Defense wins Championships

Well that’s it.  Another NFL season ended yesterday with the Baltimore Ravens winning Super Bowl XLVII over the San Francisco 49ers with a final score of 34-31.

While the game ended in a nail biter and the second half was a totally different game (after the blackout) than the first half, make no mistake, defense won this game.

The Ravens defense this year wasn’t a top 10 defense, they didn’t blow you away with defensive plays but they always seemed to make the right plays when they needed to and they always seemed calm cool and collected under those pressure situations, the Super Bowl was no exception.

The 49ers were suppose to the be explosive team, the team that was extremely versatile, especially under new quarterback Colin Kaepernick, but it took them until about half way through the third quarter to start becoming that versatile offense we have seen over Kaepernicks prior 9 starts and part of that was because of the Ravens disruptive defense.

The Ravens defense came out to play at the start of the Super Bowl, holding this “explosive” offense to only 6 points and no touchdowns and using that momentum on defense to help fuel the offense.

Of course the 49ers weren’t going to go quietly into the night, putting together a furious comeback in the second half, putting them in position to take their first lead of the game with 1:50 left in the game.  Of course the Niners couldn’t convert on a 4th and goal on the Ravens 5 yard line to come up with the score to give them the lead.

While the Ravens defense allowed the 49ers to move up and down the field at will in the second half, the defense still stepped up when it matter most on that 4th and goal at the end of the game, coming up with a stop.  While unfortunately it looked like a holding call against the Ravens, no flags were  thrown and the Ravens took over on downs with 1:46 remaining and the rest is history.

Ya people are going to make excuses like the no pass interference call at the end of the game or the blackout that seemingly zapped Baltimore of all its momentum in the second half, but it’s a 60 minute football game and the 49ers had plenty of opportunities to go out there and make plays, especially in the first half.

That being said, the “old” Ravens defense never wavered during the 49ers come back, holding tight and true when it mattered most.

On the other side of things, the 49ers did have a top 10 defense all year but couldn’t put together enough stops during the big game. Give credit where credit is due in the fact that Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense were aggressive and did a great job during this game, especially in the first half when Flacco lit up the Niners defense by throwing for three touchdowns and no interceptions, looking like a Super Bowl MVP.

I have always been a believer that defense wins championships.  If you have a high-caliber defense and can make stops when you need to make them, your offense should eventually put together enough plays to win the game.

Two great examples, which I hate using but is true, are the 2007 and 2011 Patriots.  Record setting, high power, offenses that seems like they could put up 40 points at the drop of a hat.  They both made it to the Super Bowl those years to face the Giants both times and the Giants defense was better than the Patriots offense both times and at the same time the Patriots defense didn’t play good enough to stop the Giants offense.

Granted, the 2007 Patriots defense was far and beyond better than the 2011 Patriots defense, with high quality, hall of fame defensive players like Rodney Harrison, Mike Vrabel, Teddy Bruschi, and many more.  And if it wasn’t for an insane, over the top, miraculous catch by David Tyree at the end of that game to keep the drive alive on 3rd and 5 it’s a totally different game.

Either way, defense is the key, stops are the key, experience and a calm, cool demeanor on that defense is key, and the Baltimore Ravens had all that, and 6 out of the last 9 Super Championships had that.

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