Overmatched Redskins chip away to victory Lohmiller's 5 FGs pace 15-13 victory

October 26, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Chip Lohmiller knows how to throw a grand homecoming party.

The Washington Redskins were battered and banged up, but not beaten yesterday because Lohmiller kicked five field goals, including a 49-yarder with 1:09 left, in the Metrodome where he first made a name for himself as a kicker for the University of Minnesota.

It gave the Redskins a tense 15-13 victory even though Minnesota's defense overwhelmed the Redskins' makeshift offensive line and hit quarterback Mark Rypien on virtually every pass play.

"We're thrilled and we're wore out," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said. "We're tired. We're beat up. We're everything. It was really a kind of blood-and-guts battle, an old-time football game."

The Redskins were facing one of the best pass-rushing defensive lines in the NFL without three starting offensive linemen.

They went into the game with Jim Lachey and Jeff Bostic sidelined and lost left guard Joe Jacoby with a pinched nerve in his neck on the last play of the first quarter.

That left the Redskins overmatched against the Vikings' line of Chris Doleman, John Randle, Henry Thomas and Al Noga.

"They're obviously an extremely quick front four," offensive line coach Jim Hanifan said. "They pose a lot of problems."

Mo Elewonibi, who held his own against Philadelphia's Clyde Simmons last week in his first start, couldn't contain Doleman even though he had a lot of help from the tight ends. He didn't even try to use an ankle he injured in the first quarter as an excuse.

"It was kind of ugly out there, but we'll take the win. I guess it wasn't a pretty sight," Elewonibi said.

The team bore little resemblance to the Redskins team that crushed the Buffalo Bills, 37-24, in Super Bowl XXVI last January in their last game in the Metrodome.

Only Lohmiller was the same. He had kicked field goals of 34, 25 and 39 in his only other game in the Metrodome since he left college.

Rypien, who passed for 292 yards in the Super Bowl, was limited to 148 in this game. Although he was sacked only twice, he suffered a knee injury early in the second quarter and was pressured every time he stepped back to pass.

That contributed to the Redskins' inability to reach the end zone even though the defense came up with three first-half turnovers.

They had fourth-down plays on the Minnesota 5, 35, 7 and 27 in the first half when Lohmiller came in to kick.

Lohmiller, who bought 55 tickets for relatives including his parents and grandparents, boomed kicks of 22, 52, 25 and 45 yards to give the Redskins a 12-0 halftime lead.

In effect, the Redskins asked the defense to hold the lead in the second half. It was obvious they weren't going to score many more points.

A punt that took a bounce and hit Sidney Johnson set up a Vikings field goal and Minnesota then drove 42 yards for a fourth-period touchdown to cut the deficit to 12-10.

On the Vikings' next drive, they took over on their 19 and marched to the 24 where Fuad Reveiz kicked a 41-yard field goal to give the Vikings a 13-12 lead with 2:28 left.

The way the Vikings were dominating the Redskins' offense, that appeared to be the game-winner.

On the ensuing kickoff, though, Reveiz made a critical error. Trying to kick it long and deep to the corner, he mishit the ball and kicked it out of bounds, giving the Redskins a first down on their 35.

"That's a cardinal sin for a kicker," Rypien said. "As well as he was kicking, that surprised me. That was a blessing for us, getting the ball at the 35. We knew we weren't in a panic situation."

The Redskins knew they only had to go 25 yards to get into Lohmiller's range. But when Rypien got a big rush and threw the first-down pass into the ground, the lead looked safe.

On second down, Doleman put a big rush on Rypien and as he was backpedaling, he had to throw off his back foot. He just lofted the ball in the direction of Art Monk, who caught it for a 20-yard gain.

"Great players made big plays," said Tony Dungy, the Vikings' defensive coordinator. "Monk's made a lot of them and the quarterback's made a lot of them. That's why they were in the Super Bowl last year."

Rypien, though, talked as if the play was nothing special.

"You read the corner on Gary [Clark] for coverage. He ran with Gary [who was double covered]. You knew you had one on one with Art with the whole field wide open. It was good coverage. It was just a matter of putting it out there. The guy's [Carl Lee of the Vikings] decision is to go through Art and cause a penalty or he [Monk] catches it for a first down," Rypien said.

Monk caught it to give the Redskins a first down on the Minnesota 45. On second down, Rypien scrambled 11 yards for a first down on the 34. Rather than run out of bounds, he opted to leap forward for additional yardage and paid the price, staying down for several seconds before the two-minute warning.

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