History Lesson: Redskins 42, Broncos 10 (Super Bowl XXII)

This Sunday, the Denver Broncos host the Washington Redskins. And it’s safe to say that we will see some points on the board if quarterback Peyton Manning continues his amazing play this season.

Bronco’s John Elway

Of course, as remarkable as the Broncos have been when it comes to scoring points this season (298 of them in seven games), even they would be hard pressed to come up what Joe Gibbs’ Redskins did to Dan Reeves’ Broncos in Super Bowl XXII in San Diego.

There were two reasons no one saw it coming. One is the fact that there would be an unprecedented performance. Two is the fact that it was all Denver, led by future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, in the first quarter of the game.

So down 10-0 in the second quarter and with starting quarterback Doug Williams somewhat hobbled (he would leave the game late in the first quarter for a few plays), it appeared that Gibbs’ team was indeed in for a long afternoon.

That would prove to be true because by the time halftime rolled around, the Redskins would singe the Denver defense with numerous long plays.

In fact, when you look at the second-quarter scoring recap from the game’s box score, it’s almost startling.

Redskins–Ricky Sanders 80 pass from Doug Williams (Haji-Sheikh kick)

Redskins–Gary Clark 27 pass from Doug Williams (Haji-Sheikh kick)

Redskins–Timmy Smith 58 run (Haji-Sheikh kick)

Redskins–Ricky Sanders 50 pass from Doug Williams (Haji-Sheikh kick)

Redskins–Clint Didier 8 pass from Doug Williams (Haji-Sheikh kick)

Washington went from a 10-point deficit to a 25-point advantage in just one quarter as the Redskins took a 35-10 lead into the locker room at intermission.

It was a quarter of offensive football like no other. Washington rolled up 35 points and an amazing 356 yards of total offense on their first five drives of the second quarter.

Redskins Doug Williams

Look at it this way. This past February, the Baltimore Ravens rolled up 34 points and 367 yards in their three-point win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

Sanders’ first touchdown of the game came with 53 seconds elapsed in the second quarter via Williams, his first play after returning to action. Clark’s score came less than four minutes later and gave Washington a 14-10 lead that they would never relinquish.

Take a closer look at the five touchdown plays for the Redskins in the quarter. The yardage totals on those plays alone come to 223 yards.

By game’s end, Gibbs’ club would outgain Denver by over 200 total yards (602-327) and come away with a resounding 42-10 victory. It was the second of three Super Bowl wins for Gibbs and the second of three Super Bowl losses for Elway.

Of course, 10 years later in Super Bowl XXXII, Elway would once again visit San Diego. And that outcome against the Green Bay Packers was a lot different.

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