Redskins get even, then some Defense shines in 41-3 win, but late TD miffs Cardinals

November 30, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- This was a case of role reversal for th Washington Redskins.

After being hounded for weeks for not scoring enough touchdowns, the Redskins were criticized yesterday for scoring one too many in a 41-3 victory over the Phoenix Cardinals before 53,541 fans at RFK Stadium.

Coach Joe Gibbs enraged his former assistant, Joe Bugel, for giving backup quarterback Cary Conklin the green light to throw a 10-yard touchdown pass with 2:44 left in the game.

It was the fifth touchdown for a Redskins team that had scored just three -- two of them on offense -- in the previous 23 quarters.

"That just left a bad taste in my mouth," Bugel said of the final touchdown pass.

"I voted for him for No. 1 this week," Bugel added in a sarcastic reference to college teams that run up the score to protect their ranking.

Bugel, who had gone to midfield to exchange a warm greeting with Gibbs in their previous five meetings, just waved and walked off the field at the end of the game.

Gibbs, who said he would apologize to Bugel, said, "I probably shouldn't have thrown that last time. I wanted to give him [Conklin] a couple of throws. He [Bugel] may have been upset with me."

It was the Cardinals' most one-sided loss since the Redskins beat them, 45-7, in this stadium in 1983, back when Bugel was Gibbs' offensive line coach.

Long before Conklin's touchdown pass, though, this was a heated game.

The Cardinals got things going by walking through the Redskins players when they were doing their pre-game stretching

exercises.

Safety Brad Edwards, who intercepted three passes and caused a fumble, said, "I couldn't believe what was going on. We're over there trying to stretch and they're walking through. That just kind of gets you going. It's kind of like somebody saying, 'We can beat you. We came back and beat you the last time and we can do it [again].' That's kind of the way we took it."

Tensions escalated once the game started.

"There was a tremendous amount of talk going on, pushing and shoving after plays and things. It was really amazing," Edwards said.

The fact that both teams were frustrated probably contributed to that. The Cardinals are usually frustrated against the Redskins. They've now lost 15 of the past 17 and 30 of the past 36 between the teams and 14 straight at RFK Stadium.

For their part, the Redskins were frustrated because they blew a 24-6 lead in the fourth quarter of the first game between the teams in Phoenix and lost, 27-24.

"We gave it away," said Jim Lachey, who returned to left tackle from a knee injury and helped stabilize the line. "If we hadn't [given it away], we'd be 8-4 and everybody would be saying great things about us."

Instead, they're 7-5 and tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for the last two NFC wild-card spots, one game ahead of the 6-6 Green Bay Packers.

The Redskins did a lot of talking before the game in their locker room about losing the first game to Phoenix. Edwards was in the forefront.

"I think Brad exhibited a lot of leadership," Gibbs said. "He tried to take things in his hands and tried to get us going."

Edwards said, "I was reminding the guys what happened last time. That was terrible. I felt like I was going crazy [before the game]. That game has kind of set in my stomach all year, to lose a game like that. I just felt the importance of this game."

The Redskins couldn't afford to lose and fall to 6-6, and the defense made sure they didn't.

The Redskins were ready to try anything. They used Brian Mitchell twice at quarterback with Mark Rypien split out as a receiver and put defensive lineman Shane Collins in the backfield in a goal-line situation.

The defense, though, was the difference. It produced six turnovers -- five interceptions and a fumble recovery -- Edwards caused the fumble and Wilber Marshall recovered -- to set up 24 of the team's 41 points.

Edwards ran his first interception back 53 yards for a touchdown and Todd Bowles returned one 65 yards to set up another touchdown. Marshall returned his fumble recovery 30 yards, breaking four tackles and then tossing a lateral to Alvoid Mays, who ran 26 more yards. That set up a Chip Lohmiller field goal.

They wound up with 229 return yards on the turnovers, which is more than Rypien's 175 yards passing and more than the Redskins' 143 yards rushing.

Timm Rosenbach, who was filling in for injured Chris Chandler, was intercepted four times.

"This was a tough one," Rosenbach said. "I don't know what went wrong. I just couldn't make good decisions. I tried to make things happen that just weren't there. There was no patience on my part."

On Edwards' first interception, the Redskins fooled Rosenbach with a zone look when they were playing man defense, but he tended to throw into double coverage.

The defenses so dominated the game that the first four drives of the second half ended in interceptions.

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