Attendance: 73,302
MVP: Doug Williams
Setting the Stage | Scoring Summary | The Game | Stats | Fan Comments | Links
Setting the Stage:

I remember the hype surrounding this game and the anticipation by so many to see Reeves and Elway finally get a shot at a ring. I, personally, couldn't stand either Reeves or Elway and just knew they were in for a rude awakening.

Needless to say I was a little concerned after the first quarter. The second quarter was something dreams are made of. I've never seen anything like it in any game, let alone the Super Bowl. After falling behind by 10 in the first quarter, the Skins completely dominated the Broncos through the air, on the ground and defensively.

Ricky Sanders had a huge day thanks to Doug Williams and superb offensive line protection - that had been with the team throughout the season. Timmy Smith was another beneficiary of an offensive line that not only provided superior pass protection, but also could flat out run block. 204 yards rushing in the Super Bowl, are you kidding me? I remember thinking to myself, 'who the heck is Timmy Smith?' and 'how dominant is he going to be next season?'. Just goes to show you, one huge, even record setting game in the Super Bowl, does not promise or guarantee future success.

-Frank Hastings

Scoring Summary:

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Washington Redskins 0 35 0 7 42
Denver Broncos 10 0 0 0 10

DEN - Nattiel, 56 yard pass from Elway (Karlis kick), 1st
DEN - Karlis, 24 yard field goal, 1st
WAS - Sanders, 80 yard pass from Williams (Haji-Shiekh kick), 2nd
WAS - Clark, 27 yard pass from Williams (Haji-Shiekh kick), 2nd
WAS - Smith, 58 yard run (Haji-Shiekh kick), 2nd
WAS - Sanders, 50 yard pass from Williams (Haji-Shiekh kick), 2nd
WAS - Didier, 8 yard pass from Williams (Haji-Shiekh kick), 2nd
WAS- Smith, 4 yard run (Haji-Shiekh kick), 4th

The Game:

For fans of both the Denver Broncos and the Washington Redskins, watching Super Bowl XXII was like watching two separate contests.

The Redskins won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff, however a quick three and out resulted in a punt. On Denver’s first play from scrimmage, wide receiver Ricky Nattiel started the scoring, taking a John Elway pass for a 56-yard strike. The Broncos held a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the first quarter.

Washington’s next possession did not fare much better, as Gary Clark dropped his second drive-ending pass of the game. Elway drove the team 61 yards in just over two minutes, including a 32-yard pass to Mark Jackson and a 23-yard pass to running back Steve Sewell. The drive stalled on the Washington 7 yard line though, and Denver kicker Rich Karlis pushed a 24-yard kick through the uprights.

Late in the first quarter, Washington quarterback Doug Williams was sacked and twisted his knee, forcing Coach Joe Gibbs to replace Williams with Jay Schroeder. Schroeder was unable to move the ball and the team was once again forced to punt.

The Broncos ended the first quarter and started the second with an extended three and out, and Broncos punter Mike Horan sent a 36-yard punt into the end zone. This marked the beginning of what is known in Redskins history as, “The Quarter”.

Doug Williams returned to the field, and stealing a page from the Broncos’ first quarter antics, lined up on the 20 and fired a pass to streaking wide receiver Ricky Sanders. Sanders caught the ball on the Washington 48-yard line and took it home for a 1 play, 80-yard touchdown drive that lasted all of 10 seconds.

Williams and the Redskins added four more touchdowns on consecutive drives for a total of 35 points in the second quarter.

Williams hit Gary Clark for a 27-yard strike, followed by a 58-yard touchdown run by Timmy Smith. Sanders then added a 50-yard touchdown reception and Clint Didier finished off the historic quarter with an 8-yard pass. No team, before or since, has played a better quarter of football on this stage.

The score coming into the second half was 35-10. Denver having coasted to a 10-0 lead in the first six minutes of the game, never reached the end zone again, thanks to Barry Wilburn’s two interceptions and the 5 sacks turned in by the smothering Washington defense.

Timmy Smith finished off the scoring with a 4-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter, and finished the game with a Super Bowl record 204-yards. Washington won its second championship in 5 years, defeating Denver 42-10.

- Scott Hurrey

Team Statistics:

Redskins Broncos
Rushing 13 6
Passing 11 10
Penalty 1 2
Total Offensive Plays 72 61
Average Gain per Offensive Play 8.4 5.4
Total Rushing Plays 40 17
Average yards Per Rush 7.0 5.7
Pass Att.–Comp.–Int. 30–18–1 39–15–3
Yards lost Attempting to Pass 18 50
Gross Yards Passing 340 280
Avg. Gain per Pass (Incl. Sacks) 10.8 5.9
PUNTS–AVERAGE 4–150 7–253
Average Distance 37.5 36.1
Had Blocked 0 0
Kickoff Returns–Yards 3–46 5–88
Punt Returns–Yards 1–0 2–18
Interception Returns–Yards 3–11 1–0
Fumbles–Lost 1–0 0–0
Had Intercepted 1 3
Touchdowns Rushing 2 0
Touchdowns Passing 4 1
Touchdowns Returns 0 0
Extra Points 6 1
Field Goals–Attempts 0–1 1–2
Safeties 0 0
Click here for individual statistics

Fan Commentary:

Danny Carmical - "I remember being 10, living in Germany where my dad was stationed, and the Super Bowl didn't start until midnight. I was amazed at the total domination the Redskins had over Denver in that game. That's when the first drops of Burgundy & Gold flowed through my veins."

Scott Peek - "I remember telling my friend during the first quarter, "Don't worry, it's only 10 points", and then the Skins erupted. That may have been the most joyous quarter of football I have ever experienced."

Dan Hines - "I was stationed in San Antonio; all my friends were Cowboys fan. We had a huge SB party at one of my friends house. After the long TD pass by Elway, they gave it to me good, then Doug Williams and company went on their history making run in the second quarter. My friends got so mad they turned the game off. I had to go home to see the second half!!"

More Articles: Game Summary

Washington Post Game Summary's Official Game Summary

Washington Skins Broncos

Washington: 11-4
PhiladelphiaW 34-24
at AtlantaL 21-20
St. LouisW 28-21
at N.Y. GiantsW 38-12
at DallasW 13-7
N.Y. JetsW 17-16
at BuffaloW 27-7
at PhiladelphiaL 31-27
DetroitW 20-13
L.A. RamsL 30-26
N.Y. GiantsW 23-19
at St. LouisW 34-17
DallasW 24-20
at MiamiL 23-21
at MinnesotaW 27-24
at Chicago*W 21-17
Minnesota*W 17-10
* NFC Playoffs
Denver: 10-4-1
SeattleW 40-17
at Green BayT 17-17
HoustonL 40-10
L.A. RaidersW 30-14
at Kansas CityW 26-17
at MinnesotaL 34-27
DetroitW 34-0
at BuffaloL 21-14
ChicagoW 31-29
at L.A. RaidersW 23-17
at San DiegoW 31-17
New EnglandL 31-20
at SeattleL 28-21
Kansas CityW 20-17
San DiegoW 24-0
Houston*W 34-10
Cleveland*W 38-33
* AFC Playoffs
Washington Redskins
Head Coach - Joe Gibbs
WRGary Clark
TEDon Warren
LTJoe Jacoby
LGRaleigh McKenzie
CJeff Bostic
RG R.C. Thielemann
RTMark May
TEClint Didier
WRRicky Sanders
QBDoug Williams
RBTimmy Smith
LECharles Mann
LTDave Butz
RTDarryl Grant
REDexter Manley
LBMel Kaufman
LBNeal Olkewicz
LBMonte Coleman
CBDarrell Green
CBBarry Wilburn
SSAlvin Walton
FSTodd Bowles
Denver Broncos
Head Coach - Dan Reeves
WRMark Jackson
TEClarence Kay
LTDavid Studdard
LGKeith Bishop
CMike Freeman
RG Stefan Humphries
RTKen Lanier
RBGene Lang
WRRicky Nattiel
QBJohn Elway
RBSammy Winder
LERulon Jones
NTGreg Kragen
REAndre Townsend
LBSimon Fletcher
LBKarl Mecklenburg
LBRicky Hunley
LBJim Ryan
CBMark Haynes
CBSteve Wilson
SSTony Lilly
FSDennis Smith
MVP Doug Williams

To nobody's surprise, Doug Williams was named the game's MVP after going 18 of 29 for 340 yards with 4 TDs and 1 INT. Williams hit 7 different receivers but Ricky Sanders was his favorite target. Sanders caught 9 balls for 193 yards and 2 TDs including one 80-yarder.
Timmy Smith could have easliy been named the game's MVP for his record breaking 204 yards rushing on just 22 carries. The Redskins 35-point second quarter (also a record) was helped greatly by 122 yards from Smith, including a 58-yard TD. Amazingly, Smith only managed 126 yards during the entire 1987 season and would play just 15 more games in the NFL after his record setting performance.

The numbers from the Redskins' 2nd quarter alone would match a lot of NFL games, but for one quarter are ridiculous. Five scores for 35 points, 356 total yards, including 228 passing by Williams (9 of 11), 122 yards on five carries by Smith, and 168 yards on 5 receptions by Sanders. The five touchdowns came in 18 plays covering just 5 minutes and 47 seconds of possession time.

Doug Williams had to have emergency root canal surgery the day before his MVP performance in Super Bowl XXII.
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