Thom Loverro: Redskins have a 1960s vibe

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Photo - Kathy Willens/AP
Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, who leads the NFL in yards per carry, has led the Redskins to 28.7 points a game this season.
Kathy Willens/AP Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, who leads the NFL in yards per carry, has led the Redskins to 28.7 points a game this season.
Sports,NFL,Redskins,Thom Loverro

If you are a younger Washington Redskins fan, ask your grandfather about being a fan of this franchise when he was your age. It's not that different this year.

Just like in 2012, the Redskins consisted of an explosive offense and a frightening defense in the mid-1960s.

As in the offense exploded past the opposition, and the defense frightened Redskins fans.

Sunday's 27-23 loss to the New York Giants followed what seems to be the blueprint for the 2012 Redskins -- a high-powered, exciting offense married to a defense that seems incapable of stopping anyone.

It makes losing excruciating at times, as it did Sunday when the Redskins led 23-20 in the final two minutes of the game after a 30-yard touchdown pass from Robert Griffin III to Santana Moss. They lost it on a 77-yard scoring pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz a few seconds later.

These are your grandfather's Washington Redskins.

In the mid-1960s, the Redskins, led by quarterback Sonny Jurgensen and offensive weapons Charley Taylor and Jerry Smith, consisted of entertaining but losing teams. They averaged about 25 points a game in 1966 and 1967 but posted 7-7 and 5-6-3 records in those years.

"In some of those years, we had good years and put up some big numbers offensively, but we would lose games 31-30 or 34-31. We had to put up points," Jurgensen told me, recalling those years in my book, "Hail Victory: An Oral History of the Washington Redskins."

Taylor also recalled the stark differences between the two units that defined those Redskins teams.

"We had such a strong offense, I don't think there was anybody in the league that could compete with us offensively," he said. "It was just that we couldn't stop anybody."

The Redskins actually scored fewer points than their average -- 28.7 per game -- Sunday against the Giants. But it followed the pattern that has been established in the first seven weeks of the year -- the need to put up points because this defense can't stop anybody.

The Redskins have scored 201 points this season, marking the fourth time since the 1970 merger that the team has reached 200 points in its first seven games. They've also given up 210 points.

It may be little solace to Redskins fans, but it certainly makes winning and losing far more interesting than we've seen around here for some time, and it also shows fans and players alike that as long as RGIII is the quarterback, they've got a chance to win -- providing they score enough points.

Just like your grandfather felt when Jurgensen was under center.

Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

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Thom Loverro

Sports columnist
The Washington Examiner