Bengals over Chiefs is a perfect example of why offense matters more
As the saying goes, “Attack sells tickets. Defense wins championships.” Having a flashy offense with a quarterback who can throw the ball 80 yards through the air is great and all, but having a defensive unit that can counter those talents is arguably more valuable, or so you'd think .
In reality, offense has become the number one factor in a team's viability in the Super Bowl. Since 2011, only one team with an offense in the bottom half of the league has made it into the Super Bowl: the 2015 Denver Broncos. The only other teams ranked outside the top 10 on offense at all are the Seattle Seahawks. of 2013 and the Cincinnati Bengals of 2021. Twelve of the 22 Super Bowl teams in that span ranked in the top 5 on offense overall. Of those 22 teams, six ranked in the bottom half of the league in total defense, although only two of them won the Super Bowl, but the data remains. Three of those six teams were ranked 25th or worse in total defense.
Of course, that's not to say teams can't benefit from elite defense. Defense is hugely important. However, if a team like the Buffalo Bills, who finished the regular season ranked 1st in total defense, can still allow the Kansas City Chiefs to run down the field and score with just 13 seconds left, then maybe defensive elite isn't necessary . It's as fundamental to a team's championship hopes as it used to be believed. At a time when a tackle in good form that looks bad on TV penalizes you, you lightly touch the opposing quarterback after he patches, and offensively take deep shots to specifically call DPI, it's for a great one Defender difficult to do exactly what he is supposed to do: help win the battle for field position.
Five of the top 10 defenses (in terms of total yards allowed) in 2021 didn't even make the playoffs. Only two of the top 10 crimes suffered the same fate. In 2020, the ratio was eight of the top 10 defenses to nine of the top 10 offenses.
In each of the last five seasons, more top 10 offenses have made it to the playoffs than top 10 defenses, but yeah, it's been close every year except 2021. And like I said, those great defenses help you no further to the Super Bowl. once you reach the playoffs. In the playoffs, only a capable offensive seems to count.
Ask anyone why the Chiefs lost the AFC championship game two Sundays ago. Did they lose because of poor defensive play? Sure, their defensive lineup wasn't incredibly strong and unworldly, but they held the Bengals to just 10 first-half points and just two touchdowns throughout the game. The Chiefs lost that game because an unstoppable offense led by Patrick Mahomes disappeared for the final 30 minutes. Mahomes seemed lost out there at times, just running around aimlessly. His first-half passer rating was a staggering 149.9. In the second half, he plummeted to 34.0. To put that in perspective, Mahomes' passer rating, if he'd thrown the ball straight to the ground every game, would have been 39.6. It wasn't until the Chiefs' offense fell apart that Kansas City lost the game.
Also, don't tell me the Chiefs offense started to play poorly due to defensive adjustments by the Bengals' elite. Yes, there were some big defensive adjustments made by the Bengals in the second half, such as the decision to have more than eight men in cover to take 45 percent of their second-half defensive snaps to a season-high, but make no mistake The Bengals' defense still took a long time to get to Mahomes in several games. On-pitch coverage has been excellent, but Andy Reid, Eric Bieniemy and company have to adapt their games to buck the trend. Maybe run inside more often. If he's determined to pass the ball, he might take a few more shots because when all the corners and linebackers come down, they usually won't push down the line. Maybe design some plays with four receivers on the side with Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce as the only threat on the opposite side to try and force more 1v1 situations with their best receiving threats.