This is a 21 part fictionalized story about my beloved football team's quest for the mythical Super Bowl Three-peat.
Chapter 5 - Boston Cuisine
Murphy’s Law was the hottest new restaurant in Boston during our visit that day. From the looks on the menu, I had wished we had gone somewhere else. As a rule, I seldom want anything complicated when it comes to dinner, which was why Maureen and I exchanged looks above our menu when the waiter, Rodney, shattered us with the details.
“Goose liver sautéed with what?” I asked Rodney.
“Xéres,” he answered. “Goose liver sautéed in Xéres, a delicately seasoned quail, and wonderfully flavored medallions of lobster.”
“What’s your chef trying to get rid of tonight?” Maureen asked.
Rodney looked at the ceiling trying to recall the specials, “We're specializing on the monkfish and the scallop mousse with dill and fennel. As for the casserole, it’s complemented with snails and chanterelles, or perhaps the turbot with green peppercorns.”
When asked about the lamb, he said solemnly, “We coat it in breadcrumbs. But you should try the escargot wrapped in chicken breast. Or I can get you the venison. It comes with pears and creamed spinach on a puff pastry with poivrade sauce.”
Maureen asked about the duck. He yawned and continued, “Our duck is very popular. We smother it with papaya, blueberry, and kiwi remoulade. We also have a steak tartare…”
“I’ll tell you what,” I interrupted, “I’ll take the steak tartare, but I want your chef to put it on a griddle and sizzle it to welldone. Take a couple of bread and wrap it around the steak tartare. Add some fries on the plate, then bring me two more Scotch and a cup of coffee on the side.”
“Me too,” Maureen added, “But make my Scotch a Jameson.”
The waiter performed an indignant pirouette and evaporated from our sight.
Redskins Take All The Time to Win, 26-10.
By Fidel Andrada
October 6 - The Washington Redskins have long figured that the safest, surest way to victory is to hand the ball to John Riggins.
Today, the Redskins played it safe and sure 33 times. And Riggins, the aging fullback with the sprained lower back, ran for 140 yards and one touchdown to break the 3-game winning streak of the New England Patriots, 26-10.
And to think, entering the game the Patriots (3-2) had the league's top-rated rush defense, allowing just 68 yards per game.
"We just kept running the same play over and over, the nationally famous '50-Gut' . . . This was reminiscent of the Super Bowl (two years ago)," Riggins said.
Today, the Redskins rushed for 235 yards in 54 attempts, the most rushing yards they've had since the 246 in their first Super Bowl win.
Today's game, in which the Redskins (5-0) built a 20-0 lead in the third quarter, was similar to that Super Bowl in another way: their defense also dominated.
The Patriots entered the game averaging 170 yards rushing. Today, they got 17 yards on 11 carries. New England was hammered and humbled by a run defense led by all-pro tackle Dave Butz and middle linebacker Neal Olkewicz. Well-devised blitzes by the Redskins left young quarterback Tony Eason sacked (four times) and confused. And the Redskins' offense had possession for 43 minutes of the game's 60 minutes.
"I thought Tony did an adequate job," was all Patriots Coach Ron Meyer would say of his first-time starter.
However, the Redskins' merriment was muted by injury. Running back Joe Washington (20 carries for 70 yards) sprained his left knee. While Tyer said this injury did not appear serious ("Just a twist," he said). This injury coupled with Riggin’s lower back sprain was a big concern to Coach Gibbs and other players.
Tight end Rick Walker said, "When Riggo didn't have the ball, we could tell he was in a little pain."
The Redskins held a 10-0 halftime lead. Riggins opened the scoring with a 13-yard run with 2:04 left in the first quarter. Riggins also broke Larry Brown's club record for career rushing yards today.
And Mark Moseley kicked four field goals, from 19 yards, 42, 22 and 27. The last field goal moved him past Gino Cappelletti into seventh place on the league's all-time scoring list, with 1,136 points.
The Score Could Have Been Worse
In all honesty, the Redskins should have led by more than 10 points at the half. Four plays sabotaged their offense, all during the second quarter.
First, the Redskins failed to score a touchdown after reaching second and goal at the New England one. Twice in a row, linebacker Ed Reynolds held Riggins for no gain. So Moseley kicked his 19-yarder to make it 10-0 with 6:34 left in the half.
On the next drive, the Redskins felt cheated when New England's often-victimized cornerback, Ronnie Lippett, was not cited for pass interference on an incomplete pass to wide receiver Charlie Brown. Lippett tripped Brown, as quarterback Joe Theismann's deep pass sailed just overhead, near the New England 25. Initially, a penalty flag was dropped. Then it was picked up by an official and the Redskins punted.
"A flag for defensive interference was thrown. We then had a conference and unanimously agreed that the ball could not have been caught. Therefore, we picked up the flag and ruled the pass incomplete," referee Pat Haggerty said. Brown said the flight of the pass was altered by a strong wind, but that he could have caught it.
The Road to the Super Bowl will Run Through Grimm and Jacoby
One final Redskins scoring chance was botched when an apparent 43-yard pass play, from Theismann to wide receiver Art Monk that took the ball to the New England three, was nullified by a holding call against right tackle George Starke. Again, the Redskins punted.
In the end, of course, none of this mattered. The Redskins started the game with sly, misdirection plays -- then went to their "Guts."
"Their (defensive ends) were playing tight. I was sitting on the sideline with Riggo during the first quarter and I said, 'We ought to go to the 'Guts', take it inside,' " said all-pro left tackle Joe Jacoby. "John went up and told the coaches and we started with the 'Guts.' "
In the '70s, Bum Phillips once said that the road to the Super Bowl ran through Pittsburgh. In the '80s, the Redskins figured that the road to the Super Bowl runs through Grimm and Jacoby.
The Redskins opened the third quarter by running Riggins six straight times, mostly on '50-Gut,' which takes Riggins left, between Grimm and Jacoby. This tactic led to another field goal and a 13-0 lead.
Three plays later, linebacker Coleman blitzed from the right side and caused a rare football hat trick: in one fell swoop, Coleman sacked Eason, caused him to fumble and recovered the ball at the New England 15.
As quick as it takes to say, 'What happened?' it was 20-0. On the next play, Brown curled over the middle from the right side and caught a 15-yard scoring pass from Theismann.
The President Doesn't Call at Week 5
"I thought we had (Eason) shook after the first series," said free safety Curtis Jordan, who caused a first-quarter fumble. Eason completed 21 of 31 for 254 yards.
Late in the third quarter, Eason hit wide receiver Stephen Starring for a 38-yard touchdown pass. Cornerback Darrell Green covered Starring closely, but not closely enough, and it was 20-7.
Once again, though, the Redskins proceeded on a scoring drive that swallowed 5:25, alternating runs up the middle by Riggins and Washington. Even though the Redskins' offense had trouble scoring touchdowns, it mattered not at all. Moseley kicked a 22-yarder and the lead was back to 23-7 at the end of the third quarter.
One week ago, Eason replaced ineffective veteran Steve Grogan late in the first half. Eason reversed a 23-0 deficit into a 38-23 victory over Seattle, elating Patriots fans throughout Boston.
But today, boos floated across the first sellout in this stadium since 1981 when the Patriots opted to let Tony Franklin kick a 22-yard field goal (making it 23-10) instead of taking on a fourth-and-one chance from the Redskins' five. Twelve minutes still remained.
Then, for one last time, the Redskins spun Riggins' truck wheels. Safe and sure, they were off on a 16-play, 70-yard drive that consumed more than 10 minutes. By the time Moseley's last field goal (27 yards) sailed through, the lead was 26-10 and just 1:57 remained.
Gibbs addressed the press, standing atop a chair in the locker room. A pay telephone was nearby and a reporter handed the receiver to Gibbs, jesting that the president was on the line. "The President doesn't call at week 5," Gibbs said, allowing a smile to escape.
The truth is, Gibbs added an incentive clause to his players for this game. "He said if we outrushed them and won the game that we could get two off days," said Grimm. With a smile, he walked out the locker room door, saying, "See you Wednesday."
- My Tale of Perfection - VII
Chapter 6: Groundhog Day for the Cardinals