Wednesday, May 30, 2012

APR's top 25 regular season upsets: #12

...and we're back!

#12: 1983 Redskins 47, Packers 48 (ρ=1.3044)
Redskins' season: finished 14-2, clinched the #1 seed in the NFC, and lost to the Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII.
Packers' season: finished 8-8. Head coach Bart Starr was fired after the end of the season.
What happened: remember how I said a few weeks ago that sometimes a good offense needs help from its defense? This is the second installment of that series.
This was a Redskins team with a powerhouse offense—they scored 27 or more points in all but 3 games that season, and it was a big reason they returned to the Super Bowl that year. The problem for the 1983 Redskins was (a lot of the time, anyway) their defense wasn't anything special—they gave up 20 or more points in 10 games.
The Packers actually had a decent offense in '82 and '83, especially considering it consisted of quarterback Lynn Dickie, wide receiver James Lofton, and a bunch of other guys who went on to well-deserved obscurity. But the Packers had one of the worst defenses of the league that year, and most games were a race to see if the offense could score more points than the defense gave up.
So the Redskins came into Lambeau field, probably expecting a relatively easy win, and instead found they were facing an offense that was able to match them score-for-score throughout the game, and couldn't quite manage to have the lead when time expired.
Also of note: this game remains one of the highest scoring in the NFL, and holds the record for most points scored on Monday Night Football.

Next week: the Cowboys lose to one of the worst teams in recent history, and it costs them a spot in the playoffs.