This is a 21 part fictionalized story about my beloved football team's quest for the mythical Super Bowl Three-peat.
Chapter 4: What to Wear in L.A.
The cab ride from LAX to the Westwood Marquis gave me sufficient time to dwell on the fact that the people who spoke no more than ten words of English were now driving as many cabs in Los Angeles as they were in downtown DC. My driver acted as if he knew right where the hotel was, but instead insisted on getting lost in a maze of side streets and trying to recover by plodding his way along arteries peppered with stoplights.
I didn’t complain about the meter going $10 over what it should have been. The driver was of indefinable origin, but I believed he had an Asian connection, and I knew he would be dead in a matter of months.
What to Wear in Public
Maureen was already in the suite when I checked in. She said she’d meet me at the bar when the front desk informed her I’d arrived. While in LA, Maureen and I had taken the precaution to wear conservative suits and dress outfits in public so as to not run the risk of being mistaken for someone in the entertainment industry.
Producers and directors wore sport coats with open-collared shirts unless they come directly from a location, in which case they might feature a scruffy ensemble that might entail a Western Costume or a foul-weather sailing jacket and a cap with a braided bill.
Hollywood writers leaned toward windbreakers and fatigue jackets, occasionally an old crew-neck sweater, although a writer had to be careful about the sweater and not have it thrust around the shoulders of the polo shirt like a junior studio executive.
Actors fell into the category of Formula One jackets, Dodger jackets, Laker jackets, Davis Cup jackets, anything sporting, with a two-day old growth of fuzz on their jaws and sunglasses atop their heads. The idea was to look virile, athletic, and working.
We drank and spoke about the upcoming game for a little over an hour. We might have left sooner if we hadn’t become enthralled with the conversations at the tables around us.
“Sidney’s got the biggest balls in Universal Studios. Superman’s ripe for a re-make. He’ll get Eddie Murphy as a villain in it.”
Maureen gave a light giggle as a yacht captain rushed in to join a young starlet.
“Sorry I’m late angel. My daughter got lost. My wife took her time getting ready for the gym. Everything’s okay now. You look terrific!”
Then, two deal-makers walked past our table, as one of them was saying:
“There’s no downside. I wouldn’t give you a downside. Did I ever give you a downside?”
Redskins Prove to be Unstoppable, 42-20
By Fidel Andrada
September 29 - You don’t have to be a fan of football in Washington to know that the Redskins' young season is already becoming a tidal wave.
Today, the Redskins knocked the glitter out of the Los Angeles Rams, 42-20, before 63,031 at Anaheim Stadium.
Clean and simple, Washington dismantled a first-place team, making the Rams (3-1) seem as easy to beat as St. Louis, Dallas, or the Colts. To these Redskins, foils come in all shapes and sizes.
The Redskins led by 29-6 at halftime, by 39-6 entering the fourth quarter, then rain and humiliation sent most of the spectators scurrying home.
Much later, Coach John Robinson apologized to the Rams' first sellout of the season.
And Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs, his team still undefeated with the league-best 4-0 record, said, "It was one of the most solid performances since I've been here."
A Masterpiece Blowout
The Redskins had so many brushstrokes in today's masterpiece blowout, perhaps the Smithsonian would want it framed in the National Art Gallery; maybe beside the goofy cube drawings Picasso painted during his cocaine years. But I digress.
Most impressively, they intercepted quarterback Vince Ferragamo four times and held running back Eric Dickerson, averaging a league-best 125 yards per game, to 37 yards on 12 carries.
"The run was there; we just fell behind so fast," said Dickerson, who ran just once --which lost three yards-- in the second half. "You can't run when you're behind."
"We knew coming into the game that the Rams would go where Dickerson goes," said linebacker Mel Kaufman of the Redskins. "I guess, today, Dickerson didn't go anywhere."
The Redskins outgained the Rams, 467 yards to 191. So efficient was the offense that Jeff Hayes didn't punt until less than two minutes remained. And again, the Washington special teams arranged for the victory: in the first half, the Redskins' average field position was their 42. The Rams' was their 21. Quarterback Joe Theismann threw for 239 yards and one touchdown. Wide receivers Charlie Brown (eight catches for 140 yards) and Art Monk (six for 94) provided the explosive devices and combined on a 46-yard pass-play off a first-quarter reverse that permanently swayed the game to Washington.
The Redskins Turned a 6-3 Deficit into a 29-6 Lead in the First Half
As the tidal wave mounts, this was certainly the Redskins' finest hour of the young season. They scored 26 points in less than one quarter's span in the first half and held a time of possession advantage of 38 minutes to 22.
The game turned entirely in Washington's favor in a three-minute segment beginning in the final minute of the first quarter. This is when Washington transformed a 6-3 deficit into a 19-6 lead with 12:18 left in the half.
The Los Angeles lead was created when Ferragamo threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end David Hill with 2:11 left in the first quarter. Rookie kicker Chuck Nelson missed the extra point, keeping the lead to three points.
Then came the Redskins' explosion: on first down at the Rams' 48 on the next drive, they turned to deception, working a reverse from Riggins to Monk, who ran from left to wide right.
Before reaching the line of scrimmage, Monk threw on the run, completing a 46-yard pass to Brown, who leaped over safety Johnnie Johnson to advance the ball to the Rams' two.
"Our guys on the sidelines were screaming, 'Reverse!' " Johnson said, "so I went up to play the run."
"We'd been practicing that play for five, six weeks," said Gibbs with an aw-shucks smile.
"I threw quite a few times at Syracuse but I don't think I completed any of them," said Monk, before adding, "No, I did complete one for 54 yards."
L.A.'s Confidence Began to Crumble as the Rout Grew
Two plays later, Riggins ran one yard for the touchdown that gave the Redskins a 10-6 lead with 10 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Redskins' momentum continued: three Rams plays later, Ferragamo threw a third-down pass toward wide receiver Preston Dennard, on the left side near the Rams' 28. The pass was behind Dennard. Cornerback Darryl Green intercepted, then fell forward to the 26.
On the next play, Theismann passed to Brown, who majestically curled over the middle at the Rams' nine. Cornerback Eric Harris hit him from behind as he caught the pass, but, still, Brown maintained his balance, pushed his fingertips to the ground to keep himself upright and ran in for the touchdown. The Redskins led, 17-6, with 14:03 left in the half.
Brown caught seven passes for 133 yards in the first half alone. Asked if it was his best half as a Redskin, he laughed and said, "Exactly. No question."
The Rams seemed in utter disarray. Their confidence began to crumble as the rout grew. On Los Angeles' next drive, veteran tackle Jackie Slater ran offsides. Defensive tackle Dave Butz smothered Ferragamo for a nine-yard loss to the Rams' 14. Next came a delay of game penalty.
On third and 27 from his nine, Ferragamo dropped back into the end zone. Defensive end Charles Mann sacked Ferragamo as the quarterback tried to throw the ball away while curling himself into a fetal position. When Mann peeled him off his jersey, Ferragamo was cited for intentional grounding.
The result was a safety and a 19-6 lead with 12:42 left in the half.
"I put an inside move on Slater," Mann said. "And I got him."
Riggins Being Riggins
The Redskins then took the punt necessitated by the safety and drove 61 yards in nine plays.
The drive finished with Riggins' second one-yard touchdown run. The lead was 26-6 with 8:59 left in the half. Not much sooner, the fans began to boo at their once undefeated team.
"It all happened so fast," said Ferragamo, who completed just eight of 20 passes for 100 yards. After throwing four interceptions, Ferragamo was replaced by Jeff Kemp in the third quarter. The graduate of Churchill High School in Potomac, Md., passed for the Rams' last touchdown.
The second half was moot. Mark Moseley kicked two more field goals, finishing four of six. Bob Holly replaced Theismann in the fourth quarter. The second-year quarterback lost two fumbles in the rain, the Rams scored two meaningless touchdowns and back came Theismann.
Riggins finished the day in theory. Though he ran for just 78 yards on 22 carries, this was a meaningful afternoon for him: he broke another league record (12 consecutive regular-season games with a rushing touchdown).
Riding the top of the wave, Riggins said in a smug, albeit truthful way, "We are a good enough team where we can play a waiting game and wait for the other team to self-destruct. The Rams did exactly that today.
"With the way the rules go now, it's really unfortunate. One team in our division will probably finish 12-4, the other 11-5. Then one team will win their division with a 9-7 record and will get the home-field advantage, while the 11-5 team is the wild card. That doesn't seem fair."
Yes. It’s only week 4, but remember that this team has won the last two Super Bowls and well, he’s John Riggins. The other team he mentioned is probably the Dallas Cowboys, who defeated the Kansas City Chiefs today, 41-21, and whose only loss came from the hands of Washington in week 2.
Continuing on Washington's sense of achievement, when asked to compare this game with others from the last two seasons, offensive tackle George Starke said with prideful pomp, "When you play so many great games, it's hard to tell which one is the best."
Chapter 5 - Boston Cuisine & the New England Patriots
- My Tale of Perfection - VI
Today's game, in which the Redskins (5-0) built a 20-0 lead in the third quarter, was similar to their first Super Bowl in another way: their defense also dominated.