Redskins break six-game slide, beat Colts, 30-24 Pair of 'gift' TDs in 1st half decisive

November 08, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Redskins wanted a win in the worst way last night, and they got it.

The Redskins, who had gone two months and a day without a victory since they defeated the Dallas Cowboys in their opener Labor Day night, ended their six-game losing streak last night.

It wasn't an artistic success, but the Redskins were more than satisfied with their 30-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at RFK Stadium before 50,523 fans, who often booed as Washington sputtered on offense for much of the game.

"We got that monkey off our back," quarterback Mark Rypien said.

The Redskins lost the battle of offensive statistics as the Colts had the edge in first downs, 21-16, and total yardage, 405-275. But the key was turnovers, where the Colts and three and the Redskins none.

The Redskins trailed in first-half yardage, 226-57 -- coach Richie Petitbon even benched Rypien for a series -- but led 14-10 at halftime thanks to a pair of gift touchdowns.

Darrell Green scooped up Roosevelt Potts' fumble and ran 78 yards for a touchdown and the Redskins scored again after Reggie Roby's punt hit Clarence Verdin on the shoulder.

The Redskins then built a 30-10 lead with 3:52 left, and had to hang on after the Colts scored two touchdowns in the last 1:50 of the game.

The Redskins were relieved when it was finally over.

"Obviously, we're very pleased to break that losing streak," Petitbonsaid. "Getting that first one, we've been talking all along, is the toughest thing. It's going to take a lot of pressure off of us."

Petitbon hopes it will be the start of a second-half rebound.

"I think it's very important," Petitbon said. "I think football is a game of momentum, it's a mental game. Once you start believing in yourself, you win a couple of games, I think you can get on a roll. If we get some people back, I think we're capable of getting on a roll."

Petitbon said the losing streak was taking its toll on the team.

"You really start pressing," he said. "You don't play as loose. I don't think you coach as loose as you should. I think this will help us all."

Petitbon made an unusual move in the second quarter when he && benched Rypien with the Redskins leading 7-0 after Andre Collins intercepted Jeff George's pass on the Indianapolis 32.

He said he told Rypien it was going to be for only one series.

"He got a couple of balls batted and I think he needed to sit back and reflect," the coach said. "I planned on putting him right back in. I think sometimes you've just got to do things like that."

Rypien admitted he wasn't sure he would be right back.

"If Cary goes in and throws two or three touchdowns, it might be something different," he said. "They said to go take a breath and get my thoughts together and come back out and get ready to go. That's how it happened. Whether or not it was a soft way of saying you're benched, maybe five or six years down the road I'll ask Richie that."

However, Conklin was sacked twice in his three plays (the first one was supposed to be a naked bootleg) and the Redskins were forced to punt from the Colts 40.

Roby's punt appeared to be going near the goal line, and when Verdin turned around, it hit him on the back of the shoulder and Rick Hamilton recovered on the Colts 6.

Rypien came back in, handed off to Reggie Brooks for five yards and then dived into the end zone for the touchdown.

The Redskins had turned six yards of offense into two touchdowns and a 14-0 lead.

They couldn't stand the prosperity, however, as the Colts rallied for 10 points before halftime, including a 72-yard touchdown pass from George to Reggie Langhorne.

Langhorne beat A. J. Johnson, and safety Brad Edwards wasn't quick enough to help him.

"We can't continue to give up one a game," Petitbon said of the long pass. "That's going to get us beat. That's something we're going tohave to stop."

The Redskins have given up 10 touchdowns of 20 yards or more this season.

It wasn't until the third quarter, when the Redskins drove 79 yards in seven plays, that they were able to put together their only long offensive touchdown drive of the game.

The key play was a 42-yard pass from Rypien to Tim McGee on a NTC third-and-seven play at the Indianapolis 43. It set up Rypien's second 1-yard touchdown dive of the game.

The touchdown gave the Redskins a 20-10 lead as Chip Lohmiller missed an extra point for the first time since his rookie year. It ended a string of 213, third longest in NFL history. Tommy Davis holds the record of 234, and Jim Turner is second at 221.

Lohmiller made up for it with a 24-yard field goal that made it 23-10. It was set up by a 43-yard screen pass to Brooks.

The Redskins added insurance with a 49-yard drive in five plays -- Brian Mitchell got the touchdown on a 1-yard run -- to make it 30-10 with 3:52 left in the game.

The Colts then scored two touchdowns to make it close, the second one after recovering an onside kick.

It wasn't until Andre Collins recovered an onside kick with 16 seconds left that the Redskins had it wrapped up.

"Even when things seem to be going right, we can't seem to win comfortably," Petitbon said.

Coach Ted Marchibroda of the Colts said, "We showed character and the team grew up today. We can't give up 14 points [on the gift touchdowns] and still win the football game."

Potts, who slipped and got up on his fumble play, insisted he was down before he lost the ball.

"The play was down. They got the breaks. It was something everyone on TV saw. We can go home with our heads up," Potts said.

The Redskins went home with the victory, but they knew it wasn't a classic.

Said Green: "We're not going to go out and have a big parade in D.C."

NOTES: Bobby Wilson's father died Saturday night, but the Redskins DL started last night and had one tackle. . . . DL Charles Mann, who started last week on his bad knee, was held out of the game.

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