If the Redskins had any hope left, Marcus Allen, who had touchdown runs of 5 yards and 74 yards, erased it. The 74-yard touchdown run, part of Allen's 191-yard day, set a Super Bowl record. It came on the last play of the third quarter. The fourth quarter was unnecessary.
That 38-9 Super Bowl rout shocked the Redskins. "Being there is not the reward," Bostic said. "It is more painful to lose a Super Bowl than it is joyous and gratifying to win one. I don't know how Buffalo could stand losing four Super Bowls."
The next year, with an 11-5 season, the Redskins still had the best record among NFC East teams. Monk caught an NFL-record 106 passes, and Riggins gained 1,239 yards. But the offensive line suffered from injuries Bostic tore three of four ligaments to end a streak of 48 straight starts and George Starke was in his last season at right tackle. The Redskins got a bye but then lost to the Bears, 23-19, on December 30, 1984, at RFK, the only home playoff loss in Gibbs' 12-year career.
The 1985 season signaled the end of one winning era and the building of another. The team finished 10-6, leaving it out of the playoffs for the first time since 1981. And when the season was done, so were the playing careers of Riggins and Theismann.
Riggins was 36 when the 1985 regular season began. But in April the team had traded its first-round pick to New Orleans for 26-year-old running back George Rogers and three other picks. The tenth-round and eleventh- round picks were used to add tight end Terry Orr and offensive linemen Raleigh McKenzie, both of whom would be members of the last two Redskins Super Bowl teams.
Riggins started 11 games that season, but Rogers got more and more of the work. By season's end, Riggins had 677 yards on 176 carries, while Rogers had 1,093 yards on 231 carries.
"I would make more mistakes keeping people than getting rid of them early," Gibbs said. "In Riggins' case, I pretty much had to tell him."
With Theismann the decision was less difficult for Gibbs but it was terribly painful for Theismann, as anyone watching the Monday night game of November 18 could see. The mediocre Redskins (5-5) were playing the surging Giants (7-3) at RFK Stadium.