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posted: 1/21/2014 5:35 AM

In NFL, defense still wins championships

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  • San Francisco 49ers tight end Vance McDonald didn't find many openings in Seattle's defense on Sunday as the Seahawks won NFC Championship game in Seattle. Smith recovered the ball. (AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Paul Kitagaki Jr.) MAGS OUT; TV OUT (KCRA3, KXTV10, KOVR13, KUVS19, KMAZ31, KTXL40) MANDATORY CREDIT

      San Francisco 49ers tight end Vance McDonald didn't find many openings in Seattle's defense on Sunday as the Seahawks won NFC Championship game in Seattle. Smith recovered the ball. (AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Paul Kitagaki Jr.) MAGS OUT; TV OUT (KCRA3, KXTV10, KOVR13, KUVS19, KMAZ31, KTXL40) MANDATORY CREDIT
    Associated Press/The Sacramento Bee

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Inside

After watching the two championship games on Sunday, my long time belief in defense winning championships was reaffirmed.

Good defense and a solid offense will at least get you to the final four.

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There is no doubt in my mind the best four teams were in the title games, but why did the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers?

In Denver, it's all about Peyton Manning and his talented offense, with the Broncos defense going unnoticed, but not by me. In Denver's last two games, the San Diego Chargers and the Patriots managed to keep them under 30 points.

Sunday's second game between the 49ers and the Seahawks was a real defensive battle -- just a great game to watch. But it did make me realize the Chicago Bears might be a 100 years from another Super Bowl with a defense not worth 10 cents.

That was my reason for not wanting to spend $126 million on a quarterback -- our defense needs too much help.

I know a wide-open offense is entertaining, but the Bears will need to make the big defensive stops. So brace yourself Bears fans -- there is going to be a long wait before Chicago gets to a Super Bowl. As we were reminded this week, the top teams in the NFL need a sold defense -- something the Bears just don't have.

Scramble success:

In the Seahawks-49ers game, plays were extended by their talented quarterback -- the running of Colin Kaepernick and the scrambling of Russell Wilson.

There was a terrific 57 yard pass play to Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who sneaked behind two defensive backs to catch the ball, but the play was made because Wilson scrambled for 5 to 6 seconds to make it happen.

Now no one has helped drive Johnny Manziel (6-foot-1) to overall number one status more than the 5-foot-10 Wilson. "Touchdown Johnny" is similar to Wilson -- scrambling, keeping plays alive, making chicken salad out of chicken "bleep."

The one additional thing Wilson has done for most of the season is take care of the football. That doesn't mean he won't turn the ball over like he did Sunday, but for the most part his lack of mistakes has been a major reason the Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl. His maturity is that of a 10-year veteran.

Now this is where Manziel will have to measure up to Wilson. Manziel has everything else Wilson has -- leadership skills, speed, smarts -- and he is much better in the pocket than Wilson.

One thing is for sure, the third-round draft pick Wilson has quieted the critics about Manziel's height and style of play.

Program notes:

Follow me on Twitter at north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports radio, and Sunday mornings from 7-11 a.m. Check me out on iHeart radio or Foxsportsradio.com.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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