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Throwback Thursday: Kilmer Ends Vikings Undefeated Season

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It was on this day – November 30th – in 1975, that Billy Kilmer led the Washington Redskins to a 31-30 upset victory over Fran Tarkenton’s Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings came into the matchup with a 10-0 record, but George Allen had his 7-3 Redskins ready for battle.

Larry Brown scored on a two yard run for Washington in the first quarter to stake out an early 7-0 lead. Brown would finish with 71 yards on the day, on just 6 carries – largely on the strength of a 43-yard run. Mike Thomas handled most of the rushing duties that day, putting in a lunchbox 20 carries for 74 yards. He managed an indentical 74 yards catching the ball out of the backfield, including a 28 yard touchdown pass from Kilmer in the second quarter.

Kilmer then threw another touchdown to Frank Grant, and the Redskins were up 21-0 at RFK before halftime.

Tarkenton got the Vikings back to within two scores before the half though, with an 8 yard touchdown pass to Chuck Foreman, but the Vikings went into the half stunned and down 21-7.

Foreman added another touchdown on the ground in the third, to get the Vikings within a score at 21-14, before Fred Cox and Mark Moseley traded field goals to make it 24-17.

Then Tarkenton hushed the crowd at RFK with a 21 yard touchdown run, to draw the Vikings to within one at 24-23. The momentum was soiled though, when Fred Cox missed the extra point.

But the Vikings were 10-0 for a reason, and Foreman would score a third touchdown, his second on the ground, and give the Vikings a 30-24 lead. It seemed that the Redskins had run out of gas.

Kilmer had other ideas though. He marched the Redskins right down the field, and then hit Frank Grant with a 15 yard touchdown pass to seal a 31-30 victory for Washington. The missed extra point by Cox proved to be the difference.

That was arguably the crowning moment in the Redskins season though, as while they would beat the Falcons the following week, they would lose to the Cowboys and the Eagles to close out the season at 8-6 and out of the playoff hunt.

The Vikings finished the season at 12-2 and atop the NFC Central Division, but they would lose to the Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs. The Cowboys beat the Los Angeles Rams in the conference final, but lost 21-17 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.

Full boxscore of the game courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

More By Mark Solway

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