SUPER BOWL XXII : THE INCREDIBLE QUARTER : It Was All Over After Redskins Scored a Record 35 Points
Fifteen minutes is all it took. If you set it to music it would sound like this:
Crash! Bam! Pow! Bang! Zoom!
And when it was over, the Washington Redskins were spent, but the Denver Broncos were wasted. Super Bowl XXII was over before the multi-piano overture.
John Elway and the Broncos created “The Drive” in last season’s AFC title game at Cleveland, adding to a list of legendary pro football feats.
Earlier, there was “The Block” by Green Bay’s Jerry Kramer, “The Catch” by San Francisco’s Dwight Clark, “The Immaculate Reception” by the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Franco Harris, and Roger Staubach’s “Hail Mary” to Drew Pearson in Minnesota.
There was even “The Game”-- Johnny Unitas, in his prime, leading the Baltimore Colts to a championship overtime win over the Giants that pushed the sport into big-time theater in 1958.
Now there’s “The Quarter” to add to all that lore--the Washington Redskins’ blitzkrieg destruction of the Broncos in a twilight dream sequence that was the second quarter at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium Sunday.
After it was over, as the audience sat stunned and orange-crushed, all that remained was the halftime show and the matter of filling in the final score, 42-10.
It was like clockwork. Five possessions, 18 plays, 5 touchdowns, 35 points.
Nobody had ever scored more than 21 points in a Super Bowl quarter or 28 in a half. Nobody had ever scored more than five touchdowns in a game .
Doug Williams passed for four touchdowns, Timmy Smith ran 58 yards for another.
Smith had run for only 126 yards in the regular season. He had 122 in the second quarter alone, finishing with 204 to break Marcus Allen’s record of 191 set in Super Bowl XVIII.
Williams passed for 253 of his 340 yards in The Quarter.
Several Super Bowl records were broken, others tied.
Ricky Sanders caught 2 of the touchdown passes and, with 193 yards receiving, broke Lynn Swann’s record of 161 from Super Bowl X. Sanders had 177 yards in The Quarter.
“It was unreal” Sanders said.
Even Joe Bugel, the Redskins’ offensive coordinator, said: “I don’t have an answer for how that happened.”
A reporter suggested that maybe it was because several Redskins changed to longer cleats after the first quarter to handle the loose turf. Bugel laughed.
“No, and it wasn’t changing any plays, either,” he said. “It was just running the same things but doing it better.
“When they got 10 points, that was just like somebody kicked us in the face. It was time. We started getting after ‘em pretty good on the sideline, telling ‘em, ‘Hey, this is only the world championship. Let’s get going.’
“The plays were the same, (just) different formations. We change every week.”
The plays weren’t especially tricky, either, not by modern, sophisticated theory. The first was . . . CHARLIE HITCH:
“Good things can happen from it,” Bugel said.
The first was Williams’ 80-yard pass to Sanders to bring the Redskins back to 10-7 on their first play of the quarter.
“We make the safety (Tony Lilly) make a choice,” said Gary Clark, the other wide receiver. “When the safety makes a choice, Doug’ll go with me or he’ll go with Ricky. But he just bit on the run fake, and Ricky just ran by the guy.”
Sanders: “It was a fade route. When they press us we go just down the sideline and Doug reads (the coverage). They went to a filter free. That means the cornerback has me one-on-one, so Doug knew that and threw the pass where it had to go. It was just a hitch route.”
And, Bugel said, Williams’ 27-yard pass to Clark that put the Redskins on top, 14-10, was the “exact same play. He has a choice to go to Sanders or Clark on that.”
Clark: “Doug Williams was just on the mark today. He was hitting everybody, no matter what you do. All the dropped passes were the receivers’ fault. He was throwing it right in there.”
And then they wrote . . . COUNTER GAP:
“We thought for us to be successful, we had to run that play a minimum of 15 times,” Bugel said. “I think we accomplished that.”
The most impressive instance was Smith’s 58-yard sprint around right end: 21-10.
“(Tackle) Joe Jacoby and (guard) Raleigh McKenzie gave me good blocks and I busted it outside,” Smith said. “I saw a tight squeeze that made me go inside, then cut back out, and their defensive backs had their hands full with our wide receivers to make it easier to run after I got through the line.”
That was followed by a snappy rendition of . . . DOUBLE PUMP:
Another routine play that Williams and Sanders turned into a 50-yard explosion: 28-10.
“It was just a run-pass,” Sanders said. “They fake it to the running back, the strong safety (Dennis Smith) comes up to make the tackle and I get behind him.”
And then it was time to . . . SCRAM:
That’s what they call the pass Williams threw eight yards to tight end Clint Didier 1:04 before halftime to make it 35-10.
“He was the primary receiver, with Ricky Sanders right behind him,” Bugel said. “If they cover Didier, we just throw a short pass to Sanders.”
A perfect day? Not quite. Only a perfect quarter.
On the Redskins’ opening play, Clark dropped an easy sideline pass from Williams.
“I saw the ball and was waiting for it to come down,” he said. “It was a blitz on Doug and he had to get rid of it fast as he could, and all I could see was the open sideline. Nothin’ there but me and the ball, and I just took my eye off the ball too quick.”
Cornerback Barry Wilburn also went into the second quarter seeking redemption.
He was the guy who got scorched when Elway passed 56 yards to Ricky Nattiel for a 7-0 lead on the Broncos’ first play of the game.
“We were playing a zone and I had the outside third (of the field) and Todd (Bowles) had the middle third,” Wilburn said. “Elway did a good job of looking us off. He looked at (opposite cornerback) Darrell (Green) the whole way, and I was pretty much relaxed. I wasn’t running with (Nattiel).
“I think he knew it. When he blew by I just saw him flash by me and the next thing I knew the ball was in the air and he was behind me.
“My thought was to get that seven points back. I told everybody, ‘I’m gonna pick off a bomb or get a fumble or something.’ I gave that up personally. I wasn’t gonna let them get into the end zone again on me. I didn’t even want them to catch another ball on me.”
Late in the quarter, with the Redskins leading 28-10, he outjumped Nattiel at the Redskins’ 21-yard line to snuff the Broncos’ comeback hopes.
“I didn’t even know who it was out there,” Wilburn said. “It didn’t make any difference. They didn’t get anything on our defense. They got seven points on me.”
Clark tried to analyze the spree.
“We were clicking,” he said. “Every time we touched the football we scored. The guys would say, ‘Let’s go, let’s go, we’ve only played a half of football. Don’t have no letdown.’
“This is a game everybody dreams about playing, and when everything clicks in this game the feeling is just--I mean, you’re bubbling on the sideline and you get an energy you never thought you had before.
“That’s what happened. Everything was clicking and we were making plays, the line was blocking and the defense kept playing steady.”
Sanders: “I always dreamed of a day like this. I always watched the Super Bowl and the super receivers like Lynn Swann, and to break his record is a lifetime dream.
“When you start running the ball, it automatically opens up the passing game. Timmy Smith was running well, and the offensive line was giving him holes. I have to give it to the offensive line for protecting Doug.”
“All these plays are kind of off-the-shelf type plays, the plays we run all year. We just turned it over to the players.”
And what players they were--for 15 minutes the best the Super Bowl had ever seen.
Williams was their leader, but there was a frightening moment near the end of the first quarter when they thought they’d lost him.
The Redskins trailed, 10-0, when he slipped on a divot, fell and hurt his right knee. Jay Schroeder, once the starter, had to come in to finish the series.
“When Doug got injured, he’s never gonna sit on the sideline, even if his arm was hanging off,” Sanders said. “He’s gonna come back. He’s a fighter.”
WHAT A SECOND QUARTER!
Elapsed Time Play Score 0:53 Williams, 80 pass to Sanders Denver, 10-7 2:44 Williams, 27 pass to Clark Washington, 14-10 8:33 Smith, 58 run Washington, 21-10 11:18 Williams, 50 pass to Sanders Washington, 28-10 13:56 Williams, 8 pass to Didier Washington, 35-10
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