More Silly Remarks by Joe Kurarich

Joe Kurarich, after the shutout win on Thanksgiving Day, made a ludicrous remark that the Philadelphia Eagles were better than their 1-11 indicated.   Had they won those two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers  and New York Giants, the Eagles would still have finished last with a 4-10 mark.  They were simply a bad team.

Nevertheless, there is a nick of truth in that comment.  Philadelphia Eagle fans want to win every game, with close wins being the ones that really hurt.  The only losses fans accept are when playoffs are assured and the Birds cannot gain anything further.  This relates of course to the BYE week and the home field advantage.  I  would have felt better in 1968 with a record of 4-10 not 2-12.

So let’s look at the two close games in 1968.  They were both on the road against mediocre teams.

Week Seven at Pittsburgh

With both clubs at 0-6, reporters called this the O.J. Simpson Bowl.  Same Baker kicked a 38 yard field field in the second quarter and this 3 to 0 lead held until the fourth.  Pittsburgh got two fields goals, one in the last 30 seconds, to win.  This game was hardly a thrill despite the late heroics.

In addition, the Philadelphia Eagles wasted two good efforts.  Tom Woodeshick gained 92 yards and 18 carries.  Helmet strapless Ben Hawkins caught seven passes for 108 yards.  On the down side, Baker missed three field goals.  Pittsburgh DB Paul Martha killed an Eagle drive with a 20 yard return of an interception.  Steelers 6 Eagles 3.

Week 10 at Yankee Stadium

The Eagles came in at 0-9 to a perky 6-3 for the Giants.  Sam Baker kicked two field goals in the first half.  Sadly, Fran Tarkenton threw a touchdown pass to Bobby Duhon in between the two field goals.  Norm Snead threw three pass interceptions. Sam Baker missed a third field goal attempt.  Al Nelson stood out in the Eagles’ Secondary grabbing two passes Fran Tarkenton passes.   A scoreless second half followed  7 to 6 halftime deficit.  So again Giants 7 Eagles 6.

This win ran the Giants record to 7-3; but they lost their last four games.  Like I said a 4-10 would have felt better.  They wound not, however, saved Joe Kuharch’s job.

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1988 Tom Landry Last Year-Still the Cowboys beat Washington

Many times we evaluate a rivalry among winning teams.  But when a rivalry persists in losing seasons,  fans know this will add a big chapter to NFL History.   This was the case in 1988.  The Dallas Cowboys had their third consecutive losing season.  The Cowboys fired Tom Landry after dropping to 3-13.  The Washington Redskins, the 1987 Super Bowl Champions, fell as well to 7-9.  That was a rare losing season for Joe Gibbs and the team quickly rebounded.

The Dallas Cowboys started at 2-2, lost 10 in a row, won a game, and lost the finale 23 to 7 to the Philadelphia Eagles.  That losing streak included at 35 to 17 dud against the Redskins in Texas.   As might be the guess, the Cowboys broke that 10 game losing streak at RFK Stadium the next to last game of the season.

Dallas defeated the Redskins that 24 to 17.  Actually this game was a preview of things to come with Dallas.  There were good performances on both teams.  Dallas won getting five turnovers matched against two for Washington.   The Redskins gained only 24 yards rushing.

Dallas-Steve Pelluer completed 21 of 36 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns.  All three touchdown passes went to Michael Irvin.   For the day,  Irvin caught six passes for 149 yards.  Hershel Walker ran for 98 yards.

Washington-Together Doug Williams and Mark Rypien completed 20 passes for 384 yards getting two touchdowns and yielding three interceptions.  The receivers put up the following numbers:

Terry Orr-three catches for 104 yards and one touchdown;

Art Monk-seven catches for 103 yards;

Rick Sanders-three catches for 63 yards.

Lack of a ground game and turnovers hurt the Redskins.  Once again,  Cowboys 24 Redskins 17.

Dallas Cowboys 1986-Dynasty Falls in Mid-Season

The Dallas Cowboys fell apart in 1986. This was the only time I can remember a dynasty falling midway in the season.  Not since 1964, 22 years earlier, had Dallas a losing season.  There was a split personality to the Cowboys in 1986; the 6-2 first half and the 1-7 second.   Even so,  the Dallas Cowboys had two big wins, both at home, in the 6-2 start.  The New York Giants were 14-2 and defeated the Denver Broncos 39 to 20 in the Super Bowl.  The Washington Redskins were 12-4 and the Giants shut them out 17 to 0 in the NFC Championship Game.

Both of these victories showed  great passing games from two different quarterbacks;  two good pass receivers; and a defensive line that applied pressure to the quarterback.

Game 1 New York Giants; Cowboys won 31 to 28.

Danny White completed 23 of 39 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns.  Tony Hill and Herschel Walker caught a total of 11 passes for 139 yards.  The defensive line sacked Phil Simms four times for 39 yards.

Game 6  Washington Redskins; Cowboys won easily 30 to 6.

Steve Pelluer completed 19 passes for 323 yards and one touchdown.  Tony Hill and Herschel Walker again caught a total of 11 passes this time for 224 yards.  The defensive line sacked Jay Schroeder four times for 19 yards.

Tasteless Joe Kuarich after a Shutout Win

Recall an article on the best Thanksgiving Day in Detroit.  Philadelphia won 12 to 0.  After that muddy and soggy  game, Eagles coach Joe Kuharich met the press.  He was relaxing with a Coke not Champagne.  As a matter of fact, the entire team was more relieved than happy.  It is always good to get your first victory-even after 11 losses.   Kuharich stated the victory over the Detroit Lions proved the Philadelphia Eagles could be a winning team.    He pointed to two closes along those 11 weeks.  The Philadelphia reporters were hostile and rightly so with statements like this and the performance in 1968.  The game was fun to watch as players skidded, splashed in puddles, dropped wet footballs, and got thick coatings of mud their jerseys.  Coming down to reality consider this:

–The Deriot Lions coming in to game were 3-6-2 and had four losses and two ties in the last six weeks;

–The two close losses were both on the road, 6 to 3 at Pittsburgh and 7 to 6 at Yankee Stadium vs the Giants.  That year the Steelers were 2-11-1 and New York was 7-7.  Hardly strong opponents;

–Philadelphia had gotten much worse over a three year span.  From 9-5 in 1966 to 6-7-1 in 1967 to 2-12  in 1968.

It is a shame Joe Kuharich was so mouthy because he ignored some positive things:

–The Eagles did win getting a shut out on national television;  it was also with very muddy, soggy, and rainy conditions;

–Tom Woodeshick with good steady running gained 79 yards;

–Placekicker Sam Baker and holder Joe Scarpati showed great precision considering the slimy field.  Baker booted one field goal in each quarter for all of the scoring.  Final Again Eagles 12 Lions 0;

–Somewhere between the first and fourth field goal, Sam Baker became the second highest scorer in NFL History;

–Dave Lloyd and Floyd Peters, with the aid of the bad weather, completely shut down the Lions running attack; and

–Nate Ramsey, Al Nelson, and Harold Wells each intercepted a pass.

Joe Kuarich chose to complain instead.

Washington Redskins Over Dallas in 1995-Twice

Norv Turner, in his second year as head coach at Washington,  was 6-10.  This doubled the record from the previous year of 3-13.  The Dallas Cowboys were 12-4 and went on the win the Superbowl.  That 27 to 17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers was their third Super Bowl Trophy in four years.  The Redskins fans had something to cheer about as well.  The Redskins defeated their Arch Rival Dallas twice.

This was the first time in 12 years for twin victories for Old DC.   Running Back Terry Allen and a defensive back starred in both games.

Week 5  at home

Terry Allen carried 30 for 121 yards and a touchdown.  He also caught four passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.  DB Tom Carter returned an interception 34 yards.  Redskins 27 Cowboys 23.

Week 5  at Dallas

Terry Allen carried 25 times for 98 yards and two touchdown.  DB Stanley Richards returned an interception 24 yards.   Redskins 24 Cowboys 17.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2003

After winning the Super Bowl in 2002, the Bucs fell to  7-9.  This was five full games behind the previous year.   However, shutting the other guys out is always special and Tampa got two in 2003.

Game 1 at the First Game at Lincoln Financial Field.

Brad Johnson completed 27 for 36 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns.  Joe Juerevicius caught both touchdown passes.  On defense, Tampa had three sacks for 24 yards in losses.  The only bright spot for the Eagles was Troy Vincent returning an interception 28 yards.  Tampa Bay 17 Philadelphia 0.

Game 7 at Tampa  vs. the Dallas Cowboys.

The Buccaneers’ defense held the Cowboys to just nine first downs; 178 total yards; and recorded four sacks for 22 yards.  Martin Gramatica kicked three field goals and Keyshawn Johnson caught a pass for the game’s only touchdown.   Both Rhonde Barber and Jermaine Phillips intercepted a pass for 65 yards in return.  Tampa Bay 16 Dallas 0.

The Philadelphia Eagles were 12-4 and the Dallas Cowboys were 10-6 for the season.

Bill Austin at Washington-1970

Just After Vince Lombardi died, Bill Austin, the offensive line coach, got the head job.  The Redskins fell to 6-8; that at least was better than any of his three years at Pittsburgh.  There were two standout win.  Sonny Jurgensen, Larry Brown, and Charlie Taylor were the main attractions.  Both games were at home.

Week 4 Detroit Lions

The Lions came in at 3-0 and the Washington was 1-2.  Detroit finished at 10-4.  They lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Dallas Cowboys 5 to 0.

Sonny Jurgensen completed 14 of 20 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns.

Larry Brown carried 22 times for 101 yards and one touchdown.

Charley Taylor caught six passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns.

The Redskins won easily 31 to 10.

Week 6 Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati finished at 8-6 and lost the first round of the playoffs to the Baltimore Colts 17 to 0.

Sonny Jurgensen completed 13 of 24 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

Larry Brown carried 22 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

Charley Taylor caught five passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns.

Great defensive performance with three fumble recoveries.  Ricky Harris returned an interception 28 yards.  A shut out always is special.

The Redskins defeated the Bengals 20 to 0.