STRENGTH STRENGTH

Pa­tri­ots’ of­fense has been just as dom­i­nant as Sea­hawks’ de­fense

Packer Plus - - Super Bowl Xlix: Seahawks (14-4) Vs. Patriots (14- -

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

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