There was a time when a team could field a QB like Trent Dilfer
Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:51 am
Remember the old adage “defense wins championships?” or Brad Johnson alongside a stifling defense and win ugly en route to a Lombardi Trophy. Even the ’85 Bears Los Angeles Rams Womens Hoodie , arguably the greatest single season defense in NFL history, had a QB in Jim McMahon that was more linebacker than gunslinger.And yeah, I used to walk ten miles to school, barefoot, in the snow, uphill, both ways.Let’s take a look at the numbers:Super Bowl QBs with dominant defensesTeamPlayerCmpAttCmp%YdsTDINTTeamPlayerCmpAttCmp%YdsTDINT1985 Chicago BearsBetween Jim McMahon and backup Will Fuller, the ‘85 Bears passed for 3,169 yards, 16 TDs and 16 INTs. Yeah, they had a guy named Walter Payton running the ball, but McMahon was like Case Keenum in cement shoes — a game manager with the ability to make a gritty play when his life depended on it.The defense? Probably the greatest of all time. Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, William Perry, Steve McMichael and Dan Hampton headlined a unit that allowed just 12.4 points per game. The Bears would go 15-1, record two consecutive playoff shutouts, and win Super Bowl XX, crushing the Patriots by a then-record 36 points.2000 Baltimore RavensThe 2000 Ravens entered the season with the fearsome tandem of (former Ram) Tony Banks and Trent Dilfer at QB. The two combined for 3,080 yards passing, 20 TDs, and 19 INTs. Remarkably similar QB stats, 15 years after the Bears defensive-oriented run. Banks, as we know, couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn unless it was streaking 60 yards downfield, and Dilfer literally defined the term “game manager.” Rookie RB Jamal Lewis gained 1364 yards, and some guy named Priest Holmes chipped in 588.The defense, led by Ray Lewis, DE Rob Burnett’s 10.5 sacks, and CB tandem Chris Mcallister and Duane Starks Womens Customized Los Angeles Rams Jerseys , allowed a staggering 10.3 points per game and surrendered only 5 rushing TDs and 970 yards rushing the entire season. On 2.7 yards per carry. Simply filthy.Baltimore would go on to destroy the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, 34-7, forcing 5 turnovers. New York’s only TD came on a kickoff return.2002 Tampa Bay BuccaneersUnder Tony Dungy, the Bucs had been knocking on the door for years, and their calling card was defense (you might remember they held the ‘99 GSOT Rams to 11 points in the NFC Championship game). In truth, it wasn’t until Jon Gruden’s arrival from Oakland that they became a Super Bowl caliber team, and much of the improvement came on the offensive side of the ball.Still, did journeyman QB Brad Johnson read “Super Bowl QB” to anyone heading into 2002? Statistically, Johnson’s numbers are a little more akin to what solid early 2000s QBs were producing, as he put up 3049 yards and 22 TDs against just 6 picks. Alas, this wasn’t a guy winning games for Tampa Bay — he did just enough to keep them hanging around.People tend to remember this defense for DT Warren Sapp, DE Simeon Rice and MLB Derrick Brooks, but it was the secondary that was special. Led by Ronde Barber and John Lynch, the unit picked off 31 passes and another 9 in the playoffs. During the regular season, they held opposing to QBs to a ridiculously low 48.1 passer rating. They would go on to punish the Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII, making Gruden the youngest head coach in history to win a championship (hello: McBae).What’s your point, Wags?Ok, stay with me. Now we’ve got evidence that, yes, definitely, defense WON championships.Enter: 2018. Quarterbacks are ringing up fantasy stats like multiball on a pinball machine. Guys named Mahomes and Trubisky have thrown for 6 TDs in a game, Goff and Ryan for 5, with Dalton, Luck, Fitzpatrick, Cousins, Bortles and Carr each chucking 4 in a contest. We’ve had 12 400-yard passers through 4 weeks (with 3 from FitzMagic!). Through week 4 last year? There was only ONE 400-yard game in the NFL courtesy of Mr. Tom Brady.Speaking of Blake Bortles, he’s thrown for 1095 yards on the season, with games of 388 yards and 376 yards www.ramsfootballauthentics.com , all while throwing to receivers who were last seen on milk cartons. He eclipsed 300 yards just 4 times in 16 games last year, and is on pace for career highs in everything — yet we all still think, no, we know that Bortles is a bottom-third QB in the league. Sure, it’s becoming a passing league, but this is like watching your little brother play the CPU on rookie level on Madden.Per Adam Schefter, the trends are undeniable:Is Defense Dead?I first conceived of this article when Jared Goff went berserk on the Vikings, who were ranked 9th against the pass heading into Week 4. Don’t get me wrong — he was magnificent in a truly stunning performance — but Cousins also had a huge game. And then the following Sunday, Mitchell f’ing Trubisky threw for 6 TDs and Andrew Luck went for 464/4. And Carson Wentz? Carson Wentz went for 348/2 in his second game back and it was like he’d been lapped at the go-cart track, a forgotten man. Who lapped him? 9 other QBs threw for more yards than Wentz in week 4. Since when is 348/2 a pedestrian line?!Of course, rules changes have been a contributing factor. You can’t breathe on a QB without getting a personal foul call, and God forbid you don’t lay them down like a newborn in a crib. Teams are wary of helmet to helmet contact and hitting defenseless receivers more than ever, and maybe the schemes are adjusting more for risk management than making plays.Conspiracy theorists might (somewhat correctly) suggest that “this is what the NFL wants.” Scoring! Shootouts! Fireworks! Less images of concussed WRs, with the inevitable echoes of CTE haunting blue tents. No more gruesome slo-mo Joe Theismann / Navorro Bowman broken legs, and of course eradicate that kneeling during the anthem nonsense. “Maybe they’re calling less offensive holding, and more defensive holding,” I thought. I mean, you can call offensive holding on every play, so why not tell the referees to look the other way a little bit? And defensive holding? Tighten it up. Let ‘em run. Unnecessary roughness? Zero tolerance policy. PI? Sure, enforce it to the full extent of the rulebook. That’ll increase the scoring output, right?Nope:2017 Penalties vs. 2018 PenaltiesInfractionPer Week Avg. 2017Per Week Avg. 2018Per Week Avg. YPG 2017Per Week Avg. YPG 2018InfractionPer Week Avg. 2017Per Week Avg. 2018Per Week Avg. YPG 2017Per Week Avg. YPG 2018Let’s see. More offensive holding calls. Less defensive holding calls. Less unnecessary roughness penalties, and less defensive PI calls for less yardage. Sure, it’s only 4 weeks, but even if we see the trends shift, there’s evidence enough to suggest this isn’t some zebra/Goodell engineered conspiracy to light up the scoreboard.These guys are goodYeah, we’ve eliminated some of the intimidation factor. You won’t see a player emulating the Deacon Jones headslap or another heat-seeking missile like Ronnie Lott. In a way, that’s sad. Still, on the whole a less violent game is a better, more sustainable product Los Angeles Rams T-Shirt , even if offenses are running free like stampeding cattle on Heisenberg blue.Is it possible that offense has just surpassed defense? Bigger, faster, stronger? Is offensive innovation advancing at a faster rate than defenses can adapt? Who’s the equivalent of Sean McVay on the defensive side of the ball? Exactly.Sure, we have the Khalil Mack / Aaron Donald / Jalen Ramseys of the world, but for every stud defensive player, there are 6 more on offense just waiting to put up 150 yards rushing/receiving, throw for 400+ or set some new record (Goff’s perfect game, Mahomes’s TDs). Maybe this is what the NFL wanted, but is this what we, as fans, wanted? Can somebody get off the field on third and long, please?If you like defense, I’d suggest you get out and buy a Jacksonville Jaguars jersey pronto, because they’re as close to a dominant unit as we’ve got in this league. Hell, they’ve even got a game manager at QB — who just so happened to throw for — cough cough — 376 yards against a Bill Belichick Patriots team. If the Jags win it all, maybe they’ll belong with the ‘86 Bears, the ‘00 Ravens or the ‘02 Bucs. But don’t hold your breath.In 2018, and from here on out, offense wins championships.Go Rams! Oh boy.If the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints didn’t have a “rivalry” per se, they probablydo know. Rams’ CB Marcus Peters had some words for Saints’ Head Coach Sean Payton, and lets just say he wasn’t very selective with his word choices:I mean, it’s absolutely incredible that a guy who might have just had the worst game of his life has the confidence to come out and publicly say this. It speaks to the type of player that Peters is. Obviously it’s well known that he’s a hell of a character that provides awesome tidbits on and off the field, but it’s another thing that he’s not afraid to put himself out there after the performance he had against the Saints.Nevertheless, the Rams could very well be facing the Saints again somewhere down the road with both teams looking primed to face off at some point in the NFC playoffs.Game on, Sean Payton.