The 2013 Eagles had one of the best offenses in the history of the NFL.
But so did the Broncos.
The Eagles ran up against a well-rounded Saints squad in the first round of the playoffs this year, but shortcomings on special teams and defense spelled the end of a magical season in Philadelphia.
The Broncos set all-time records in scoring and Peyton Manning set his own in passing yards and touchdowns, but his team was completely embarrassed in front of over 100 million people in Super Bowl 48 Sunday night, losing to the Seahawks 43-8 in a one-sided affair that was never even a game.
The events of this post season seem to make it even more clear, defense and special teams win championships.
“We’re a bunch of misfits, in some ways,” Outspoken cornerback and now Super Bowl champion Richard Sherman said of his fellow defenders. “Fifth-round, Kam Chancellor; sixth-round, Byron Maxwell; fifth-round, Richard Sherman; fourth-round, (CB) K.J. Wright; undrafted, (DE) Michael Bennett. (DE) Cliff Avril, (DE) ‘Big’ Red Bryant, (Brandon) Mebane – lot of guys that not a lot of people have heard of, who probably should be Pro Bowl, and All-Pros, and things like that. I think (the world) learned how complete of a team we are, (and) how complete our defense is.”
The Seahawks created two touchdowns and a safety from defense and special teams. They also held the most dominant, most productive offense in the history of the NFL to just eight points and to only 27 yards rushing.
“It is very satisfying,” Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said. “We played against Peyton Manning, one of the best quarterbacks to ever play this game, but our defense is young and we are one of the best defenses to ever play the game statistically right now so we feel pretty good.”
So what about the Eagles?
The Birds allowed the fourth most yards per game in 2013, allowing 394 yards per game. The Seahawks were the best in that category, allowing only 273.6, the fewest by more than 25 yards per contest.
Philly was right in the middle of the pack in points allowed with 382 during the regular season. Seattle was the best in all of football allowing 231 points all year.
It seems ironic, in an era defined by so much offensive firepower and with records set every season in touchdowns, yardage, and more, that defense still wins championships.
But with the draft coming in April an important one for the Eagles, it seems plain and clear. Philadelphia must improve and focus on its defense in 2014.