51 for LI: Skinning The Broncos In Super Bowl XXII
[lead align=”default”]With three weeks and a day until Super Bowl LI, our countdown is in 22, as in Super Bowl XXII.[/lead]
The season may have been short a game because of a strike, but they didn’t have to cancel their championship like baseball did in 1994. This contest between the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos had one team that won a title already, and another that would have to endure more suffering before getting theirs. Denver won a Super Bowl on their fifth try, but the 1987 season was not it.
Super Bowl XXII: 1987 Washington Redskins
Washington got back to the top of the NFC East in 1987, following up the New York Giants. Their 11-4 record got them the number three seed in the NFC, which back then meant a first-round bye. The Skins visited Chicago in the first round, and defeated the Bears 21-17 at Soldier Field. In the NFC Championship, they vanquished the Minnesota Vikings.
Doug Williams, the quarterback pressed into action mid-season, started just two regular season games for Washington. Among his feats that year, aside from being named Super Bowl MVP, were 11 touchdowns and a 94.0 passer rating. In the playoffs, he threw seven touchdown passes and only two picks.
The Redskins defense was just as good that year, coming in sixth in the NFL in points per game.
Super Bowl XXII: 1987 Denver Broncos
The Broncos, Super Bowl losers the year before, got back to the biggest stage in 1987. A 10-4-1 team, they won the AFC West. Further, John Elway was on his way to an MVP season.
11 wins didn’t get the Redskins the one seed in the NFC, but 10 got it for Denver in the AFC. Denver’s divisional game against the Houston Oilers was a ho-hum 34-10 blowout, but the game against Cleveland was much better at 38-33. This was just one year after Elway mounted “The Drive,” but it did have “The Fumble,” in which Cleveland’s Earnest Byner famously fumbled at the Denver 2 late in the game. The Brownies couldn’t turn the tables at Mile High Stadium.
Super Bowl XXII: The Game
If you missed the second quarter, you missed basically the entire game. In the event you somehow saw only quarters one, three, and four, it was a tight contest.
Down 10-0 after the first quarter, the Redskins piled on 35 points in the second frame to take a 35-10 lead into halftime. As a matter of fact, Elway and Denver did not score again, letting Washington close with 42 unanswered. The Broncos were a slight Vegas favorite in this game, for whatever that’s worth.
Washington won their franchise’s second Super Bowl that night.