Abundance of touchbacks has hurt them more than any other team

By Mike Mulligan

Lovie Smith doesn’t like to reveal trade secrets, but his formula for success is hardly confidential. The man isn’t making Coca-Cola or a crabby patty, so his recipe has been on display: dominate with defense, win on special teams and protect the ball on offense.

Smith might throw in something about running the bus, but that always has been more platitude than axiom.

Problem is, the formula has flopped. The defense hasn’t been good, dropping from the Top 10 a year ago to No. 25 through three games, albeit against the best offenses in football. The offense needs to get much better too, even if the statistics are up slightly.

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