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Rewarding Moments In Redskins History: Redskins Drop Vikings, Advance To Super Bowl

Posted Jan 14, 2016

In today's Rewarding Moments In Redskins History presented by Maryland Lottery My Lottery Rewards, we look back at the Redskins' 1988 triumph over the Vikings to advance to the Super Bowl.

In today's Rewarding Moments In Redskins History presented by Maryland Lottery My Lottery Rewards, we look back at the Redskins' 1988 triumph over the Vikings to advance to the Super Bowl.

With one big, final hit by cornerback Darrell Green, who was battling a rib injury for the entire game, the Redskins earned their third Super Bowl appearance of the decade with a 17-10 victory over the Vikings.

The RFK crowd grew raucous that day, Jan. 17, 1988, especially once Washington made good on their goal line stand and took home the NFC conference championship, advancing to play the Broncos for the title game in San Diego.

The difference came thanks to a 7-yard touchdown pass from Doug Williams to Gary Clark, which broke a 10-10 tie late in the fourth quarter. But it was the defense that kept the score that way, twice preventing two red zone drives by Minnesota after that score.

Minnesota’s last chance, a fourth down pass from quarterback Wade Wilson to Darrin Nelson with 56 seconds left, was broken up by Green, who had received a pain-killing shot for his sprained rib before the game. Green ended up playing nearly every snap that day.

The Redskins sacked Wilson eight times, a product of the Redskins showing five different kinds of defense.

“We tried three-man fronts, four-man fronts, different sets of linebackers, man-to-man coverage and zones,” head coach Joe Gibbs said. “We were mixing all the time.”

Williams only finished 9-of-26 for 119 yards with two touchdowns in a game that Clark called “an ugly win, for sure.”

But the Redskins would take it, and in another strike-shortened season, they headed to their second Super Bowl victory.

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For one of the few times in his life, wide receiver Art Monk was nervous before an NFL game.

On the eve of the Redskins’ Monday Night Football matchup with the Broncos at RFK Stadium, Monk knew he had the opportunity to break the NFL receptions record.

He wanted to get it out of the way, and so did the Redskins, who faced the Eagles the next week and wanted Monk’s attention, and the team’s attention, on their division rival.

For a moment, on that Oct.12 night, it looked as though the record would have to wait. The Redskins were crushing the Broncos and throwing the ball wasn’t particularly practical as the fourth quarter ran down. But head coach Joe Gibbs pressed on.

He called three pass plays in a row for the eventual Hall of Famer during a final fourth quarter drive.

The third pass was the record-setter, a 10-yard throw from Mark Rypien that Monk caught by the Broncos sideline with just more than three minutes left to play. The reception made history, pushing past Steve Largent, and Monk was quickly lifted into the air by his teammates to celebrate.

"I knew it was for the record. It was a play designed for me to catch," Monk said after the Redskins’ eventual 34-3 victory. "I'm glad it's over. I was nervous before the game--that's something I'm not used to. I was glad to be able to do it here."

With the game in hand, those that didn’t leave early for traffic were rewarded for their patience and roared for their wide receiver.

Monk finished the night with seven catches for 69 yards and would finish his career with 940 receptions, now 17th overall on the all-time receptions list in NFL history.

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