The New England Patriots closed the book on the 2018 season with a Super Bowl victory marked by stout defense and an overall lack of drama that had made the past few championship games exciting.
Much will be made of Tom Brady’s record-extending sixth ring, despite the Patriots’ QB turning in a rather uninspiring performance. He guided his team to just 13 points, but that was more than enough in a game where the Los Angeles Rams had no answers for Bill Belichick’s defense.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have not had the luxury of being able to win postseason games without being prolific on offense, losing seven times with Rodgers at the helm despite never scoring fewer than 20 points. What the Patriots’ victory and recent history have reiterated is that the team must continue to focus on fixing its defense to once again hoist the Lombardi.
Exciting, high-flying offenses are all well and good in the regular season, and teams with offensive prowess find themselves in Super Bowl contention more often than not. But as the old adage goes, it’s defense that wins championships.
Just ask this year’s Chiefs, or the 2016 Falcons, or the 2015 Panthers, or the Packers of 2011 AND 2014, who all led the league in scoring yet came up short. Peyton Manning got embarrassed in the 2013 Super Bowl with the league’s best offense, then won two years later thanks to a stellar Broncos defense.
In fact, the highest-scoring offense hasn’t won a Super Bowl since the New Orleans Saints in 2009. Meanwhile, the last six championship teams have all had a top-10 scoring defense.
Even earlier this week, when the Rams turned in an excellent defensive showing to stay in the game, it was a simply better Patriots’ defense that secured a win. The Chicago Bears’ window of contention opened sooner than expected thanks to an elite defense, which guided them to the 2018 division title. And Green Bay’s most recent title, exactly eight years ago to the day, came when the Packers boasted the NFC’s top defensive unit.
Make no mistake, Matt LaFleur has a lot to fix just to get Green Bay back in the playoffs. The defense showed early signs of rebounding in 2018 after years of poor play, while the offense was frequently out of rhythm and the special teams were abysmal. But the blueprint remains painfully clear for a team that had dynastic aspirations after winning it all in 2010: an effective defense is essential to contending for future Super Bowls, regardless of how talented the quarterback is.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .