Jack Kent Cooke, the majority owner of the Redskins, hired Joe Gibbs as coach last January with the hope that Gibbs would add some pizazz to Washington's offense. If statistics are a yardstick, Gibbs has fulfilled his assignment.
Gibbs' first Redskin offense has set a team record for total yards in a season with 5,121, breaking the mark of 4,977 established in 1967. And, over the past 31 years, only that 1967 Redskin team had better offensive averages than this current squad.
The 1967 team averaged 355 yards a game, mainly because of Sonny Jurgensen's prodigious passing accomplishments (he set virtually all the team passing records that year). Those Redskins also scored 347 points in 14 games, second only to the 1966 output of 351.
Going into their 16th and final regular-season game Sunday in Los Angeles, the Redskins (averaging 341 yards total offense) need 35 points to break the club record. Other marks they could exceed include: total plays (need 33), pass attempts (need 28), pass completions (need 10) and first downs rushing (need four). They already have the most first downs overall (309) and the most first downs passing (162).
Their total of 3,471 passing yards is 61 short of the second best in team history (the club record is 3,887). If they gain 128 rushing yards against the Rams (their average this season), they would become the fifth-best running team in club history. For the season, the Redskins have had 11 games with 300 or more total yards and four of 400 plus. They've exceeded 300 yards passing four times.
Individual Redskins also have made runs at the record book. Quarterback Joe Theismann needs 10 completions, 34 attempts and 426 yards Sunday to break Jurgensen's season records. Theismann already has had the second best yearly output by a Redskin quarterback. His 19 interceptions are a personal high.
Joe Washington needs seven receptions Sunday to break the club record of 72 held by Charley Taylor and Bobby Mitchell. Washington's current totals are 820 yards rushing, the third highest of his career, and 66 catches, second best.
Mike Nelms already has the team record for combined kick-return yardage (1,503). He needs 155 yards Sunday to snap the NFL record held by the Jets' Bruce Harper.
The Washington defense, however, has not been nearly as efficient. The Redskins have given up 5,041 yards this year, 215 shy of the club record. They have surrendered 342 points, most since 1968, but well behind the team mark of 432.