NFC Championship Game
RFK Stadium - Joe Gibbs is a humble, religious man and it’s doubtful that he would trouble God by asking Him for anything as insignificant as a victory in a football game. But there is the vivid mental picture of Joe Gibbs kneeling on the sidelines as the Vikings faced a fourth down at the Washington six. Fifty six seconds remained and the Redskins were clinging to a 17-10 lead. Whether divine intervention was involved or not, Wade Wilson’s pass bounced out of Darrin Nelson’s hands at the goal line, and the win was preserved.
It probably shouldn’t have been that close. When Doug Williams (9-26, 119 yards) wasn’t being victimized by drops, he was overthrowing open receivers. Ali Haji-Shiekh missed two field goals. The Redskins were able to get a running game going with rookie Timmy Smith gaining 72 yards on 13 carries.
The Washington defense deserves the credit for this one. They held Minnesota to 76 yards on the ground and the linebacking corps came up with critical plays in the second half. Mel Kaufman intercepted a pass deflected by Dave Butz to set up Haji-Shiekh’s go-ahead field goal in the third quarter and Neal Olkewicz dove in to pile drive running back DJ Dozier backwards just inches short of the goal line on third and goal with 11 minutes left in the game. The Vikings went for the field goal to tie the game at 10.
The Redskins took the lead as Williams found Gary Clark twice, once for 43 yards and moments later, on a broken pattern, for seven yards and the winning touchdown with just over five minutes left. All that was left was to pray that the defense could hold on.