Redskins, fans roar by Bears Feeding off crowd, defense is key, 10-3

September 09, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- No one quite compared it to the frenzy of the Redskins' Super Bowl years, but Washington players were impressed yesterday by the deafening roar of the crowd at RFK Stadium as the Chicago Bears prepared to run a crucial third-and-six play with the score tied at 3 late in the third quarter.

The Bears quickly called timeout with the ball on the Redskins' 19-yard line, but it didn't seem to matter.

The Redskins, inspired by the crowd, took the ball from Chicago and shoved it downfield in just three plays for a touchdown that was the difference in a 10-3 victory.

"You always hear stories about the 12th man or angels on your side," said Redskins linebacker Ken Harvey. "But you never believe it until you see it happen. This was unbelievable today."

Said Redskins quarterback Gus Frerotte: "The crowd got into it so much. Our defense is on the field. Their offense is on the field. You can't even hear yourself think. That takes a little wind out of their sails."

Just when it looked as if the tired Redskins defense finally would give in to Chicago in the 91-degree heat, Washington free safety Stanley Richard hit Bears wide receiver Michael Timpson at the 16-yard line and the ball popped loose.

Veteran Washington cornerback Darrell Green took it from there as the ball began rolling upfield.

Green dived after the ball, picked it up and returned it 14 yards to the Washington 39-yard line.

"It felt like the old days for a second out there," said Green.

Then it was Frerotte's turn. He zipped passes of 17 and 16 yards to Henry Ellard, moving the ball to the Chicago 28. From there, Terry Allen bounced off the right side and went untouched into the end zone for a touchdown with 4: 49 left in the third quarter.

Washington coach Norv Turner said Allen caught Chicago in a blitz that left him with a wide-open field.

"That's one of those plays where if Chicago is stunting one way, it's a 2-yard gain. But if they're stunting another way, it's a touchdown," Turner said.

The victory enabled Washington (1-1) to bounce back after a dismal, 17-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the opener. And it came against a Chicago team that had pounded the Dallas Cowboys, 22-6, Monday night.

"To put a lot of emphasis on the second game of the season, I'm not going to do that," said Turner. "People can talk all they want in terms of what long-range effect that Game No. 2 has on my career and on this football team, but I'm not concerned with that."

Frerotte redeemed himself yesterday after a poor opening effort. Against Chicago, he completed 18 of 29 passes for 177 yards with no interceptions.

"We said we couldn't come out and have another game like last week," said Frerotte. "Going into the season, we knew we'd be in at least 12 close games, and we had to start winning them to get to where we want to be. Today, it was the defense gutting it out for us."

Every member of the Washington defense got a game ball from Turner.

"Our defense gave everything they had and then gave some more," said Turner. "I'd like to give the entire place, everybody who saw this game, a game ball. They [the fans] had the place rocking."

In addition to Green, some of the defensive standouts for Washington were strong safety Darryl Morrison, who intercepted Erik Kramer's pass early in the fourth quarter; defensive end Dexter Nottage, who deflected two of Kramer's passes; and defensive tackle Sean Gilbert, who harassed Kramer most of the afternoon.

Pub Date: 9/09/96

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