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Rewarding Moments In Redskins History: Green's Return Sends Redskins To Title Game

Posted Dec 7, 2017

In today's Rewarding Moments In Redskins History presented by Maryland Lottery My Lottery Rewards, we look back at the Redskins topping the Bears in the playoffs in the 1987 season.

In today's Rewarding Moments In Redskins History presented by Maryland Lottery My Lottery Rewards, we look back at the Redskins topping the Bears in the playoffs in the 1987 season.

The frigid weather at Soldier Field and the 4.5 point underdog betting line didn’t lend itself to having confidence in the Redskins’ chances to pull off an upset in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs and advance past head coach Mike Ditka and the Chicago Bears.

It took Darrell Green’s athleticism to remind folks why it would be foolish not to be confident.

On Jan. 10, 1988, the Redskins eliminated the Bears from the playoff for the second straight year with a 21-17 victory thanks in large part to a Green punt return for a touchdown and some stout defense to finish the game, courtesy of a late Barry Wilburn interception.

But let’s get to that punt return.

Tied at 14 in the third quarter, the Redskins pushed quarterback Jim McMahon, who had won 28 of his 29 starts, back towards his own end zone and forced the Bears to punt. The kick was caught by Green on the Redskins’ 48-yard line and then it was off to the races, which quickly became a hurdling event.

Green began his run down the sideline but quickly had to make a decision once he saw Cap Bosco running towards him.

''I knew he was going to wipe me out, or I should go out of bounds,'' Green said. ''And cutting across the grain entailed jumping over the guy.”

So he did, then he cut back to the middle through a wide open lane, sprinting while holding his side for the majority of the run to the end zone. In his heroics, he sprained some rib cartilage. Green was too fast for his own body.

''I knew I had the touchdown,'' Green said. ''Then I guess my mind concentrated on the pain.''

That pushed the score to 21-14 and the defense held on, even without Green in the secondary, and the Redskins advanced to take on the Vikings at RFK Stadium. They would go on to capture their second Super Bowl title.

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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