Yesterday’s 51-45 win by the Arizona Cardinals over the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs brought back memories of another high scoring game the Packers were involved in a quarter-century ago.
On October 17, 1983, the Packers beat the Washington Redskins, 48-47 in the highest scoring game in Monday Night Football history. It was a game that featured the most prolific scoring offense in the NFL at the time. The Redskins finished that season scoring 541 points, then an NFL record.
The two games had a lot of similarities and some differences. Yesterday’s game had 96 points; 26 years ago the Packers and the Skins scored 95. That game resulted in 1025 total yards while yesterday’s battle had 1024 yards of offense.
While yesterday’s game featured a big comeback as the Packers tied it at 38 and 45 after being down by 21, the 1983 contest featured five lead changes in the final period.
Aaron Rodgers set a Green Bay playoff record with 422 yards passing, connecting on 28 of 42 attempts for four touchdowns. So Rodgers, not Brett Favre, owns the Packers record for most passing yards in playoff game. Even more impressive was that Kurt Warner, playing against the NFL’s second-ranked defense and without starter Anquan Boldin, was 29 of 33 for 379 yards with five TDs and no interceptions.
In 1983, Washington’s Joe Theismann completed 27 of 39 passes for 398 yards, two TDs, and no interceptions. Green Bay’s Lynn Dickey completed 22 of 30 passes for 387 yards and three TDs.
Each game had one team with a great rushing attack. The Cardinals had 156 yards on the ground. The Redskins rushed for 184.
Interestingly, Russ Grimm was a part of both games. The former Redskins guard is an assistant coach with the Cardinals. Grimm is a future Hall of Famer and a future NFL head coach.
After the game, Theismann said, “It never stopped. Grimm said ‘Let’s go.’ I said ‘Why? We just scored.’ And he said ‘So did they.’”
After yesterday’s game, Warner said, “Whew. Anybody else tired?”
Neil Rackers missed a 34-yard field goal at the end of regulation that would have won the game for Arizona.
Mark Moseley missed a 39-yarder with three seconds to go that would have won the game for Washington.
Washington won its next 9 games to finish 14-2, two points away from a perfect 16-0 record. However, the Skins peaked in the first round of the playoffs during a 51-7 win over the Rams, and Washington got crushed in the Super Bowl by the Raiders, 38-9. Giving up 48 points in a single game should have been a sign of things to come.
Likewise, it’s hard to imagine the Cardinals winning the Super Bowl after giving up 45 points in a playoff game.
The offensive performance may have been more impressive in 1983, because offensive statistics are up dramatically from where they were then.
The Skins-Packers game featured four future Hall of Famers: John Riggins (98 yards, two TDs), Art Monk (five catches for 105 yards), Darrell Green, and Grimm (well, Grimm should be in and will probably make it this year). Yesterday’s contest featured a lock for the HOF in Warner, a probable Hall of Famer in Larry Fitzgerald (six catches for 82 yards and two TDs, and other great players like Darnell Dockett of Arizona and Rodgers and Charles Woodson of Green Bay. The 1983 game featured a player who would be named MVP that season (Theismann). Yesterday’s game featured a past NFL MVP (Warner).
(Theismann was NFL MVP in 1983. He has the same number of MVP awards as Dan Marino, John Elway, and Tom Brady (1). Theismann was better than Joe Montana that year and that’s a fact. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to admit it is a fact.)
One of the things I remember most about the 1983 game was the missed field goal by Moseley at the end, because it was so uncharacteristic of him and because if he had made it the ending would have been so great. I also remember thinking that a great team shouldn’t give up 47 points. Because the Skins’ weakness was pass defense, they nicknamed themselves the Pearl Harbor Crew, because they were always being bombed. Green was a rookie, Vernon Dean was a solid corner but not overly fast, and Curtis Jordan was a slow safety. Charles Mann would become a great pass rusher but he was only a rookie too.
The thing I remember most about yesterdays game was Warner’s surgical prescision. He just wouldn’t miss. And I thought that it was a shame that the Packers didn’t go farther than the Vikings this year, though I think most Green Bay fans would be very happy with Rodgers’ year and performance yesterday.
||2010: Arizona 51,
Green Bay 45
|1983: Green Bay 48, Washington 47
|Final Field Goal Attempt
||Neil Rackers, 34-yard miss as time expired
||Mark Moseley, 39-yard miss with :03 left
|Winning QB Stats
||Warner: 29-33, 379 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT
||Dickey: 22-30, 387 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
|Losing QB Stats
||Rodgers: 28-42, 422 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT
||Theismann: 27-39, 398 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT
||Two comebacks by Packers from 21 down
||5 lead changes in 4th quarter
||Warner: “Whew. Anybody else tired?”
||Theismann: “It never stopped. Grimm said ‘Let’s go.’ I said ‘Why? We just scored.’ And he said ‘So did they.’”
|Hall of Famers
||Warner (lock), Fitzgerald (probable), Rodgers (maybe), Charles Woodson (maybe)
||John Riggins, Art Monk, Darrell Green, Grimm (probable)
|Russ Grimm’s role
||Cardinals Assistant Coach
||Redskins Pro Bowl Guard
|Did the game feature an NFL MVP?
||Yes: Warner (1999, 2001)
||Yes: Theismann (1983)