Shortly after Dustin Hopkins kicked a field goal to give the Redskins a 24-0 lead early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game in Arizona, Fox announcers Thom Brennaman and Chris Spielman casually mentioned that Washington had gone an NFL record 440 games, including the playoffs, since its most recent shutout. Cardinals running back David Johnson scored on a two-yard touchdown run a few minutes later to mar an otherwise dominant defensive performance and extend the streak, which is even more bonkers than the fact that the Cleveland Browns’ 0-0-1 start is their best to a season since 2004.
According to Pro Football Reference, there have been 199 regular season shutouts since the Redskins blanked the Eagles on Sept. 30, 1991, or an average of about six per team. Every franchise, except the Redskins, has at least two shutouts during that span. The Ravens, who didn’t exist before 1996, have a league-best 13 shutouts since Week 6 of the 1991 season, followed by the Steelers’ 12, while the 49ers, Patriots and Seahawks all have 11 in that time. The Jaguars and Panthers, who entered the league in 1995, have six shutouts apiece.
The Cardinals and Vikings both registered shutouts in Week 16 last year, ending what had been the second- and third-longest streaks without a shutout in NFL history at 400 and 386 regular season games, respectively. (The Redskins’ regular season shutout-less streak now stands at 428 games.) The only teams besides the Redskins without a shutout this century are the Titans, who blanked the Cowboys on Christmas Day 2000, and the Lions, who have gone 347 regular season games since shutting out the Buccaneers in Week 5 of the 1996 season.
The Redskins, who have been shut out seven times since recording their most recent shutout, have come close to ending the streak on a few occasions over the past 27 years. On Nov. 2, 1997, Bears wide receiver Ricky Proehl caught a touchdown pass from Erik Kramer with five minutes remaining in a 31-8 Washington win at Soldier Field. On Sept 24, 2000, Washington led the Giants 16-0 late in the fourth quarter on “Sunday Night Football” in rookie linebacker LaVar Arrington’s first start. Ike Hilliard caught a touchdown pass from Kerry Collins with 2:25 remaining, extending the streak in the Redskins’ 16-6 win. Sunday marked the 18th time since Washington’s most recent shutout that it held an opponent to six or fewer points, and the first time since 2012. It was only the fifth time during Redskins Coach Jay Gruden’s tenure that his team carried a shutout into the second half.
Adding to the ridiculousness of Washington’s shutout drought is that it began after the Redskins put together one of the stingiest defensive stretches in NFL history. The Redskins’ 23-0 win over the Eagles before 55,198 at RFK Stadium in Week 5 in 1991 was their third consecutive home shutout to open the season. The last team to do that was the Detroit Lions . . . in 1934.
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