After the loss to the Giants and another to Denver, the Redskins trailed 14-0 at halftime in the regular-season finale in Philadelphia. Gibbs was not prone to locker room tantrums, but this time he overturned a table in anger. In the second half, the Redkins scored 21 points to win.
The Redskins beat the Rams, 19-7, and then the Bears, 27-13, in Chicago in the first two playoff games. That set up another matchup with the Giants this time for a trip to the Super Bowl.
But the change in stakes had little effect. The Giants dominated again. Taylor was a force against the Redskins from his outside linebacker spot, but the whole Giant defense stuffed the Redskins' rushing attack. Rogers gained only 15 yards on nine carries, and Kelvin Bryant had just 25 yards on six runs. The dismal result was a 17-0 Redskins loss. Gibbs coached the Redskins for 205 regular season and playoff games over 12 years. That defeat, on January 11, 1987, was the only time his team was shut out.
There is nothing like a quarterback controversy to stir things up. Doug Williams or Jay Schroeder? That was the choice at the start of 1987. And the relationship between the two was, at best, chilly.
Schroeder seemed to be the future of the Redskins. He certainly thought so. "Jay was not the most well-liked guy on the team, black or white," Williams said from his head-coaching office at Morehouse College. "He was an arrogant young man."
Gibbs was, of course, familiar with Williams from his Tampa Bay days. Despite the fact that Williams was the best thing to happen to the Bucaneers, they had treated him poorly after he took them to the conference finals in 1979. So he took a year off and then played two years in the U.S. Football League before that league folded.
NFL teams did not call much, but he had more important things to worry about. In April of 1983, his wife was found to have a brain tumor. She died a week later, leaving Williams with their 3-month-old daughter.
Knowing Williams' talents, Gibbs in 1986 had talked Jack Kent Cooke into signing him, even if Williams cost $400,000 or more, which was a lot for a backup quarterback then. "A lot of owners would have said, 'You're crazy. We're not paying that for a backup, so go get somebody else,' " Gibbs said. "I was so fortunate to have him as an owner."
Williams had thrown only one pass in 1986, but Cooke's investment paid off quickly in 1987. Schroeder sprained his shoulder in the season opener, and Williams came off the bench to throw for 272 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-24 win over the Eagles.