Redskins Need Kick to Beat Steelers
Doug Williams passed for more yards in a game than any Washington Redskins quarterback since Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh, but he didn’t seem impressed.
Williams had 430 yards Sunday, but Washington needed Chip Lohmiller’s 19-yard field goal with 12 seconds left to get a 30-29 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“We won,” Williams said. “I think that’s the bottom line.”
Baugh had 446 yards against the New York Yankees in 1948.
Williams passed for 2 touchdowns and rallied the Redskins (1-1) from a 29-20 deficit in the fourth quarter.
“We had a chance to make some big plays,” Redskin Coach Joe Gibbs said. “I think Doug in the first half was probably off on some of those. In the fourth quarter when we had to have it, he got sharp as a tack and he gave us some big plays.”
Williams completed a 7-yard scoring pass to running back Kelvin Bryant with 4:48 left in the game, capping a 74-yard drive to bring the Redskins to within 29-27.
Washington linebacker Mel Kaufman made a blind-side hit on Pittsburgh quarterback Bubby Brister to force an incomplete pass on third and 8, forcing the Steelers (1-1) to punt. Taking the ball with 2:58 left, Williams drove the Redskins 43 yards in 10 plays, setting up Lohmiller’s kick.
Lohmiller, who also kicked field goals of 37 and 46 yards but missed a 35-yard attempt, was the Redskins’ top draft pick in 1988 and beat out veterans Ali Haji-Sheikh and Jess Atkinson for the job.
Williams’ recorded his first regular-season victory as a starter since 1982 with Tampa Bay. Williams was 0-3 as Redskin starter outside of the playoffs.
Williams completed 30 of 52 passes, with 1 interception. His two scoring passes were to Bryant and a 55-yard play to Sanders. Williams guided Washington to 515 yards in total offense.
In his eight-year NFL career, Williams exceeded 430 yards passing only once, with 486 yards against Minnesota on Nov. 16, 1980, while playing for Tampa Bay. He narrowly missed Baugh’s passing record (set Oct. 31, 1948) and was five short of the club record for single-game attempts, set by Jay Schroeder Dec. 1, 1985, versus San Francisco.
“I had confidence in the first half--it’s just that the ball wasn’t falling the way I wanted it to fall,” Williams said. “It’s just a matter of concentrating.”
Brister completed 12 of 28 passes for 258 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Steelers led much of the game.
“It was very frustrating to come so close and have one taken away from you,” Brister said. “They may be the Super Bowl champions, but we didn’t care. We knew we could play with them.”
Lupe Sanchez recovered Washington rookie Mike Oliphant’s fumble of the opening kickoff of the second half. Brister went over three defenders to score on a 6-yard bootleg 5 plays later. Gary Anderson did not get off the kick following a bad snap, leaving the Steelers ahead, 19-10.
Washington’s Darryl Grant recovered a fumble by Earnest Jackson at the Washington 21, then Williams passed for 58 yards to Terry Orr. That led to Jamie Morris’ 1-yard touchdown run to trim Pittsburgh’s lead to 19-17 with 3:03 left in the third quarter.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, Brister passed over the middle to running back Dwight Stone, who shook free of linebacker Wilber Marshall, got a key block from Charles Lockett to score down the left sideline for a 26-20 lead 31 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Darin Jordan recovered Williams’ fumbled snap at the Redskins’ 47. Seven plays later, Anderson kicked a 43-yard field goal to boost the Steelers to a 29-20 lead with 9:29 left.