October 17, 1983: Green Bay 48, Washington 47
By Drew Mitchell
ABC Sports Online

On a chilly October night in 1983, Lambeau Field turned into an offensive wonderland. The Green Bay Packers (3-3) and Washington Redskins (5-1) lit up Monday Night Football that evening with the show's greatest scoring explosion ever. The teams combined for 95 points, 771 yards passing and 254 yards on the ground. And though they posted 10 fewer first downs than the Redskins' 33, coach Bart Starr's Packers held on for a 48-47 win.

Joe Theismann
Joe Theismann holds Redskin team records in pass yardage, completions and attempts.

Green Bay entered the game with the worst defense in the NFL, and it showed. Washington quarterback Joe Theismann completed 27 of 39 passes for 398 yards and two touchdowns. John Riggins rushed 25 times for 98 yards and two scores, while Joe Washington added 80 yards on 16 carries and a pair of touchdown receptions.

The Redskins defense also struggled, as the Packers averaged an incredible 9.1 yards a play. Green Bay quarterback Lynn Dickey connected on 22 of 30 passes for 387 yards and three scores, and even running back Eddie Lee Ivery completed a 35-yard pass.

Oddly enough, the Packers defense put up the game's first points. Just over a minute into the game, linebacker Mike Douglass jarred the ball loose from Washington and sprinted 22 yards for a 7-0 Packers lead.

The Redskins tied the game with a fumble recovery of their own. Heading for an apparent touchdown, Riggins dropped the ball at the 1-yard line. But tight end Clint Didier pounced on the ball in the end zone for the score. Green Bay's Jan Stenerud and Washington's Mark Moseley traded field goals before the end of the first quarter to knot the game at 10.

The second quarter belonged to Green Bay tight end Paul Coffman, who connected with Dickey on scoring plays of 36 and 9 yards. A 1-yard Riggins touchdown run and 28-yard Moseley field goal sandwiched Coffman's last score. The Packers took a 24-20 lead to the locker room.

The Packers added a touchdown on their first drive of the second half (no surprise), but their 31-20 lead didn't last for long. The Redskins scored the next 13 points on two Moseley field goals and a Theismann-to-Washington 6-yard pass play.

Washington's 33-31 edge lasted a scant 25 seconds, as Gary Lewis' 2-yard touchdown run propelled Green Bay to a 38-33 lead. Riggins answered with a 1-yard plunge for a 40-38 Redskins advantage.

And then the game got exciting.

First, the Packers took a 47-45 lead midway through the quarter on fullback Mike Meade's 31-yard touchdown catch. Then the Redskins mounted a 72-yard, nine-play drive culminating in Washington's 5-yard touchdown reception. 'Skins, 47-45.

The ball doesn't change hands this often in a tennis match.

With 2:50 remaining, the question was not would the Packers score, but would they leave the Redskins enough time to retake the lead? It seemed only the game clock could stop either team.

The fifth and final lead change of the fourth quarter was set up when Dickey hit Gerry Ellis in the right flat and the fullback took off on a 56-yard catch-and-run play. Miraculously, Washington kept Green Bay out of the end zone. But Stenerud hit a 20-yard field goal with 54 seconds to go, giving Green Bay a 48-47 lead.

The game was not over yet.

The Redskins took the ensuing kickoff and moved 55 yards in six plays, including three completions to Washington. Moseley was primed to be the hero in front of 55,255 and a national television audience, but his 39-yard attempt slipped by the right upright with just three seconds left.

The Lambeau faithful erupted into a joyous frenzy, one of the few highlights in a mediocre 8-8 season.

The Redskins suffered their second one-point loss of the season. Those slim losses were the only thing standing between them and a perfect regular season. Washington didn't lose another game until the Los Angeles Raiders demolished them 38-9 in Super Bowl XVIII.

 
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