It's deja vu all over again for Redskins in title game

January 06, 1992|By Vito Stellino

The team runs the run-and-shoot offense. It never has won a game in Washington. It was routed by the Redskins in the regular season when it played without a star named Sanders. It is coming to RFK Stadium for a playoff game instead of the Dallas Cowboys.

Sound familiar?

Just change the name of this week's Washington playoff opponent from the Atlanta Falcons to the Detroit Lions.

The Lions qualified for the dubious honor of playing the Redskins in the NFC title game Sunday at 4 p.m. in RFK Stadium by upsetting the Dallas Cowboys, 38-6, yesterday.

A week ago, the Falcons upset the New Orleans Saints to prevent Dallas from coming to Washington.

This week, the Lions will take much consolation that they were without running back Barry Sanders when they lost to the Redskins, 45-0, in the opener.

Last week, the Falcons made much of the absence of another Sanders -- Deion -- when they lost to the Redskins, 56-17.

With Deion Sanders in the lineup Saturday, the Falcons lost to the Redskins, 24-7.

Atlanta and Detroit never have won in Washington. The Falcons are 0-8 there. The Lions are 0-15 in Washington, including a 31-7 playoff loss in 1982.

The Redskins have beaten the Lions 14 straight times home and away -- the longest streak in the NFL -- since they lost in Detroit, 14-10, in 1965. The Lions' last road victory over the Redskins came in 1935, when the Redskins franchise was located in Boston.

The Lions are another run-and-shoot team coming into RFK in January facing the prospect of playing in inclement weather.

And the Redskins can recycle their quotes about the regular-season victory being meaningless.

"This is a totally different team than the one we played earlier, and the first game, and the 45-0 score, will have no meaning," said coach Joe Gibbs when he arrived at Redskin Park last night.

Gibbs said the same thing last week, except he was talking about a 56-17 score.

Gibbs won't get the videotape of the Detroit-Dallas game until today, but he got his staff together to start working on the game plan last night.

Jim Hanifan, the offensive line coach, said: "You have to throw that [first game] out the window. This is a new season, and they had an outstanding game today."

Larry Peccatiello, the linebackers coach, said: "Since we played them, the difference in our records is just one win and one loss. They know they're not a team that is as bad as 45-0."

But Richie Petitbon, the assistant coach who draws up defenses, said of the 45-0 game: "It's got to be on their minds. They can say what they want, but I'd much rather be on the side bTC that had 45, because there's got to be a reason for that."

Meanwhile, down in Atlanta, Falcons coach Jerry Glanville was as vocal as ever, despite the loss.

Complaining about the RFK Stadium field, he said, "It looked like the Russian army had marched over it or something."

Glanville said it was worse in the second half and asked if there was any halftime marching on it.

When told the U.S. Army band did, he said: "Usually, when the field is that bad, they don't even have a halftime, but they created other rules yesterday, so I guess they could create that one, too. It [field] looked like it was marched on by elephants."

Glanville repeated the charge he made after the first game -- that the Redskins hold all the time.

"It's not their fault they don't get called for holding, so more power to them," he said.

Well, there'll be one difference between the Detroit and Atlanta games. This one won't have Glanville's antics, although they may be catching.

As Detroit linebacker Toby Caston left the field yesterday, he picked up on the Falcons' theme, telling the CBS cameras, "Too Legit To Quit."

Run and shot down

The Redskins have gone 4-0 this season against teams that use run-and-shoot offenses:

Date.. .. .. Team.. .. .. Score

Sept. 1.. .. Lions. .. .. 45-0

Nov. 3 .. .. Oilers .. .. 16-13

Nov. 10.. .. Falcons.. .. 56-17

Jan. 4 .. .. Falcons.. .. 24-7

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