The Last Time the Steelers Were in Town....
The last time the Steelers visited D.C. for a regular season NFL game was Sept. 11, 1988, with the defending Super Bowl champion Redskins pulling out a 30-29 win, pushing their record to 1-1 in what would be an erratic season. Since then, the Redskins have made several regular-season visits to Pittsburgh, and have hosted the Steelers in the preseason, but this is the first real one in this area for 20 years.
And so, while sitting outside the Monday Night Football production meeting and listening to tape of Jim Zorn yelling Hip Hip Hooray and Tony Kornheiser comparing the two teams to the two political parties, I pulled together a few notable notes from that game.
Washington Post lede: The Washington Redskins escaped yesterday on a Chip Lohmiller chip shot, a field goal that saved a 30-29 heartbeat-a-second victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers that had Coach Joe Gibbs thanking his luckiest stars.
Running backs who scored: Jamie Morris for Washington, Dwight Stone for Pittsburgh.
Best quote: "Now we're calling [Morris] 'Wee little Riggo,' " said tackle Mark May, who with his Hog linemates helped Washington generate 515 net yards of offense.
Notable scene: A moment of silence was held for Art Rooney, who had died a few weeks earlier.
Second-best quote: Manley said afterward: "I am in great shape, but I have to agree with the coaches now. Running shape and football shape are totally different. Today, I felt it. I was hating life."
Coaches: Joe Gibbs for Washington, Chuck Noll for Pittsburgh.
Amazing Joe Gibbs quote: "The best thing I see is heart, a lotta heart. We've been in hard-fought games. We've got a lot of want-to. I see us as a team that's going to put that kind of effort into it. That's a real plus....We've had some guys really stand up for us -- guys who played great filling in. We've had some heroes."
Key cornerbacks: Darrell Green for Washington, second-year man Rod Woodson for Pittsburgh.
The more things change....: Trailing twice in the second half by nine points, Gibbs thought it imperative that his special teams liven things up, and [Darrell] Green was chosen as the catalyst. Inserted for two Steelers punts, Green had returns of 18 and 13 yards....Using Green over and over has been frowned upon in the past, because of his frailty at 5 feet 8, 170 pounds, but Gibbs apparently has seen enough of his raging returns to realize it would be a waste not to let him run wild. Gibbs yesterday said he thought Green could end up returning more punts this year than ever.
Notable scene: Redskins running back Timmy Smith was ejected in the third quarter for jutting his chest into a referee.
Starting QBs: Doug Williams for Washington, Bubby Brister for Pittsburgh.
Best fans in the NFL: Running back Kelvin Bryant was serenaded with boos and hisses Sunday after dropping a first-quarter pass from Doug Williams. This was not the first time he'd been upbraided for having slippery fingers, and some wondered if Williams would even bother throwing to him again.
Washington Post writers: Current ESPN guy Tom Friend, current Washington Post sports editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, current Washington Post columnist Tom Boswell.
Amazing Garcia-Ruiz lede: Bubby Brister showed he isn't faster than a speeding bullet, but he did prove yesterday that he can leap tall secondary men in a single bound. And though no one would consider calling Brister a man of steel, he did take some of the tarnish off his spotty reputation by almost leading the Pittsburgh Steelers past the Super Bowl champion Redskins at RFK Stadium.
Backup Skins QBs: Stan Humphries and Mark Rypien.
Third-best quote: On that last Redskins drive of the first half, Williams, who prides himself on throwing away passes rather than throwing interceptions, made a poor decision. "Who was I throwing to? Them, I guess," Williams said.
Notable development: A few days after the game, Washington signed Billy (White Shoes) Johnson.
Kickers: Chip Lohmiller for Washington, Gary Anderson for Pittsburgh.
Fun Bunch? Meanwhile, Coach Joe Gibbs was talking yesterday about a three wide receiver rotation he has going with Monk, Clark and Sanders. Monk (11 catches) and Sanders (10) are tied for fourth and fifth, respectively, in the NFC, and Gibbs is somehow managing to insert all three at various times.
Media note: The Washington Redskins-Pittsburgh Steelers game on Channel 4, which aired from 1 until 4:27 p.m., scored a 28.0 local Nielsen rating and a 59 percent audience share.
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