I throw that out there, then I shuffle away quietly so that the big bad boy Patriots don't hear me and beat me up. The truth is, there's nothing critical to be said of New England's start thus far, and they are the last team in the NFL I would want to face on Sunday. That's next weekend. [Which is also why a win against the Cardinals is so vital, since losing very well will precede a loss to the Patriots, thus flushing us below .500.]
Let's get this out of the way: I don't hate the Patriots, I fear them. I fear what they will do to my beloved team. But whatever horrible, mean, unholy things they decide to do to us, they can't take away the great things this franchise has already accomplished. Thus I'm free to engage in pissing contests between this year's Patriots and historic Redskins teams, or at least watch gleefully as someone else does it. Street Cred decided to research which team in recent history had the best 6-0 start and compared them to the Patriots. Teams repeatedly fell; '72 Dolphins were no match, '85 Bears, no match, '98 Broncos, naw son. But how 'bout them Redskins (of '91)?
1991 Redskins (6-0) - The 1991 Redskins would start off the season 11-0 before losing to Dallas 24-21. They finished 14-2 losing their 2 games by 5 combined points. They outscored the opposition 189 to 65 in those first 6 games, winning by a margin of 20.7 points per game. For one season this was one of the best teams in the history of the NFL. I would actually say the Redskins start was more impressive than the Patriots start for a couple of reasons. First, the Redskins pitched 3 shutouts in their first 6 games. This is far more impressive than what the Patriots have done on defense. In that 6 game stretch, they beat the Lions 45-0 and would later face them in that season's NFC Championship Game. They beat Dallas 33-31 in Dallas, who also made the playoffs at 11-5. The next season would start the Dallas run of 3 Super Bowls in 4 years. They beat the Bears 20-7, who also made the playoffs at 11-5. The only blemish was a weak divisional game against Phoenix, won by Washington 34-27. Phoenix was actually 2-0 when they lost to Washington, but finished the season 4-12. The Patriots meanwhile have beaten opponents with a record of 14-20, and when you consider Dallas is 5-1, that isn't very good. The Redskins opponents had a 19-17 record, including 4 teams that would win 10+ games on the season. Three of those teams made the playoffs. When you consider that the Redskins scored over 30 points in 4 of the 6 contests combined with 3 shutouts, against that level of competition; I believe this is the best (6-0) start in the history of the NFL. Advantage: Redskins
And he sticks with that final strong statement, listing their 6-0 start as the unquestioned hegemon among truly gifted teams. The greatest thing about this story is that it wasn't merely a moral victory, as that Redskin team went 14-2 and won the Super Bowl. They would finish the season 1st in scoring offense 2nd in scoring defense. The only two losses on the schedule were against Dallas and Philly, both close games, the latter a meaningless one at the end of the season when, I believe, homefield advantage was clinched. Mark Rypien played inspired and blasted off 28 touchdowns on just 11 picks. We weren't a dual threat at running back so much as we were a triple
thread; Earnest Byner and Ricky Ervins combined for over 1,700 yards rushing and nearly 500 yards receiving, picking up 9 touchdowns on the way. Gerald Riggs added 78 rushed for 248 yards, but was best remembered for a team leading 11 touchdown runs. This was personnel management at its absolute finest, utilizing players according to their strengths. If there were a model for mimicry on how our current ground game should operate with Portis, Betts, and Sellers, the 1991 Redskins are it.
We had two thousand yard receivers in Gary Clark (1340) and Art Monk (1049) though Monk had more receptions. Ricky Sanders rounded us out with 45 receptions, 580 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Tight ends existed to block.
Were the Pro Bowl played by 7-man football teams, we could've fielded an entire roster; Byner, Clark, Darrell Green, Jim Lachey, Charles Mann(beast), Rypien, and Mark Schlereth all made the PB that year.
And it wasn't just a monstrous start to the regular season; the 'Skins were undefeated going into week 13. In week 7 we ruined a Bill Belichick coached Browns team 42-17. On the weeks preceding our first loss to the Cowboys, we'd beaten the Steelers 41-14 and an Atlanta Falcons team 56-17 that would finish 10-6 and would get the unfortunate draw of playing us in the postseason where we handled them 24-7. Our average margin of victory in the playoffs was over 20 points per game.
Robble robble in the good old days we beat opponents in the snow, naked, playing uphill both ways, with an onion on our belt. Nostalgia has me now, and kudos to Street Cred for putting the Patriots impressive start in context.
You bad, New England, but you ain't that bad. Hail.