As the Bears' brain trust spends another off-season trying to make the moves necessary to get to the playoffs, which they've now missed for the sixth time in seven years, they can learn some lessons from the Super Bowl XLVIII participants.
The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks both proved that being one-dimensional isn't enough to get a team to the big game -- even when that one dimension is superior.
The best lesson from Sunday's blowout -- aside from the obvious importance of turnovers -- might be that great defense still trumps great offense, even in an NFL that seems to give offenses all the breaks. If that's the case, the Bears have a tremendous distance to travel as they try to rebuild one of the worst defenses in franchise history.
The Seahawks had by far the best defense in the NFL, allowing 28 fewer total yards per game than the second-best team (Panthers) and 22 fewer passing yards than the runners-up (Saints).
But they also benefited from quarterback Russell Wilson, who possesses the mobility to make plays with his legs when a play breaks down, a trend that currently is in vogue in the NFL.
Wilson had 539 rushing yards in the regular season, third best among all quarterbacks. Three of the top four rushing quarterbacks led their teams to the playoffs, including the Panthers' Cam Newton and the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick.
While Jay Cutler isn't nearly as much of a running threat as those three, he has more than enough athleticism to elude pas rushers and salvage significant yardage when flushed from the pocket.
And in Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks boast the perfect complement to a stingy defense. When Seattle holds a late lead, there's no better way to protect it and take time off the clock than dialing up Beast Mode and allowing Lynch to impose his will.
The Bears' Matt Forte doesn't possess the pile-driving power of Lynch; he's a better all-around running back and has proved for the previous six seasons that he can be a workhorse in the run game and a major threat in the passing game.
The Broncos' NFL-best offense was even more dominating than the Seahawks' defense. And even though that offense never showed up Sunday, it helped get Denver get to the NFL's biggest stage by scoring 10.1 more points per game than the Bears and Patriots, who tied for second.
But the Broncos also had one of the league's best run defenses, including impact players like run-stuffing Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton, their 335-pound defensive tackle. The Denver defense also featured elite pass rushers like defensive end Shaun Phillips, who had 10 sacks in the regular season.
The Bronco's best pass rusher, linebacker Von Miller, is arguably the NFL's top sackster. He had only 5 sacks this season because he played in just nine games after serving a six-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy and before suffering a season-ending knee injury late in the season that kept him out of the Super Bowl. In the two previous seasons, Miller had a total of 30 sacks.
But even that wasn't enough to go all the way, even though The Seahawks used more of a pass rush by committee, but they actually had 3 more sacks than the Broncos, led by 8½ from Michael Bennett, Martellus' older brother, who can become an unrestricted free agent on March 11.
Of the 12 teams with the most sacks in 2013, eight made the playoffs.
The Bears tied for last with 31 sacks.
So signing another Bennett could be the Bears' first big step toward Super Bowl 49.