Top Five: Defensive performances in the Super Bowl

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,NFL,Ravens

San Francisco ranked second in the NFL in scoring defense this season, while Baltimore was 12th. Both sides have strong defensive units, but they have their work cut out for them to join this list of elite Super Bowl showings:

5. Dallas Cowboys, Super Bowl XXVII »

The Cowboys' nine takeaways set a Super Bowl record, and they held Bills running back Thurman Thomas to 19 yards after he logged 1,487 in the regular season. The defense reached the end zone twice, but Leon Lett's embarrassing lack of hustle cost it a third touchdown on a fumble return.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl IX » The Steel Curtain held Minnesota to 119 yards, nine first downs and no offensive scoring plays. Pittsburgh tackled Fran Tarkenton in the end zone for a second-quarter safety and picked him off three times.

3. Chicago Bears, Super Bowl XX » Buddy Ryan's 46 defense confounded New England, which turned the ball over six times. The Bears' defense tallied a safety and a touchdown, and defensive lineman William "Refrigerator" Perry even ran in a touchdown on offense.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Super Bowl XXXVII »

In his first year after leaving Oakland, Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden showed he hadn't forgotten the Raiders' offensive playbook. His team recorded five interceptions, five sacks and three defensive touchdowns, two by safety Dwight Smith.

1. Baltimore Ravens, Super Bowl XXXV » Baltimore's only other Super Bowl appearance saw it pick off Giants quarterback Kerry Collins four times and hold New York without any offensive points. Ray Lewis' five tackles and four deflections earned him game MVP honors.

- Elliot Smilowitz

esmilowitz@washingtonexaminer.com

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