20 saddest moments in Washington Commanders history

Sean Taylor
Sean Taylor / James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders saddest games - Part 2

Commanders vs. Cowboys

  • November 28, 1974 - Texas Stadium

Clint Longley. I don’t have to say anymore, do I?

Okay, if you’re blissfully ignorant of this particular misery, just know that in a late-season Thanksgiving Day game with major playoff implications, Washington knocked out Dallas starting quarterback Roger Staubach and held a 13-point second-half lead before some totally unknown rookie from Abilene Christian engineered two separate comebacks to pull out a miracle win for the Cowboys.

Commanders vs. Cowboys

  • December 16, 1979 - Texas Stadium

This time, Staubach stayed in the game – and broke Washington fans’ hearts all by himself. Well, I suppose he had help from Ron Springs and Drew Pearson. Those are the Cowboys who caught touchdown passes from the signal-caller in the latter half of the fourth quarter to pull out a 35-34 victory – and keep the now-Commanders out of the playoffs.

What made it even sadder for Washington was the fact they began the day almost guaranteed a playoff spot. Even if they fell to Dallas, Chicago would need an improbable 31-point victory over St. Louis to move ahead. But the Bears sacked the Cards’ quarterbacks nine times and won 42-6. 

Washington was left out in the cold.

Commanders vs. Eagles

  • November 12, 1990 - Veterans Stadium

The Body Bag Game. Do I need to say more?

A few weeks before the Dallas game just mentioned, Washington had played the Pittsburgh Steelers. This team was nearing the end of its dominant run, winning four Super Bowls over a six-year span. They were the greatest team I ever saw play.

Washington lost 38-7 and it was the first time I ever feared for the physical well-being of the team I loved. The game against Philadelphia 11 years later was worse.

The Eagles openly gloated as they knocked player after player out of the game. Nine Washington players left the game with injuries. Five had to be carted off. At one point, a player asked if Washington needed more body bags – hence the famous nickname.

It happened in front of a national TV audience on Monday, and it was totally humiliating. Fortunately, Washington had a coach back then named Joe Gibbs who knew how to use such humiliation as motivation.

The next time the teams played – in the playoffs – the now-Commanders ended the Eagles season.