Football Outsiders recently put together a list of the top 30 NFL offenses of the last 30 years. The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t make that list, but they did appear twice on FO’s list of the top 30 defenses … including the No. 1 overall spot. Via ESPN In$ider:
1. 1991 Philadelphia Eagles: -42.4 percent
Looking at raw points scored and allowed can sometimes disguise the true strength of a defense because of problems on the other side of the ball. No team in modern NFL history exemplifies this quite like the 1991 Eagles. After Randall Cunningham tore an ACL 15 minutes into the first game of the season, the Eagles’ offense collapsed. The defense spent the season constantly defending short fields. So while the Eagles gave up just 3.92 yards per play, the third-best figure since the move to a 16-game season in 1978, they finished fifth overall in points allowed in 1991.
Opposing quarterbacks completed just 44.1 percent of passes, the lowest rate for any defense since 1978. They led the NFL with 55 sacks and 43 forced fumbles. They finished third with 26 interceptions. And the defense wasn’t one-dimensional: The Eagles allowed just 2.97 yards per carry on the ground, which ranks fifth since 1978. They put up these obscene numbers in standard stats despite playing the fourth-toughest defensive schedule in the league. Their division rivals finished first (Washington), fourth (Dallas) and sixth (New York) in offensive DVOA.
This was the late Buddy Ryan’s defense, but without Ryan. He had been fired as head coach at the end of 1990. Rich Kotite was the head coach and Bud Carson the defensive coordinator. Three of the…
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