In today's Rewarding Moments In Washington History presented by Maryland Lottery My Lottery Rewards, we look back to the 1991 season when Washington won Super Bowl XXVI with a 37-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
Washington was one of the most dominant teams in the league and franchise history during the 1991 season. After starting 11-0 and closing out the regular season 14-2, Washington went on to dominate its two postseason contests, earning the team a trip to Super Bowl XXVI at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota to take on the Buffalo Bills (15-3).
After a scoreless first quarter, Washington's offense kicked it into high gear in the second jumping to a 17-0 lead heading into half with a 34-yard field goal from Chip Lohmiller, a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mark Rypien to Earnest Byner and a one-yard rushing touchdown from Gerald Riggs.
The Bills received the ball first in the second half, but Buffalo's quarterback Jim Kelly quickly turned the ball over after Washington's linebacker Kurt Gouveia picked off his pass and returned it to the Bills two-yard line. Sixteen seconds into the second half, Washington extended its lead to 24-0 after Riggs ran the ball two yards for a touchdown.
Later in the third Buffalo cut its deficit to 24-10, but Rypien responded with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Gary Clark. As Washington kept extending its lead Buffalo was unable to catch up, and by the time the clock had expired, Washington became Super Bowl XXVI champions with a 37-24 win over the Bills.
Rypien secured the Super Bowl MVP award by finishing the game 18-of-33 for 292 yards, and Washington's defense also had an impressive showing. It held Buffalo to only 43 rushing yards and closed out the game with four picks and five sacks for a loss of 46 yards.
Starting at cornerback for Washington was Martin Mayhew, who not only a had significant impact during the Super Bowl but in every game throughout the season. Fast forward 30 years, Mayhew returned to Washington and was hired as the team's new general manager. He recently reflected on his stint in Washington as a player with Senior Vice President of Media and Content Julie Donaldson
"I have so many fond memories of that team and those teams that I played on for those four years and those teammates. It was really just the best football that I've ever been around. It's the best I ever played, it's the best team I ever played for and the best teammates that I ever had," said Mayhew. "As I think back on it, some of the guys that we had there, guys like Darrell Green, who I look up to so much even to this day, guys like Art Monk, the Hogs, obviously, there were just so many great teammates. And the coaching staff that we had back then was really exceptional."