Redskins Outclass Cowboys, 26-3, Gain Super Bowl Match With Miami
By George Solomon and Paul Attner
The Washington Redskins found deliverance yesterday.
Playing with intense ferocity, they simply smashed the Dallas Cowboys, 26-3, to gain the National Football Conference championship and a trip to the Super Bow in Los Angeles Jan. 14.
Deprived of a championship for the last 30 years, the Redskins outclassed, outfought and outran the defending world champions before 53,129 spectators at RFK Stadium.
The Redskins, who won the NFC Eastern Division with an 11-3 record, will meet the AFC champion Miami Dolphins, 16-0, for the Nationa1 Football League championship.
On a gray but surprisingly warm afternoon, the Redskins spread sunshine all over this long-losing town. Bill Kilmer threw two touchdown passes to Charley Taylor and regular-season whipping boy Curt Knight kicked a playoff record four field goals without a miss.
'I'he Redskins defense confronted by quarterback Roger Staubach, held the Dallas offense to eight first downs and 169 yards. The Redskins hammered Staubach to the soggy turf six times as he attempted to pass.
Staubach, who led the Cowboys past Miami in the last Super Bowl and suffered a shoulder injury in August, was called on nine days ago with the Cowboys trailing San Francisco, 28-13, late in the fourth period. He produced a 30-28 victory and earned the starting job over Craig Morton for the showdown against Washington.
Staubach produced no miracles yesterday.
Led by Diron Talbert, Verlon Biggs, Ron McDole, Jack Pardee, Myron Pottlos and Manny Sistrunk, Washington defenders chased Staubach all over RFK Stadium and often caught him. .
When Staubach handed off, his runners found the path equally sticky. Calvin Hill gained 52 yards on nine carries and Walt Garrison only 15 on seven attempts.
The Redskins, who lived by Larry Brown's legs for 15 weeks, changed their operation slightly, Kilmer went skyward to exploit Taylor's mastery over left cornerback Charlie Waters and his replacement, Mark Washington.
In the second quarter, with the Redskins ahead 3-0, Kilmer zinged a perfect 15-yard touchdown pass to Taylor, who had whipped Waters on a slant inside.
Early in the fourth quarter, with the Redskins trying to increase a shaky 10-3 lead, Kilmer threw perhaps his finest pass of the year. The 45-yard bomb went to Taylor at the goal line after Taylor had beaten Mark Washington on a straight fly-pattern.
Overlooked by many all-star selectors, Kilmer saved his best effort for the title game. He completed 14 of 18 passes for 194 yards, while Staubach was 9-for-20 and 98 yards.
When Taylor crossed the goal, with 14:12 left to play, the Redskins had a 16-3 lead and Washingtonians began their New Year's celebrations.
The only unfinished business was Knight's extra-point kick and his field goals of 39, 46 and 45 yards. During the regular season, Knight had missed 16 of 30 field goal tries.
Knight's four field goals, including an 18-yarder in the second period, broke the NFC playoff record he and Dallas' Toni Fritsch set in the first playoff round. Fritsch kicked three against San Francisco, and Knight was 3-for-3 in the 16-3 victory over Green Bay here. .
When the game ended, hundreds of fans stormed the field to scream as coach George Allen was carried triumphantly to the Redskins' dugout entrance to the locker room,.
Allen, fired by the Los Angeles Rams two years ago, now returns to California to coach a Redskin team in the Super Bow. Prior to Allen's arrival, Washington had only three winning teams in the past 17 years.
The Cowboys, who split two regular-season games with the Redskins and reached the playoffs as the wild-card team, looked for inspiration from Staubach and all-pro defensive tackle Bob Lilly.
But inspiration was tough to find on the Dallas side.
The Redskins took control after the opening kickoff by marching steadily from their own 20 to the Dallas 37.
But the Cowboys' Cliff Harris recovered Larry Brown's fumble on the 30 after Kilmer threw what appeared to be a first-down strike to Brown, who bobbled the ball.
While the Redskins proved they could gain yardage, the Cowboys were stifled.
Late in the first period, Brown and Charley Harraway began heating up and, with Kilmer mixing plays nicely, the Redskins drove to the Dallas 11.
The Cowboys held, and the revived Knight trotted confidently onto the field to ram through the 18-yarder for a 3-0 lead with 9 45 left in the second quarter.
Minutes later, Kilmer tested Waters, a third-year back who lost his starting job when burned by Roy Jefferson in Dallas a year ago. Taylor bolted past Waters, and Kilmer dropped a 51-yard pass in Taylor's hands at the Dallas 21.
Three snaps later, from the 15, Taylor nudged inside Waters on a slant to catch Kilmer's touchdown pass with 5 33 left in the half. The Redskins led, 10-0, after Knight's conversion.
Until that time, the Cowboys had no first downs. But, on the first play after the kickoff, Talbert was called for roughing Staubach, and Dallas had a first down at its 32. Staubach then sent his backs left and sprinted right for 29 yards to the Redskins' 39.
But the Redskins held and Dallas scored on Fritsch's 35-yard field goal, which hit the left upright and bounced through.
Two minutes later, Fritsch's luck turned. His 23-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first half was wide left, and the Redskins led at halftime, 10-3.
Since he joined the Cowboys a year ago, Fritsch had not missed in 15 field-goa1 tries inside the 30-yard line.
Dallas was down on its luck in the third quarter, too.
The Redskins faced third-and-two at their 31. Kilmer fumbled the center snap and, with the ball bouncing toward the Redskins goal, two Cowboys made desperate lunges.
But Jerry Smith, who did not catch a pass, recovered on the Washington 18.
Later in the third quarter, the Redskins moved for the kill in a drive from their own 22. Brown, who totaled 88 yards in 30 carries, did some creditable legwork as the Redskins advanced to their 48.
On third and six Kilmer threw to Taylor, who made a sensational catch at the Dallas 45 as Clark Washington hung on like a drape.
Brown gained five on the final play of the period, then lost five to open the final quarter, and Kilmer again launched Taylor at Clark Washington.
Taylor struggled past linebacker D. D. Lewis beyond the line and bolted past Washington. Kilmer threw over Washington and Taylor never broke stride in taking the pass into the end zone.
Knight's conversion kick pushed the Redskins ahead, 17-3, mere seconds into the final period.
Staubach, fighting a determined charge by the Redskins, tried to crank up a rally after Knight's kickoff was returned to the Dallas 15.
An illegal-motion penalty nullified Staubach's eight-yard scramble on first down, and Garrison gained eight before a pass-interference penalty gave Dallas a first down at the 31.
On first down, linebacker Chris Hanburger sacked Staubach at the 23 and, on second down, Hill fumbled Staubach's swing pass while falling forward and Ron McDole recovered at the Dallas 38, the Cowboys' furthest advance of the second half.
Four plays later Knight ran up the white flag for Dallas, by kicking his 39-yarder with 10 21 left and increasing the lead to 20-3.
On the next series, Staubach was sacked once for a 10-yard loss, before Garrison was stopped for no gain and Hanburger broke up a pass. Marv Bateman's 35-yard punt set up Knight's field goal from 46 yards with 6:13 left, for a 23-3 lead.
Staubach again was thrown for a loss on first down, then hit Billy Parks for 21 yards and Hill for eight before three incompletions,. the last on fourth down at the Dallas 38.
After two rushes by Brown and one by Harraway, Knight added his final field goal, from the 45 with 1:16 left. .
On the sidelines, Charley Taylor, who had seven receptions for 146 yards, grabbed center Len Hauss by the shoulder pads and the two seemed to stare at each other for 10 seconds. In years of service, Hauss and Taylor have been with the Redskins longest — nine years.
Many of these years were lean and dry. But now, with people in the stands singing "Amen" and a town going crazy, the Redskins finally were off to the Super Bowl.