Super Bowl LIII was far from the offensive shootout that many expected it to be but nevertheless, the New England Patriots found themselves hoisting the Lombardi Trophy once again after defeating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. It’s their sixth Super Bowl championship in franchise history as well as the sixth title since 2002 for the timeless power duo of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.
Things didn’t exactly begin the way the Patriots would have hoped, as Brady’s first pass attempt of the game resulted in an interception. The Rams didn’t capitalize though as the first quarter ended scoreless and it wasn’t until Stephen Gostkowski kicked a field goal for the Patriots midway through the second quarter when points were finally put on the board. At halftime is was 3-0, and if you wagered that there would be more band members in Maroon 5 than there were combined points at the half, you likely are much richer today.
Things on the offensive side of the ball for both teams didn’t change much in the second half as punts remained the theme of the game. So much so that one of the most notable plays on the game was Rams punter Johnny Hekker’s Super Bowl record long 65-yard punt. He even had more punts (nine) than Rams quarterback Jared Goff had completions at halftime; a true testament to how poorly executed this game was for the Rams. The inefficient teams combined to go six for 25 on third down attempts, but that trend finally changed when Brady led a drive down the field in the fourth quarter that ended with a two-yard touchdown from running back Sony Michel. Michel had a game high 94 rushing yards but it was wide receiver Julian Edelman who stole the show for the Patriots offence. Edelman racked up 141 yards by reeling in 10 catches in the game, en route to claiming the honour of Super Bowl MVP. Edelman came up big once again in the game that matters most, cementing himself as a key piece in this Patriots dynasty as part of their last three titles.
Last week in my pre-game predictions, I mentioned that the Rams had to win the turnover battle in order to have a chance at coming out with a win. Turnovers were kept to a minimum as each team picked up just one interception, but you can’t fault the Rams defence in this one, they did a great job disrupting the Patriots flow. On the other hand, the offence is left with a lot of question marks. Todd Gurley was a virtual non-factor with just 35 yards rushing in the game, well below his season average of 89.4. He insisted after the game that he wasn’t injured but with a performance like that, one has to wonder if that’s really the truth. Jared Goff, as mentioned, was not good. And the final nail was put in the coffin when he threw a bad interception with just over four minutes left while in New England territory, down 10-3. Stephon Gilmore, who was excellent in this game, defended the pass well but Goff needed to find a way to will his team into the endzone on that drive.
Rams head coach Sean McVay came out after the game shouldering a lot of the blame for the team’s loss, claiming that he was out-coached by the more experienced Belichick who, unbelievably, is twice the age of McVay. McVay is the youngest head coach to ever participate in a Super Bowl at just 33 years of age, but with the Rams team as young and talented as they are, I can’t imagine it’ll be his last shot.
All in all, it was quite an uneventful Super Bowl, as it now stands as the lowest scoring game in its history but at least the game was kept close for its entirety. I sure am tired of seeing the Patriots (and Boston professional sports in general) see success. But man, if you didn’t think Brady is the greatest of all time yet, I don’t see how you can defend that take anymore. Plain and simple, we’re witnessing a living legend and we probably won’t see anything like it again. Super Bowl LIII is in the past, bring on the NFL mock drafts.