Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs often jokes that coaching is such tough work that he could never survive as long as a Don Shula, Chuck Noll or Tom Landry. But with Saturday's 20-6 playoff victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Gibbs continues to climb the ladder among pro football's coaching elite.
The victory was his 113th in just 10 seasons and moves him ahead of John Madden into 15th place on the all-time list. He's still far behind leaders George Halas (325 victories), Shula (298 and counting) and Landry (270), but his 12-3 record and .800 winning percentage in postseason play is virtually unmatched.
Only Landry (20-16), Shula (17-13) and Noll (16-8) have won more playoff games, but all have much lower winning percentages. Among coaches who've worked at least 10 years, only Vince Lombardi (9-1, .900) has a better winning percentage.
Gibbs Sticks By Byner
Earnest Byner's fumble in the 1987 AFC Championship Game likely will haunt him forever, and it came up again Saturday after officials reversed what had originally been ruled a fumble on the Philadelphia 6-yard line.
But Gibbs defended his 1,000-yard rusher, saying, "Earnest got us here, and if he fumbles, he fumbles. He has really led us down the stretch with his toughness and all. He has proven he belongs here. If there's going to be a fumble, there's no better guy to fumble than Earnest. I want him in there."
More on the Benching
The Redskins said they were shocked when Eagles Coach Buddy Ryan benched quarterback Randall Cunningham for a series in the third quarter. "I thought he was hurt," linebacker Monte Coleman said. "Yeah, I was surprised he wasn't in there, but you really don't know what's going on. I thought maybe he'd had leg cramps."
Hogs Throw Sack Shutout
Quarterback Mark Rypien was knocked down a few times, but his pass protection was good enough that he wasn't sacked a single time. That's the ninth time the Redskins offensive line has pitched a shutout this season.
Rypien has been sacked just six times in 11 starts. He's 8-3 as a starter this season and has won 13 of his last 16 starts over two seasons. . . .
The Redskins gain another free roster move this week, and backup quarterback Stan Humphries may be brought off injured reserve and added to the 47-man roster. . . .
The 49ers and Redskins have played at Candlestick Park twice in the last three seasons, and the 49ers won both, 37-21 in 1988 and 26-13 in Week 2 this season. Since that 1988 victory, the 49ers are 38-5 and have won back-to-back Super Bowls. Joe Montana is 35-4 as a starter over that stretch, and in his 39 starts, has thrown 78 touchdown passes and 26 interceptions.