Souhan: Seattle can make legitimate claim to NFL's best-ever defense

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 3, 2014 - 10:55 PM

The Seahawks could make such a boast after an astonishing performance.

hide

Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas might have set a Super Bowl record with 13 receptions Sunday, but he also paid the price repeatedly from a punishing Seahawks defense ready to pile on to him.

Photo: J. Conrad Williams • Newsday,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Peyton Manning had time. He shuffled his feet in the pocket, found his favorite receiver open over the middle and delivered the ball on time, on the numbers, for his first completion of the Super Bowl.

Demaryius Thomas caught it in stride, for a moment providing a reminder of how the Denver Broncos set the record for points scored in a season — with short catches and long runs.

Thomas looked to turn upfield, and then Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor made the most emblematic play of the game. He knocked Thomas backward and down with a ferocious hit. Denver, already down 5-0, went three-and-out and punted, and never again took the ball with a chance to take the lead.

“It just sends a message,” Chancellor said. “Any time you come across that middle, you’ve got a chance of getting wrecked.”

The Broncos can only take solace in getting wrecked by one of the most effective defenses in Super Bowl history.

The Seahawks ranked first in the NFL in total defense this season. They held the No. 1 offense to eight points, and never gave up a score when the result of the game was in doubt.

The Jersey Bowl marked the first time since the 1990 season that the top-ranked scoring defense faced the top-ranked scoring offense. In Super Bowl XXV, the defense run by Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick handcuffed the Buffalo Bills, winning 20-19.

Was that performance better than Seattle’s? The Bills scored 51 points against the Raiders in the AFC title game and featured Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed.

But the Bills did score 19 points, and only a missed Scott Norwood field goal kept them from winning the game.

There is only one other time in NFL history the league’s top-ranked scoring defense faced the top-ranked offense and held that offense to single digits. Here we offer our often-used, prerecorded warning to Vikings fans to avert their eyes from history.

In Super Bowl IV, the Kansas City Chiefs brought the No. 1 defense to New Orleans to face the Vikings’ top-ranked offense. The final was 23-7.

The Vikings pulled within 16-7 in the third quarter on Dave Osborn’s touchdown run. Joe Kapp threw for 183 yards and two interceptions. No Vikings player rushed for more than Bill Brown’s 26 yards. The Vikings fumbled three times and lost two of them.

Unlike this year’s Broncos, who played in good weather conditions on an artificial turf field, the Vikings played in frigid temperatures on the grass at Tulane Stadium.

“That was the coldest I’ve ever been in my life,” said Mike Grant, son of legendary Vikings coach Bud Grant.

Mike Grant vacations in Otter Tail County. He recently went hunting in the Dakotas. He is Bud’s son. If he says it was freezing that day in New Orleans, it was freezing.

The Broncos had no such excuses. They had one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history running an offense with three star receivers and a remarkably talented tight end, with two weeks to prepare for Seattle. Manning had thrown for the most yards and touchdowns ever.

Seattle used its preparation time well. A few Seahawks said after the game that they learned some cues from watching game films and focusing on Manning’s eyes. They largely ignored the audibles and fake audibles he called at the line of scrimmage, sometimes countering with their own fake calls.

More important, Seattle took advantage of Manning’s preference for throwing short, quick passes. The Seahawks left star safety Earl Thomas playing deep, by himself, and used Chancellor as a fourth linebacker.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close