Every year when the Eagles play the Redskins, I think of the only bright spots in the 1975 season. The Philadelphia Eagles had not defeated them since 1967 and not swept the two games since 1961. Washington was a 17 point favorite at Veterans Stadium in week three. The Skins won their first two games, 41 to 3 over the New Orleans Saints and 49 to 13 over the New York Giants. Visions of the Super Bowl danced in their heads. Philadelphia looked horrible, losing to two mediocre teams; a 23 to 14 at home to the New York Giants and 21 to 17 at Chicago.
Game 3 was a pleasant surprise but not at first. The Redskins ran the opening kickoff to the Philadelphia 24 and the boo birds were out in full force. The Eagles gave up nothing on three downs and the Redskins settled for a field goal and a 3 to 0 lead. After that came some strange bounces. Two of these went against Philadelphia and prevented a runaway by halftime. Roman Gabriel passed to Charlie Young. The ball caromed off Young. Harold Carmichael caught it and raced 62 yards for a touchdown. At the goal line, Harold swung around and threw off Pat Fischer. The extra point failed and the Eagles led 6 to 3.
In the second quarter the Eagles were about to score a touchdown after a long drive. From the three yard line, Roman Gabriel hit Tom Sullivan all alone in the end zone right between the numbers. Sullivan, making the game’s biggest mistake, dropped the ball. Horst Mulhman kicked a short field goal for a 9 to 3 lead. The score should have been 14 to 3 but the Eagles kept coming. Inside the Redskins 10, a lineman deflected Gabriel’s pass. Dennis Johnson caught the ball and returned it inside the Eagles 10. Big Play. Billy Kilmer threw a three yard touchdown pass to Alvin Reed. I saw 21 to 3 figures in my head but the scoreboard showed Philadelphia trailing by 10 to 9.
Nevertheless, the Eagles did not get discouraged. They opened the third quarter passing 28 yards to Charlie Smith for a touchdown. After a pass interception, came another field goal. Gabriel himself capped another drive running for a six yard touchdown. In the day’s biggest upset, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated Washington 26 to 10. Redskins fans came down to earth.
–the Eagles got six turnovers;
–among these turnovers, Bill Bradley made two interceptions;
–The Eagles outgained Washington 295 yards to 193.
The rematch was on the final game.