SI Vault
Rick Telander
February 03, 1992
The Washington Redskins were exquisite in their 37-24 Super Bowl destruction of the Buffalo Bills
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February 03, 1992


The Washington Redskins were exquisite in their 37-24 Super Bowl destruction of the Buffalo Bills

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The wait seemed interminable—maybe it was because of all the time the out-of-towners spent in the Minneapolis Skyway System (15 miles of clean, elevated halls connected to cash machines) searching for Kirby Puckett or Prince or the store where Prince buys his pants—but now, at last, we have the answers to a number of nettlesome questions.

1) If the Washington Redskins played the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl 10 times, with two weeks to prepare, how many times would the Skins win? Answer: nine (10, if Bills defensive line coach Chuck Dickerson were allowed to speak before every game).

2) Does Washington quarterback Mark Rypien have charisma? Answer: Yes, if completing 18 passes in 33 attempts for 292 yards and two touchdowns and winning one MVP award is your idea of excitement.

3) What tool is used to sculpt ice? Answer: a chain saw.

4) Whom would you want standing between you and a riled-up band of crazed assassins? Answer: the Hogs.

5) Who is Brad Edwards? Answer: a spokesperson for the South Carolina Wildlife Commission, who also happens to be Washington's starting free safety. A 1990 free-agent pickup who supposedly was the weak spot in the Skins'secondary, Edwards had four tackles, five passes broken up, two interceptions that he ran back for a total of 56 yards, and the respect of every Bills receiver who wandered past the line of scrimmage on Sunday.

6) What does Buffalo running back Thurman Thomas put inside his helmet? Answer: Well, O.K., we haven't gotten that far yet.

The thrust here is that the Redskins arc a good team, a very good team—a damn good team. They won the league championship by crushing Buffalo 37-24 in a game that wasn't as close as the score suggests. Maybe we should reflect on the simple fact of Washington's superiority—and not only over the Bills—for just a moment. The Skins won 17 games this season and lost only twice. They whipped their NFC playoff foes, the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions, by a combined score of 65-17. They tied the New Orleans Saints for the best turnover ratio during the regular season with + 18, and then they went +13 through three postseason games. They have the premier offensive line in the league (the aforementioned Hogs), the best trio of wide receivers ( Gary Clark, Art Monk and Ricky Sanders) and the best coach ( Joe Gibbs).

"If we'd scored before the half," said Bills center Kent Hull after the game, "we could have won." No, they couldn't have. Washington led 17-0 at intermission, but if the score had been 17-7 or 17-17, the Redskins still would have sucked it up and won. They are a team of remarkable strength and determination. Boring, perhaps, but disciplined and smart. "If the rest of Washington ran as efficiently as this football team, there wouldn't be any deficit," said Skins center Jeff Bostic, while ripping tape off his knees after the game and puffing on a big cigar.

Washington did face one gut-check moment, in the third quarter, shortly after Thomas—who had complained all week about the lack of media respect he received and then missed the first two plays of the game because he couldn't find his helmet (box, page 22)—raced around left end for a one-yard TD to make the score 24-10. Buffalo had been out of sync all day; when quarterback Jim Kelly wasn't missing receivers or having his passes dropped (at least two touchdown throws clanged off his receivers' hands in the first 33 minutes), he was getting clobbered by Redskins defensive linemen Fred Stokes(six tackles, one sack, one fumble forced and recovered), Jumpy Geathers (three tackles, one sack) and Tim Johnson (five tackles), not to mention being pounded by blitzing linebackers Andre Collins and Wilber Marshall (a game-high 11 tackles, one sack, a pass defensed and two fumbles forced).

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