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Redskins win, stand alone atop East

November 18, 1996

By WAYNE COFFEY

New York Daily News

PHILADELPHIA - The last time the Redskins left The Vet with smiles on their faces, the local QB was Randall Cunningham, the local coach was Buddy Ryan and the local fans were in an uproar because Ryan had replaced Cunningham with Jim McMahon in an NFC playoff game.

That was 1990. By the slimmest of margins, the Redskins finally took another one here Sunday, surviving a crackling good first-place NFC East showdown with the Eagles, 26-21, climbing into the division lead and winning what Redskins cornerback Darrell Green called the team's biggest game since the '91 Super Bowl season.

``Better us than them,'' Green said. ``(But) talk to me after 16 weeks.''

``I'm not an excuse-maker, and we got our butts kicked today,'' said Ray Rhodes, coach of the 7-4 Eagles.

The Redskins (8-3) ended a two-game slide, and helped ease the hideous memory of yielding 522 passing yards to Boomer Esiason in last week's overtime loss to the Cardinals. They did it thanks to the soft hands of tight end Jamie Asher (two touchdowns), a huge stand by a maligned defense and an excruciating miss by Eagles wide receiver Chris T. Jones, who let a potential game-winning TD pass from quarterback Ty Detmer zip through his hands with 15 seconds remaining.

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It was one of four cracks Detmer took from the Redskins 20 in the waning seconds.

The Redskins never trailed, taking leads of 10-0, 20-7 and 23-14. They went up early on the first of Scott Blanton's four field goals, then capitalized on a fumble by Ricky Watters, Gus Frerotte finding Asher on a 12-yard strike.

Asher's second TD came early in the third, a 7-yard curl from Frerotte, making it 20-7.

The Eagles started slowly and were sloppy on special teams, but never stopped fighting. Jones hauled in a 13-yard strike from Detmer late in the third. When Watters, who complained last week he was not getting the ball enough, knifed into the end zone for his second 1-yard TD, it capped a 10-play, 79-yard drive and brought the Eagles within 23-21 with 7:45 to play.

After another Blanton field goal, the Eagles started at their 28, with no timeouts and 1:57 to play. Detmer drove the Eagles to the Washington 20 with 24 seconds left, but that's where the Eagles stalled.

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