Home > NFL Time > The Defense Rules in the Land of the Offense

The Defense Rules in the Land of the Offense

This season the offense has ruled over a majority of the league. Starting off strong from the beginning, huge offensive numbers have been put up every week. Continuing well into the playoffs until the defenses struck back.

The 49ers and the Ravens were the two teams whose defenses have been talked about all season, both teams secured a first round bye and the home field advantage in the playoffs. However coming into the playoffs the “defense wins” idea was scrutinized. Most people thought a strong offense would be required to prevail in the playoffs. Perhaps most people were wrong.

In the wildcard round we saw the Texans shut down the Bengals, winning 31-10. In that same weekend the Giants’ defense kept the Falcons’ offense from scoring a single time, the Falcons’ only 2 points coming from a safety as the result of an intentional grounding penalty against the Giants in the end zone. The Broncos beat the Steelers with a strong offensive performance closing out the game 29-23. The Saints however beat the Lions 45-28, seeming to support the idea that a strong offense is indeed required to advance in the playoffs.

The first game of the divisional round was the Saints at the 49ers. With a combined 68 points, the 36-32 win by the 49ers with :09 left on the clock by way of a touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis, the trend appeared to have been set for the weekend. But the game between the Broncos and the Patriots, although having a combined 55 points, was one-sided. The Patriots kept the Broncos to just 10 points, but the work of their defense was overshadowed by their offense, with a final score of 45-10. The Texans traveled to Baltimore to face the Ravens, and the two defenses clashed, keeping the score low in the Ravens’ 20-13 win over the Texans.

It was the final game of the weekend that would solidify the idea of a good defense winning in the playoffs. The Giants beat the Packers at Lambeau Field 37-20. If someone told you this year you only needed to score 21 points, three touchdowns, to beat the Packers in the playoffs, you probably would have laughed at them, or questioned their sanity. The Giants did more, they scored 37. In the end it was the Giants’ defense that kept the Green Bay Packers’ offense to a mere 20 points, at Lambeau Field, in the playoffs.

There have been some big plays made on the offensive side of the ball, no doubt being played over and over in clips both online and on TV. But it was the work of great defenses that won three out of four games this week, and regardless of what the scores look like next week in the conference championships, you can be sure there is a well-oiled defense running at maximum capacity behind the curtains of the winning team’s offense.

The real debate this year, considering this is a new era of huge offensive numbers, should have been can defense win a Superbowl.

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