This 1988 NFC Championship game between the Minnesota Vikings versas the Washington Redskins was a hard fought battle that went down to the last two minutes of the game….when the Vikings had the ball with 1st down on the Redskin 23 yard line with 1 minute 37 seconds left in the game.
In a defensive battle, the Redskins played a little better by limiting the Vikings to only 76 rushing yards….while piling up eight sacks among seven different players including Dave Butz, Kurt Gouveia, Ravin Caldwell, Dexter Manley, Charles Mann, Alvin Walton, and Clarence Vaughn). The Vikings string of playoff upsets came to an end in a game that proved to be just as hard fought and intense as Washington’s 27–24 overtime victory over them in Week 15 of the regular season…..as Minnesota started off with a drive to the Redskins 35….but decided to punt rather than risk a long field goal….when Bucky Scribner’s 33-yard punt pinned the Redskins back at their own 2-yard line….but that didn’t stop Washington from scoring on a 98-yard drive that included a 28-yard run by receiver Ricky Sanders on a reverse play….and ended with running back Kelvin Bryant’s 42-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Doug Williams. The Vikings went three and out on their next drive, and Scribner’s punt traveled just 19 yards to the Redskins 45-yard line….as Washington subsequently moved the ball to the Vikings 21….but came up empty when Ali Haji-Sheikh missed a 38-yard field goal.
Most of the remaining first half would be a defensive struggle….then with just over five minutes left….Washington running back Timmy Smith broke off a 34-yard run to the Vikings 31-yard line…..as the Redskins failed to score again because of another missed field goal from Haji-Sheikh….with this one from 47 yards out. Minnesota took over and tied the game before halftime with quarterback Wade Wilson’s 36-yard completion to tight end Steve Jordan….which set up a 23-yard touchdown pass to Leo Lewis.
In the third quarter, Redskins linebacker Mel Kaufman picked off a pass that had been deflected by Butz….which turned out to be the only turnover of the game…..and returned it 10 yards to the Minnesota 17-yard line to set up Haji-Sheikh’s 28-yard field goal. In the final quarter, Wilson got the Vikings moving on a 10-play, 52-yard drive….finding receiver Anthony Carter for 23 yards….then running back Allen Rice broke for 15….and Jordan for nine….as Minnesota eventually got a first down on the Redskins 3-yard line ….but the Redskins defense made a stand by stopping them on three consecutive running plays and forcing them to settle for Chuck Nelson’s 18-yard field goal to tie the game. The Redskins then marched 70 yards in eight plays….including QB Doug Williams’ 43-yard completion to Gary Clark….then they scored on Williams’ 7-yard TD pass to Clark to take the lead, 17–10 with 5:06 left in the game. Minnesota subsequently advanced to the Washington 6-yard line with Wilson completing five passes on the way there….but on fourth down and four with 56 seconds left in the game….running back Darrin Nelson dropped a potential touchdown catch after being hit by defensive back Darrell Green….which enabled the Redskins to run out the clock.
In this game, QB Williams completed only nine of 26 passes for 119 yards….but two were for touchdowns….and he had no interceptions….while his team gained 161 yards on the ground,…with 72 from Smith….as Viking QB Wilson completed 19 of 39 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown with one interception….as Anthony Carter caught seven passes for 85 yards, and returned four punts for 57 yards.
Any way you cut the pie….this was a really hard fought game by both teams….as the fact remains that either team could have won this game….had certain breaks gone the other way…..which makes this video MUST SEE TV.