Santana Moss and the Untold Story of the ‘Monday Night Miracle’

WASHINGTON — Every Redskins fan remembers the game. Every Cowboys fan has worked to forget it for the past decade.

The Monday Night Miracle.

Sept. 19, 2005. Monday Night Football, Redskins and Cowboys, Week 2, in Dallas, where the Redskins had yet to win a game in owner Dan Snyder’s tenure.

The Redskins trailed 13-0 with six minutes left in regulation. Having won their Week 1 matchup with the Chicago Bears by a score of 9-7, the Redskins had yet to score a touchdown in 114 minutes of football thus far in the 2005 season. Dallas coach Bill Parcells had never lost a game in which his team led by at least 13 points at some point in the fourth quarter, sporting a remarkable 77-0 record in those situations.

Coach Joe Gibbs led a Redskins team headed by quarterback Mark Brunell, running back Clinton Portis (known in the story below as “CP”), tight end Chris Cooley and, of course, wide receiver Santana Moss. The Cowboys’ secondary boasted 25-year-old safety Roy Williams, who was coming off his second Pro Bowl in a span of five straight, and eventual Pro Bowler Terence Newman.

We’ll let Moss, who joined Grant and Danny in studio Thursday, take it from here.

“Well to be honest, if it wasn’t for CP going to the coaches to tell them I was pissed off about not running the plays that we ran all week, it would’ve never happened. We’re getting our behinds kicked all game, and I don’t see nothing that we ran in practice that they wanted me to get open with. I’m like, ‘Coach, we’re trying to go through the scheme. There’s no scheme. We’re losing.’

So I’m pissed off, but I’ve always been a cat that, I don’t say too much to the coaches. Let them do their job, because you should know better. You’re the coach. You know when to put us in the right position, we have to make the plays.

So CP asked me what’s wrong. [I said,] ‘Man, we ain’t run nothing that we designed all week.’ He goes in, cusses the coach out, coach comes back…says ‘You want to run that Dino route?’ ‘Yes sir.’ ‘Let’s run the Dino.’ A Dino was a post, corner, post. That was the first touchdown. We go out there, run the Dino, and boom! Hit it. Touchdown. I remember he stepped up into the pocket, and he actually gunned it so far I actually came off the post and I’m looking like, ‘Oh I gotta go get it!’ And I end up catching it in the middle of the back of the endzone.

And I come to the sideline, and every coach’s eyes are wide open like, ‘This guy’s really been waiting.’ And I’m looking at them, and they’re like, ‘Get ready, we going again.’ We go out there, we stop these guys, the next play we’re gonna run that same play. So we go on the back side, we call a post this time. [Gibbs] says ‘Tana, you know how they been playing. You can beat this backside safety.’ Someone jumps offside, something happened, we change the formation and go back to the right side. Run the post, and you have [Williams] sitting back there, flat-footed, and we’re waiting for Cooley to make his break, and I get behind him and it’s a wrap. It’s history.”

One stop later, and it’s over. The Redskins win, 14-13.

“That still, by the way, is my favorite Redskins game ever,” host Grant Paulsen said. “If you’re older than me, you’ve got championships, I don’t. I’m 28, I don’t have that stuff. I’ve got Santana beating the Cowboys on Monday night. I got sent to my room for dropping F-bombs. Because my mom sitting there watching with me, and my buddy Steve was over, and I just started saying, ‘F Dallas!’ over and over, I mean I was just going nuts. And my mom was like, ‘Go to your room.’ I was like ‘The game’s not over yet. I’ll go afterwards, because I’m going to sleep. It’s one in the morning.'”

Moss then reminisced about seeing the late, legendary Redskins fan Chief Zee in the endzone after the second touchdown, a story he originally told to Chad Dukes last month on 106.7 The Fan.

“You don’t understand the feeling that I had when I was running toward the endzone, and I could see the Chief, sitting in the back of the endzone, just waiting for me with his hands open, and I’m like, ‘Here’s my moment.’ I’d been waiting to see this guy. It was only the second game of the season, I hadn’t seen him yet. And I get to beat these guys tonight and see the Chief.”

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