In 1983, Redskins-Packers set a MNF scoring record that still stands
The Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins meet Sunday night with playoff implications galore. Either Aaron Rodgers or Kirk Cousins — maybe even both quarterbacks — could get hot and light up the scoreboard, but it's unlikely they'll match the numbers these two teams put up in a another primetime game back on Oct. 17, 1983.
In what remains the highest-scoring Monday Night Football game in history, the Packers eked out a 48-47 victory at Lambeau Field.
Perhaps the only highlight for the defenses came when Packers linebacker Mike Douglass opened the scoring with a 22-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.
After that, the starting gate was opened and the offenses were off …. and running and passing.
The Packers came close to averaging a first down every time they snapped the ball, winding up at 9.1 yards per play.
Lynn Dickey completed 22 of 30 passes for 387 yards and three scores; Joe Theismann, his Redskins counterpart, went 27-of-39 for 398 yards and two TDs.
Here's how The Associated Press broke down the numbers at the time:
The Redskins had 552 total yards and the Packers 473 — a combined total of 1,025 yards. The teams fell short of the league record for most net yards in a game: Los Angeles (636) and the New York Yanks (497) combined for 1,133 yards on Nov. 19, 1950. The 95 points was 18 short of the record for most points in a game, set when Washington beat the Giants, 72-41, on Nov. 27, 1966.
The teams' 95 combined points still mark the 10th-highest scoring game in NFL history, and the game was a high point for a 1983 Packers team that finished 8-8.
“I think it was a statement game for us against the defending champions at home,” former head coach Bart Starr told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2013. “It was a tribute to both teams and the offenses. Not so much for the defenses. But it was a thrilling game to come out of on the winning side. I told my team afterward, 'Men, does it get any better than this?' “
The Redskins took a 47-45 lead on a Joe Washington 5-yard TD reception late in the fourth quarter, but the Redskins left too much time on the clock. Dickey set up a Jan Stenerud field goal with a 56-yard pass play to Gerry Ellis, a fullback no less.
The Packers had a 48-47 lead, and the Redskins had 54 seconds to escape with a win. The Redskins took the opportunity and drove down the field, but straight-on kicker Mark Moseley's 39-yard field-goal attempt was wide right with three seconds left.
“We kind of rushed it,” Moseley told the Washington Post after the game. “Maybe we should have taken more time. I just missed the kick.”
“You thought the team with the ball last wins. Hard to believe, but that was not the case. We were lucky,” Dickey told the Journal Sentinel in 2013.
For one Redskins defender the game became ironic. Mark Murphy is the Packers' president now.
“On my first official day on the job, I took a tour and walked around Lambeau,” Murphy told the Journal Sentinel.“Pictures of that Monday night game are all over. I threatened to take them down but didn't.
“I just remember the atmosphere that night was as good as I've seen. For the fans, it was one great play after another. It was like a tennis match, watching the ball go back and forth.”
The game was perfectly summed up, of course, by Redskins running back John Riggins, who rushed 25 times for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
“You almost get dizzy watching a game like that,” Riggins told the Post. “You eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.”