Blogger Rich Tandler — of Real Redskins fame — has written a new book. It’s called The Redskins Chronicle, and it features original accounts of every game the Skins have played in, from 1937 through to last year. As part of his preorder press for the book, Tandler is posting excerpts on his blog, and today’s game is quite possibly my favorite regular season game ever: October 2, 1983 against the Los Angeles Raiders at RFK.
The Redskins were leading 20-7 in the third quarter, which is when things started going wrong. Two touchdown passes put the Raiders ahead, and then it got even worse. Here’s Tandler:
When Greg Pruitt took a punt back 97 yards for a touchdown that gave the Raiders a 35-20 lead with just over seven and a half minutes left in the game, it was positively suffocating.
In fact, although most of them will probably deny it, nearly half of the crowd of 54,016 headed for the exits after that punt return. What ensued was one for the history books, as Theismann would say afterwards. Or, one for the storybooks.
I was at the game with my father, and we didn’t leave. In hindsight, this was somewhat odd — my dad was often one to get out early to beat the traffic, especially if the home team was facing a seemingly insurmountable deficit — but not only did we stick around, we took advantage of the half-empty stadium to move much closer to the sidelines from our upper level seats in Section 514.
I have two main memories of the rest of the game. The first is that the sun was blazing down on those lower-level seats, which was new to me; the partial-roof overhang kept our upper deck seats shaded. (You can actually get a sense of how powerful the sun was by looking at the fans in the picture above.) And the second is that, for those last seven minutes of this one game, Joe Theismann, Charlie Brown, and Joe Washington seemed to me like as good a QB-WR-RB combo as any in the NFL.
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