1987 Washington Redskins season
OwnerJack Kent Cooke
General managerBobby Beathard
Head coachJoe Gibbs
Home fieldRFK Stadium
Local radioWMAL
Results
Record11–4
Division place1st NFC East
Playoff finishWon Divisional Playoffs
(at Bears) 21–17
Won NFC Championship
(vs. Vikings) 17–10
Won Super Bowl XXII
(vs. Broncos) 42–10
Pro Bowlers
AP All-Pros
5
Redskins guard Raleigh McKenzie covering an opponent on the Broncos during Super Bowl XXII.

The 1987 season was the Washington Redskins' strike-shortened 56th season in the National Football League (NFL), their 52nd in Washington, D.C., and their seventh under head coach Joe Gibbs. The season was a shortened season due to the 1987 NFL strike.

The team had finished second in the NFC East the previous season with a 12–4 record. Games to be played during the third week of the season were canceled, and replacement players were used to play games from weeks 4 through 6.

The Redskins won the NFC East with an 11–4 record. The Redskins defeated the Denver Broncos 42–10 to win Super Bowl XXII. It was the Redskins' second Super Bowl win in six seasons, and coincidentally, their second Super Bowl win in a strike-season.[1]

Redskins quarterback Doug Williams became the first black quarterback to start in a Super Bowl and was the only one to have emerged victorious until Russell Wilson won Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seattle Seahawks.[2]

By virtue of the Redskins' 17-10 victory over Minnesota in the NFC title game, head coach Joe Gibbs earned his 10th playoff victory. He surpassed the legendary Vince Lombardi, who had retired after his 9th playoff victory and (coincidentally) later coached the Redskins for one season. Also ironic was the rumor that, following a disastrous 5-9-1 season, Green Bay would hire Gibbs to replace the dismissed Forrest Gregg. However, after the game, Gibbs would deny that he was interested.[3]

While the replacement Skins all received large playoff shares for their part in the 1987 season, the only replacement player to receive a Super Bowl ring was wide receiver Anthony Allen, because he was on the active roster during the postseason (and made one reception in the NFC title game vs. Minnesota). On March 8, 2018, the Redskins announced that they would honor the replacement players from the 1987 team with Super Bowl XXII rings.[4]

Offseason

NFL draft

Main article: 1987 NFL Draft

1987 Washington Redskins draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
2 30 Brian Davis  CB Nebraska from Indianapolis
2 48 Wally Kleine  OT Notre Dame from LA Raiders
5 117 Timmy Smith  RB Texas Tech
6 144 Steve Gage  S Tulsa
6 164 Ed Simmons  OT Eastern Washington
7 192 Johnny Thomas  CB Baylor
8 219 Clarence Vaughn  S Northern Illinois
9 248 Alfred Jenkins  RB Arizona
10 274 Ted Wilson  WR UCF
11 304 Laron Brown  WR Texas
12 331 Ray Hitchcock  C Minnesota
      Made roster  

Personnel

Staff

1987 Washington Redskins staff

Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

  • Special teams coordinator – Chuck Banker

Strength and conditioning

  • Strength coach – Joe Diange
  • Conditioning coach – Dan Riley

NFL replacement players

After the league decided to use replacement players during the NFLPA strike, the following team was assembled:

1987 Washington Redskins replacement roster

Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Roster

Williams attempting a pass for the Washington Redskins in 1987
1987 Washington Redskins roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad



Rookies in italics

Preseason

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 August 14 Pittsburgh Steelers W 23–17 1–0 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Recap
2 August 22 vs Green Bay Packers W 33–0 2–0 Camp Randall Stadium Recap
3 August 29 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 10–17 2–1 Tampa Stadium Recap
4 September 5 at Los Angeles Rams W 26–14 3–1 Anaheim Stadium Recap

Regular season

In 1987, Redskins starting QB Jay Schroeder got injured early in the opening game against the Eagles and was replaced by Williams, who led the team to victory.[5] In his NFL debut, replacement player Ed Rubbert passed for 334 yards.[5] Rubbert also threw three touchdown passes to Anthony Allen. Allen would have 255 receiving yards.[5]

Schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 September 13 Philadelphia Eagles W 34–24 1–0 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Recap
2 September 20 at Atlanta Falcons L 20–21 1–1 Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium Recap
3 September 27 New England Patriots Cancelled due to the 1987 NFL strike
4 October 4 St. Louis Cardinals W 28–21 2–1 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Recap
5 October 11 at New York Giants W 38–12 3–1 Giants Stadium Recap
6 October 19 at Dallas Cowboys W 13–7 4–1 Texas Stadium Recap
7 October 25 New York Jets W 17–16 5–1 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Recap
8 November 1 at Buffalo Bills W 27–7 6–1 Rich Stadium Recap
9 November 8 at Philadelphia Eagles L 27–31 6–2 Veterans Stadium Recap
10 November 15 Detroit Lions W 20–13 7–2 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Recap
11 November 23 Los Angeles Rams L 26–30 7–3 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Recap
12 November 29 New York Giants W 23–19 8–3 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Recap
13 December 6 at St. Louis Cardinals W 34–17 9–3 Busch Memorial Stadium Recap
14 December 13 Dallas Cowboys W 24–20 10–3 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Recap
15 December 20 at Miami Dolphins L 21–23 10–4 Joe Robbie Stadium Recap
16 December 26 at Minnesota Vikings W 27–24 (OT) 11–4 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome Recap

Game summaries

Week 1: vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Week 1: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Period 1 2 34Total
Eagles 0 10 14024
Redskins 10 7 71034

at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

Game information

Week 2: at Atlanta Falcons

Week 2: Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons
Period 1 2 34Total
Redskins 7 0 6720
Falcons 7 0 7721

at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

  • Date: September 20
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EDT
  • Game weather: 70 °F (21 °C)
  • Game attendance: 50,982
  • Referee: Ben Dreith
  • TV announcers (CBS): Verne Lundquist and Dick Vermeil
  • Box score
Game information

Week 3: vs. New England Patriots (Canceled)

The Redskins were scheduled to host the New England Patriots, but a players' strike was called following the conclusion of week 2. The week 3 slate of games were cancelled as a result. Games would resume the following week with team rosters mostly made up of replacement players.

Week 4: vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Week 4: St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Redskins
Period 1 2 34Total
Cardinals 0 7 7721
Redskins 7 7 14028

at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

Game information

In the first game since the start of the strike, Washington hosted divisional rival St. Louis. The Cardinals' roster had a few players that crossed the picket line, while the Redskins' roster was completely made up of replacement players. Wide receiver Anthony Allen finished the game with 255 receiving yards, breaking the franchise record for receiving yards in a single game.[6]

Week 5: at New York Giants

Week 5: Washington Redskins at New York Giants
Period 1 2 34Total
Redskins 3 21 7738
Giants 3 0 9012

at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

  • Date: October 11
  • Game time: 4:00 p.m. EDT
  • Game weather: 52 °F (11 °C)
  • Game attendance: 9,123
  • Referee: Tom Dooley
  • TV announcers (CBS): Pat Summerall and John Madden
  • Box score
Game information

Week 6: at Dallas Cowboys

Week 6: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Period 1 2 34Total
Redskins 3 0 7313
Cowboys 0 0 707

at Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas

Game information

Days before the game, the players' strike was ended. However, the replacement players were still in use week six due to an owner-induced deadline for the regular players to return, with the union missing the deadline. Washington traveled to Dallas to take on the Cowboys on ABC's Monday Night Football in what would be the last game to feature the replacement players. The Redskins' roster consisted entirely of replacement players while the Cowboys had several players that crossed the picket line, including star defensive tackle Randy White and running back Tony Dorsett. With the strike over, Washington was only one of two franchises to not have any players cross the picket line, with the other being the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Redskins would sign some of the replacement players to the regular roster. Players of note include wide receiver Anthony Allen and tight end Craig McEwen.

Week 7: vs. New York Jets

Week 7: New York Jets at Washington Redskins
Period 1 2 34Total
Jets 0 3 10316
Redskins 0 7 01017

at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

Game information

In the first game with its regular players since week 2, Washington hosted the New York Jets. Washington's offense struggled throughout most of the game, with fans booing the team and demanding that the replacement players be put into the game. The Redskins would comeback in the fourth quarter to defeat the Jets 17–16, with kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh kicking the game-winning field goal with just under a minute left to play.

Week 8: at Buffalo Bills

Week 8: Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills
Period 1 2 34Total
Redskins 3 14 10027
Bills 0 0 077

at Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Game information

Week 9: at Philadelphia Eagles

Week 9: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Period 1 2 34Total
Redskins 7 14 0627
Eagles 7 10 01431

at Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Date: November 8
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 52 °F (11 °C)
  • Game attendance: 63,609
  • Referee: Fred Wyant
  • TV announcers (CBS): Dick Stockton and Terry Bradshaw
  • Box score
Game information

Week 10: vs. Detroit Lions

Week 10: Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins
Period 1 2 34Total
Lions 3 0 10013
Redskins 0 17 3020

at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

  • Date: November 15
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 49 °F (9 °C)
  • Game attendance: 53,593
  • Referee: Ben Dreith
  • TV announcers (CBS): Verne Lundquist and Dick Vermeil
  • Box score
Game information

Week 11: vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 11: Los Angeles Rams at Washington Redskins
Period 1 2 34Total
Rams 14 9 7030
Redskins 9 7 3726

at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

  • Date: November 23
  • Game time: 9:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 38 °F (3 °C)
  • Game attendance: 53,614
  • TV announcers (ABC): Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf
  • Box score
Game information

Week 12: vs. New York Giants

Week 12: New York Giants at Washington Redskins
Period 1 2 34Total
Giants 10 6 3019
Redskins 0 0 91423

at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

  • Date: November 29
  • Game time: 4:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 52 °F (11 °C)
  • Game attendance: 45,815
  • Referee: Pat Haggerty
  • TV announcers (CBS): Pat Summerall and John Madden
  • Box score
Game information

Week 13: at St. Louis Cardinals

Week 13: Washington Redskins at St. Louis Cardinals
Period 1 2 34Total
Redskins 10 0 21334
Cardinals 0 14 3017

at Busch Memorial Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

  • Date: December 6
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST/12:00 p.m. CST
  • Game weather: 39 °F (4 °C)
  • Game attendance: 31,324
  • Referee: Tom Dooley
  • TV announcers (CBS): Tim Ryan and Joe Theismann
  • Box score
Game information

Week 14: vs. Dallas Cowboys

Week 14: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
Period 1 2 34Total
Cowboys 3 0 10720
Redskins 7 10 7024

at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

  • Date: December 13
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 46 °F (8 °C)
  • Game attendance: 54,882
  • Referee: Gordon McCarter
  • TV announcers (CBS): Pat Summerall and John Madden
  • Box score
Game information

Week 15: at Miami Dolphins

Week 15: Washington Redskins at Miami Dolphins
Period 1 2 34Total
Redskins 0 7 7721
Dolphins 0 9 01423

at Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

Game information

Week 16: at Minnesota Vikings

Week 16: Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings
Period 1 2 34OTTotal
Redskins 0 7 710327
Vikings 7 0 017024

at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Date: December 26
  • Game time: 4:00 p.m. EST/3:00 p.m. CST
  • Game weather: None (played indoors)
  • Game attendance: 59,160
  • TV: CBS
  • Box score
Game information

Standings

NFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Washington Redskins(3) 11 4 0 .733 7–1 9–3 379 285 W1
Dallas Cowboys 7 8 0 .467 4–4 5–7 340 348 W2
St. Louis Cardinals 7 8 0 .467 3–5 7–7 362 368 L1
Philadelphia Eagles 7 8 0 .467 3–5 4–7 337 380 W2
New York Giants 6 9 0 .400 3–5 4–8 280 312 W2

Postseason

Redskins cornerback Barry Wilburn, pictured in the NFC Championship game, was a key player in Washington's defensive unit who snagged two interceptions during Super Bowl XXII.

Main article: 1987–88 NFL playoffs

Schedule

Playoff Round Date Opponent (Seed) Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
NFC Divisional Playoffs January 10, 1988 at Chicago Bears (2) W 21–17 1–0 Soldier Field Recap
NFC Championship January 17, 1988 Minnesota Vikings (5) W 17–10 2–0 RFK Stadium Recap
Super Bowl XXII January 31, 1988 Denver Broncos (A1) W 42–10 3–0 Jack Murphy Stadium Recap

Game summaries

Divisional Rounds at Chicago Bears

NFC Divisional Playoffs: (3) Washington Redskins at (2) Chicago Bears
Period 1 2 34Total
Redskins 0 14 7021
Bears 7 7 3017

at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois

Game information

After a first-round bye, Washington's playoff run began in the divisional round at Chicago. The Bears were the NFC's 2nd-seed, having finished the regular season at 11–4 and winning the NFC Central. Chicago jumped out to a 14–0 lead, but Washington would score 21 unanswered points, winning the game 21–17.

NFC Championship vs. Minnesota Vikings

NFC Championship: (5) Minnesota Vikings at (3) Washington Redskins
Period 1 2 34Total
Vikings 0 7 0310
Redskins 7 0 3717

at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

Game information

After defeating the Bears in the divisional round, the Redskins hosted the surprising Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship. Minnesota just scraped into the playoffs, finishing the regular season 8–7, earning the NFC's fifth and final seed. The Vikings finished the regular season losing three of their last four, but pulled off two major upsets once the playoffs started. Minnesota defeated the 12–3 New Orleans Saints 44–10 in the wild card round, then took down the NFC's top seed, the San Francisco 49ers, 36–24 in the divisional round.

Washington would end Minnesota's run of upsets, limiting the Vikings' run game to only 76 yards and sacked quarterback Wade Wilson eight times. The Vikings' defense would limit Doug Williams, who finished the game only completing 9 passes on 26 attempts for 119 yards. The Redskins' defense prevented a game-tying touchdown in the final minute of regulation to give Washington the 17–10 victory and send the team to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in franchise history.

Super Bowl XXII

Main article: Super Bowl XXII

Super Bowl XXII: (N3) Washington Redskins vs. (A1) Denver Broncos
Period 1 2 34Total
Redskins 0 35 0742
Broncos 10 0 0010

at Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego, California

Game information

After defeating the Vikings in the NFC championship, the Redskins faced off against the AFC champion Denver Broncos, who were making their second-straight Super Bowl appearance. The Broncos faced off against the Browns in the AFC Championship Game, with Denver having a 38–31 lead in the waning minutes of the game. The Browns drove down the field and looked like they would score the game-tying touchdown, but running back Earnest Byner was stripped of the ball at the goal line by Bronco cornerback Jeremiah Castille and recovered the ball for Denver. This was the Redskins' fourth Super Bowl appearance and the third overall for the Broncos.

The Broncos jumped out to a 10–0 first quarter lead, with Denver finishing the quarter with 142 yards against Washington's 64. Starting quarterback Doug Williams briefly exited the game late in the first quarter and early in the second due to a possible leg injury, with Jay Schroeder entering the game. Williams's return to the game ignited a spark in the Redskins' offense, scoring 35-straight points to lead 35–10 at halftime. After a scoreless third quarter, Washington would score the last points of the game in the fourth to go up 42–10. After a slow first quarter, the team would score 42 unanswered points and gained 602 yards of total offense.

Williams was named the game's MVP, finishing 18-of-29 for 340 yards, with four touchdowns, and one interception, breaking the Super Bowl record for most passing yards. Washington broke other Super Bowl records, including most rushing yards by a player (Timmy Smith, with 204), most receiving yards by a player (Ricky Sanders, with 193), and most extra points made (Ali Haji-Sheikh, with 6). The 45 combined points scored in the first half set the record for most points scored in a half, while the 7 points scored in the second half set the record for the fewest points scored in a half. This was Washington's second Super Bowl victory, having previously won Super Bowl XVII 27–17 over the Miami Dolphins.

Statistics

Team

Category Total yards Yards per game NFL rank
(out of 28)
Passing offense 3,495 233.0 4th
Rushing offense 2,102 140.1 7th
Total offense 5,597 373.1 3rd
Passing defense 3,343 222.9 24th
Rushing defense 1,679 111.9 10th
Total defense 5,022 334.8 18th

Individual

Category Player Total
Offense
Passing yards Jay Schroeder 1,878
Passing touchdowns Jay Schroeder 12
Rushing yards George Rogers 613
Rushing touchdowns George Rogers 6
Receiving yards Gary Clark 1,066
Receiving touchdowns Gary Clark 7
Defense
Tackles Monte Coleman 107
Sacks Charles Mann 9.5
Interceptions Barry Wilburn 9

References

  1. ^ The 1982 season also had a players' strike
  2. ^ As of the 2014 season, he is one of only two African-American quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl, the other being Russell Wilson; Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb and Cam Newton have all started at quarterback in the Super Bowl, but each of the three lost their Super Bowl appearance.
  3. ^ "Historical Newspapers from 1700s-2000s".
  4. ^ "Redskins to Award 1987 Replacement Players with Super Bowl Rings". Bleacher Report.
  5. ^ a b c Sports Illustrated, Oct. 27, 2008, p.24, Vol. 109, No. 16
  6. ^ McKenna, Dave (October 20, 2010). "Anthony Allen, Redskins Record-Holding Receiver, Gets Bounced From High School Job". Washington City Paper. Retrieved August 20, 2023.