Redskins crush Broncos Monk sets reception mark 3 catches in row surpasses Largent late in 34-3 victory

October 13, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Redskins got a victory for themselves and a record for Art Monk last night.

After pounding the Denver Broncos, 34-3, before 56,371 fans at RFK Stadium last night, the Redskins wanted to cap off the night by getting Art Monk the all-time career pass receiving record.

When Sidney Johnson intercepted a pass by rookie Tommy Maddox on the Washington 42 with 4:21 left, the Redskins decided it was record time.

Monk, who had already caught four passes to boost his career total to 817, needed three more catches to surpass Steve Largent's record of 819.

Quarterback Mark Rypien, who rallied from last week's disaster in Phoenix to pass for 245 yards and a touchdown, threw three straight passes of 6, 18 and 10 yards to Monk to break the record.

Monk caught the record-breaker on the opposite sideline near the Broncos' bench. His teammates streamed across the field and gave him a ride on their shoulders as the fans roared.

Once they had the game won, the Redskins wanted to get Monk the record so it wouldn't be a distraction next week for the critical game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

On the record-breaker, rookie Desmond Howard was running free in the end zone, but Rypien ignored him.

"The third one was about as tough a throw as I've made in a game," Rypien said. "Everyone knew we were going to him. You're thinking to yourself, 'Oh, goodness [if] you don't get this to him.' If they get [intercept] it, I'm not going to make the tackle [to stop a touchdown]. I want a chance to come back again and get it to him the next series. That was the toughest throw I probably made the whole game."

Monk, who rarely gives interviews, spoke to reporters for the first time this season after the game. He admitted he was nervous going into the game, thinking about the record.

"It's a big burden off my shoulders. I'm glad it's over with," he said. "I was very nervous before the game and that's something I'm not used to being. I really did not know how to handle it.

"Breaking this record means the most to me because of the person who had it, Steve Largent, because he a man's who loves God and I consider myself the same type of man," he said. Both are born-again Christians.

Monk said when the play -- "87 Dodge" -- was called, tight end Ron Middleton said, "This is it."

Coach Joe Gibbs said, "The only thing we padded for Art was the last three. I never even thought about throwing him the ball in any other game. But I kind of wanted to get it over, because I didn't want the pressure to keep mounting for another week. The pressure on him has been tremendous and I think we all wanted to get it out of the way."

The Redskins played this one as if it were a Super Bowl -- and so did the Broncos.

It was the Redskins first impressive victory since they won Super Bowl XXVI last January and the first time they covered the spread since then.

For the Broncos, who came in with a 4-1 record and had won the only three regular-season meetings between the clubs since 1974, it was a sorry showing reminiscent of their four embarrassing Super Bowl losses -- including a 42-10 loss to the Redskins in Super Bowl XXII five years ago.

Rypien, who was the target of so much criticism when the Redskins started off 2-2, heard cheers instead of boos as he threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Gary Clark in the second quarter and plunged for two more scores.

But it was the Redskins' defense that really dominated the game, handcuffing quarterback John Elway while sacking him five times before he gave way to Maddox with 10 minutes left. Elway completed only 15 of 32 passes for 128 yards and had two intercepted.

Linebackers Wilber Marshall and Kurt Gouveia made the two interceptions. Marshall set up his own interception by tipping an Elway pass in the first quarter. He then grabbed it in midair after it bounced off Fred Stokes and ran 33 yards for a touchdown as the Redskins jumped to a 17-3 first-period lead.

With the Redskins leading 24-3 in the third period, Gouveia wrapped it up when Elway drilled a pass at him that was supposed to be intended for Derek Russell. Gouveia ran 15 yard to the Denver 1 to set up Rypien's second touchdown plunge, boosting the margin to 31-3.

Chip Lohmiller added his second field goal, a 36-yarder, in the fourth period to make it 34-3.

The Broncos are 4-0 against AFC teams and 0-2 against NFC East teams. Their only previous loss was a 30-0 defeat at the hands of the Eagles.

It was a perfect night for the Redskins except for a sprained knee suffered by left tackle Jim Lachey late in the second period. He missed the rest of the game and the injury left the Redskins thin in the line because they lost center Jeff Bostic with a torn rotator cuff last week.

Lachey will undergo an MRI today and could wind up on the injured reserve list. Mo Elewonibi, who was activated for the first time in his three-year career, replaced Lachey for the last three quarters and played well.

"Our biggest negative was we lost Lachey," he said.

For Denver, there were a lot of negatives.

Denver coach Dan Reeves said, "There's just not much you can say. They were coming off a tough loss last week and were very fired up. They played really well and that's why they're the world champions."

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