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Thirty-two years ago today, the Washington Redskins capture the first of three Super Bowl victories in a 27-17 win over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII.
The game, which took place at the Rose Bowl, was a rematch of Super Bowl VII, where the Dolphins would ultimately win 14-7 to become the first and still only undefeated team in NFL history.
But unlike the 14-7 final in Super Bowl VII, the Dolphins simply weren’t good enough to defeat the Redskins on this day led, of course, by the one and only John Riggins and his “70 Chip” touchdown score.
Below is a quick recap of the Redskins’ victory:
The Redskins had the fourth-rated defense in the league during the regular season, giving up a measly 284.4 yards per game.
Miami, however, struck quickly to open up the scoring on the day.
On the Dolphins’ second drive of the game, quarterback David Woodley connected with wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo for a 76-yard bomb to go up 7-0.
Washington, meanwhile, would go scoreless in the first quarter as Miami’s top-ranked defense was able to contain the potent Redskins offense. Early in the second quarter, the Dolphins appeared destined to extend their lead as they drove down the field with relative ease.
Dexter Manley, however, halted the drive as he came up with a key turnover, knocking the ball out of Woodley’s hands. The ensuing Redskins drive would net them three points.
Miami would match the Redskins field goal with three points of their own, increasing their lead to seven, 10-3.
Washington would soon answer back, though, storming down the field for a four-yard touchdown pass from Pro Bowl quarterback Joe Thiesmann to Alvin Garrett, tying the affair at 10 apiece.
On the ensuing kickoff, Miami returner Fulton Walker, known for his big-play potential, burst open the game as he returned the kick 98 yards to the endzone. The Dolphins would head to halftime with the momentum in hand and a seven point cushion over the Redskins.
The second half, however, showed fans why Washington ended the season with 11 wins to just one loss.
Midway through the third quarter, the Redskins dug deep into their bag of tricks, as Garrett came up big once again with a 44-yard reverse that would set up a Mark Moseley field goal to pull Washington to within four, 17-13.
The turning point of the game came early in the fourth quarter. The Redskins drove down the field and entered Miami territory.
The drive quickly stalled and the Redskins were forced to make a crucial decision on 4th-and-1 with 10:10 left in the contest. If the team failed to convert, it could put a clamp on the Redskins chances of victory. The Redskins were unafraid of the consequences and decided to go for it.
Running back John Riggins was able to convert the fourth down and then some, as he put the Redskins up for good with a stunning 43-yard touchdown run. Moseley would tack on the extra point and Washington led for the first time, 20-17.
The offense capped over their explosive second half performance on their next possession with a six-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Brown for a 27-17 victory.
Not to be outdone by the epic display of offense, the defense had one of its stingiest performances of the season, holding the Dolphins to zero second half points.
Game, set, match.
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