Super Bowl XXVI Review: Washington Redskins vs. Buffalo Bills
By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Date: January 26, 1992
Site: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Point Spread: Washington Redskins -7/Buffalo Bills +7
Score: Washington Redskins 37, Buffalo Bills 24
MVP: QB Mark Rypien
In Super Bowl XXVI, the Washington Redskins became the 4th team to win three Super Bowls at the expense of the Buffalo Bills. For the Bills, they were coming off the heartbreak of Super Bowl XXV--when a missed Scott Norwood field goal left the favored Bills empty-handed. In Super Bowl 26, the Bills were underdogs against the powerhouse Redskins, who were the top-scoring team in the league at 14-2.
The Bills had a great offense this season, with Jim Kelly leading the no-huddle offense. Their defense had taken a step back and was one of the more porous units in the league, with DE Bruce Smith out for a big chunk of time. Kelly had passed for 3844 yards and 33 touchdowns. RB Thurman Thomas was huge in 1991, rushing for 1407 yards and catching 62 balls. Legendary WR James Lofton was over 1000 yards, as was Bills standout Andre Reed, who caught 81 balls.
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The Redskins had once again managed to field a powerful team, this time led by QB Mark Rypien, who had over 3500 yards and 28 touchdowns. His weapons were considerable. Veteran Art Monk, who was there during the Redskins’ superbowl wins in the 80’s, was still productive with over 1000 yards. WR Gary Clark had a big year, with 1340 yards receiving. Earnest Byner was over 1000 yards rushing and RB Gerald Riggs had ten rushing touchdowns. The offense was deep and talented, led by “The Hogs”--the great Washington offensive line.
The Redskins, with the 3rd-ranked defense in the league, stormed through the playoffs, beating the Atlanta Falcons 24-7. Then in the NFC title game, the Redskins beat the Detroit Lions and Barry Sanders in a lopsided 41-10 win. The Bills, 13-3, beat the Kansas City Chiefs 37-14 to get to the AFC title game, where they beat the Broncos 10-7 in a defensive battle to make their second consecutive Super Bowl.
Super Bowl 26 Recap
First Half: A shootout was expected in Super Bowl 26 by the two best-scoring offenses in the league. While that eventually ensued, with the 61 points being the third highest-scoring Bowl in history, the first quarter was scoreless. In the second quarter, the Redskins started to gain control. A nice run by Byner led to a Chip Lohmiller field goal to give Washington a 3-0 lead. After a three-and-out, the Redskins took over at midfield. A short drive culminated in a ten-yard touchdown pass to Byner to make the score 10-0.
A Darrell Green interception got the Redskins at about midfield again. Rypien, who won the Super Bowl MVP, connected with Clark for 35 yards. A few plays later, power-runner Riggs took it in from a yard out and the Redskins were now up 17-0. The Bills drove to end the half, but their momentum stalled. A personal foul by Andre Reed, who threw his helmet down in frustration, took the Bills out of field position to end the half.
Second Half: Super Bowl 1992 went from bad to worse for the Bills. Redskins linebacker Kurt Gouveia picked off Kelly, returning it to the Bills’ 2. Riggs scored again from 2 yards to make it 24-0. But the Bills started to find their footing. A nice drive led to a Norwood field goal to make the score 24-3. On their next drive, a pass interference got the Bills close and Thurman Thomas pounded it in to make it 24-10.
Later in the third quarter, the Redskins began an extensive drive and when Gary Clark caught a 30-yard touchdown pass to make it 31-10, it looked bad for Buffalo. On the Bills’ next drive, Kelly fumbled the ball after being sacked. Washington’s drive stalled, but a Lohmiller field goal made it 34-10.
In the 4th quarter, Kelly was again intercepted and a Lohmiller field goal pushed the lead to 37-10, more or less putting Super Bowl glory out of Buffalo’s grasp. A pair of 4th quarter Buffalo touchdowns made the final score a more-respectable 37-24, but this Super Bowl Sunday was all Washington, who won their third ring. For Buffalo, more Super Bowl anguish still lied ahead.