in infamy... | September 25, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

What was the point of bringing that up? Dallas stinks, and I praying the Skins really show up on the road this weekend. The playoffs depend on it....

Posted by: Elwood | September 25, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"...Shuler perhaps began to justify the Redskins' weighty investment with his leadership."

"The triumph may be a big step toward bringing the team together."

"Said Shuler: "That goes to show you why Norv Turner is as good as he is."

"The players have had their fill of criticism this season. They think they're better than their record indicates."

Posted by: Ahhh, hindsight... | September 25, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Dallas stinks? I wouldn't say that 3-0 and ranked #1 in the nfl stinks! The Ram's stink!

Posted by: RG | September 25, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

T.O. does have B.O...

Posted by: GY | September 25, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Joy! Joy! Joy! I have a cheer for the Cowboys: We dissed them. We whipped them. We kicked their butts good and the best part about it is we went to their neighborhood.

I live to hate the cowboys. Indians and cowboys never did get along. Long live the Washington Redskins - truly America's team.

Posted by: Lorraine | September 29, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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