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Monday, February 3, 2014
Morning Links: Hawks create the blueprint

By Eric D. Williams

With the Seattle Seahawks’ emphatic, 43-8 victory over one of the best offenses statistically in NFL history in the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, Pete Carroll’s team once again established that defense wins championships.

ESPN’s John Clayton writes that the Seahawks leaned on a blueprint of old-school football, based on a rugged running game and physical defense.

So with the last game of the 2013 season over, it’s time for the rest of the league to begin figuring out how to build a team that can compete with Seattle for a Super Bowl -- and the San Diego Chargers might be closer than you think.

Carroll and Seahawks general manager John Schneider developed an offense with balance, built around an efficient, play-making quarterback in Russell Wilson who limits mistakes and depends on a strong running game, led by Marshawn Lynch.

The Chargers have a physical runner in Ryan Mathews and a good decision-maker in Philip Rivers. San Diego’s offensive line is big and physical in the run game and adept at protecting Rivers. The Chargers have a No. 1 receiver in Keenan Allen and two talented tight ends in Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green.

The only thing Wilson can do that Rivers cannot is consistently escape the pocket and pick up a critical first down to move the chains.

But it’s on defense where San Diego falls short. The Chargers are not as stout up front as the Seahawks, do not have the depth and overall speed Seattle possesses at linebacker to rush the passer and need more physical, dynamic playmakers in the back end.

But that’s what the offseason is for, and I’m sure general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy took notes on Sunday, and have already started the process of putting together a team that make a push for a Super Bowl run.

In this ESPN Insider piece, NFL Insider Mike Sando examines if Seattle can become a dynasty.

Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego provides some lessons that San Diego can learn from Seattle’s beatdown of the Broncos.

In this ESPN Insider piece, draft analyst Todd McShay ranks South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney No. 1 in his top 32 draft-eligible players for 2014.

The Chargers have 40 to 1 odds to win the Super Bowl next year.

Check out the best and worst commercials from this year’s Super Bowl here.