Patriots’ offense has been just as dominant as Seahawks’ defense
Colts. New England joins the 1994 San Francisco 49ers and the 1990 Buffalo Bills as the only Super Bowl participants to average 40 points per game through multiple playoff games before the Super Bowl.
Seattle can tell a similar story. After falling to 3-3, it allowed only 11.3 points per game over its final 10 regular-season games; no other team allowed fewer than 16 points per game over that time span. And the Seahawks have continued their dominant play in the postseason. Against Carolina, Seattle’s defense held the Panthers to 10 points until the final minutes of the game; and, with six minutes left, Seattle intercepted a pass from Cam Newton, and returned it for a touchdown, sealing the victory.
Against Green Bay, Seattle turn- overs gave the Packers offense three possessions at the Seattle 19-, 23- and 33-yard lines. The Seahawks’ defense held the Packers to field goals on each drive. On the other 10 Green Bay drives, the Seattle defense limited a Packers offense that averaged 2.73 points per drive during the regular season to 13 points.
If one takes the longer view, Seattle’s defense is beginning to stand out as legendary.
Over the last three years, 31 of the 32 NFL teams have allowed over 10,000 passing yards; Seattle has allowed fewer than 9,000 passing yards. Over the last three years, Seattle has allowed an average of only 282.3 yards per game; the other 31 teams have allowed an average of 350.1, and no other team has allowed fewer than 310 yards per game. And, since 2012, the Seahawks have allowed a minuscule 15.2 points per game. Only one other defense (the 49ers’, at 18.4) has allowed fewer than 20 points a game during that time, and the other 31 teams have allowed an average of 23.2 points per game.
Playing in today’s offensive-friendly environment has, in some ways, hidden how dominant the Seahawks defense has been.
But Seattle has led the NFL in points allowed in each of the past three seasons, becoming the first team to accomplish such a feat since the Minnesota Vikings (1969-’71). And the Seahawks have also led the NFL in yards allowed in each of the past two years; since the NFL merger in 1970, the only other defense to lead the league in points allowed and yards allowed in consecutive seasons was the 1985-’86 Chicago Bears.
But with a longer view, the Patriots offense stands out as dominant, too. Over the last five years, New England has scored 2,500 points, or 500 points per year. The next best team is Green Bay, and the Packers are still 216 points (or 43 points per season) behind the Patriots.
The Patriots have also given up only 76 turnovers over the last five years. That’s easily the fewest in the NFL over that span, and the other 31 teams have averaged 128 giveaways over the last five years. New England’s combination of a high-powered offense that rarely gives up the ball has made the team uniquely dominant.
So while this year’s Super Bowl may not be able to match last year’s in terms of glamour and hype, it is yet another matchup of a dominant defense against a dominant offense.
It is also the clearest Super Bowl
SUPER BOWL, 21P