The Washington Redskins survived fumbles, two missed field goals and official calls nullifying three touchdowns yesterday to rally from a 17-point deficit and beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 27-24, keeping alive their wild-card National Football League playoff hopes.
To make the playoffs, the Redskins, now 9-6, must beat the Cardinals in St. Louis on Saturday, then hope that either the San Francisco 49ers or New York Giants, both also 9-6, lose in the final game of the season. The 49ers play the Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco on Sunday, and the Giants play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Giants Stadium on Saturday. The Cowboys clinched the NFC East title yesterday by beating the Giants, 28-21.
The Redskins' final margin of victory came on a 34-yard run up the middle by George Rogers with 7:25 left in the fourth quarter. The Redskins, who had trailed by 24-7 less than two minutes into the second quarter, scored 20 straight points.
The Bengals had a chance to tie the game with seven seconds left, but Jim Breech's 51-yard field goal attempt was wide. On the previous play, on third down and five from the Redskins' 21, linebacker Rich Milot had sacked Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason for a 12-yard loss.
The Redskins prevailed even though quarterback Jay Schroeder, who suffered a cracked rib last week against Philadelphia, was playing in obvious pain as he absorbed several wicked hits by Bengals defenders. He completed 18 of 35 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown, aiming mostly at wide receiver Art Monk.
Monk set single-game team records for catches (13) and receiving yardage (230).