Eagles close out Redskins again

November 29, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- The Philadelphia Eagles played it again yesterday.

Ten weeks after they beat the Washington Redskins on a touchdown pass in the final minute, they did it again to break a six-game losing streak with a 17-14 victory before 46,663 at RFK Stadium.

This time, they did it on Bubby Brister's 2-yard touchdown pass to James Joseph with 46 seconds left.

In the first game, on Sept. 19 in Philadelphia, they beat the Redskins, 34-31, on Randall Cunningham's 10-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Williams with four seconds left.

Although Brister's last pass decided the game yesterday, the Redskins ultimately beat themselves by tripping over their own feet.

Among other things, they were called for 10 penalties, botched a fake punt from their 22 in the first half and ran out of second-half timeouts in the third period.

They got to the Philadelphia 15 in the second period and the 20 in the third quarter and failed to get any points either time. On top of that, Chip Lohmiller missed a 35-yard field-goal attempt at the end of the first half.

"A very disappointing loss, but to be perfectly honest about it, I don't think we played well enough to win the game," said Redskins coach Richie Petitbon. "We could have won it if we'd stopped them on that last drive, but we did just too many things wrong today and the results speak for themselves."

The loss dropped the Redskins to 2-9, one game ahead of the New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals, who at 1-10 have the NFL's worst records -- and best shot at the No. 1 draft pick.

That's what it's come down to for the Redskins. The only good thing about the season now is that they'll get a high draft choice.

It was the second straight week they lost to a team in the midst of a long losing streak. Last week, the Los Angeles Rams beat them, 10-6, to end a five-game slide.

The Redskins are in the midst of one of the worst collapses in NFL history. No team has won fewer than four games two years after winning the Super Bowl -- the New York Jets went 4-10 in 1970 after winning the 1968 Super Bowl -- and the Redskins may have trouble winning two of their last five. Just two years ago, they won the Super Bowl with a 17-2 record.

Petitbon, suffering through a nightmare first season as head coach, also has to worry about his job security. Owner Jack Kent Cooke held his head in his hands in the third period after Rich Gannon threw a 16-yard, third-down pass to the Philadelphia 11 that was wiped out by an illegal-formation penalty on Tim McGee.

When Petitbon was asked about his coaching after the game, he said: "Any time you lose a game like this, you can't feel too good about it. I think that's obvious."

Cooke hasn't commented on Petitbon's future, but it doesn't help that he appears to be losing the fans. There were 9,791 no-shows, and those who did show up were quick to boo.

It also didn't help Petitbon that his fake-punt gamble failed in the second quarter.

He made the call with the Redskins facing fourth-and-seven at their 22 midway through the second quarter. Brian Mitchell was supposed to pitch what special-teams coach Wayne Sevier called a "basketball shot" to either Danny Copeland on the left side or Todd Bowles on the right.

Copeland was open, but Mitchell inexplicably threw it to Bowles, and Otis Smith intercepted on the Washington 27.

Mitchell, normally one of the most talkative Redskins, left the locker room before reporters were allowed in, and nobody seemed to know why Mitchell threw it to the wrong player.

"Danny Copeland was wide open on the other side," Petitbon said. "Had he elected to throw it there, we would have had a big gain. For something like that to work, you have to call it back in your own territory. At the time, I thought it was a time to call it. It backfired." The Eagles cashed in on the mistake as they moved 27 yards in four plays for the touchdown that made it 10-0. Former Cardinal Gibbons star Vaughn Hebron got the score on a 1-yard run after Herschel Walker went 9 and 16 yards with two pass receptions.

Gannon finally got the Redskins untracked in the fourth quarter with his scrambling ability. He drove them 54 yards in six plays and 77 yards in seven plays on consecutive drives for two touchdowns that gave the Redskins a 14-10 lead with 4:44 left.

Gannon scrambled to his left to throw a 17-yard touchdown pass to McGee and went to his right to throw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Art Monk.

But Brister then moved the Eagles 75 yards in 12 plays to win the game. The key plays were a 14-yard pass-interference penalty on Tom Carter, a 16-yard pass to Williams and Hebron's 16-yard run to the Washington 3 with 1:37 left.

After Hebron was stopped on the 1 and the 2 on two runs, the Eagles flooded the right side with three wide receivers, and Joseph, who was the man in motion, got free to beat Darrell Green and catch the touchdown pass.

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