Super Bowl LIII: Patriots Tear Up Game Plan to Tear Down Rams
After the NFC Championship's now-notorious No-PI call, there's one bromide the NFL wanted to resuscitate in this year's Super Bowl, it was this:
A well-officiated game calls for the refs to disappear into the background.
For the most part, mission accomplished.
However, no one expected both teams' offenses would disappear with them.
Dudes went jumbo, which ultimately kept the Los Angeles Rams' outstanding D honest and gave Tom Brady the extra millisecs he needed to get accurate again.
OG went 4-4 on the drive that mattered, highlighted by going all-GPS to the Gronk:
It's about damn time, though, that the other half of a football team gets the kliegs shining on them in The Shield's social showcase.
Really, what's wrong with a good defensive battle, as keen minds predicted?
No. No, it's not.
Besides, when a human version of Madden breaks out -- and it breaks out a lot these days -- the talk in fandom is heavy on laments about where the defense went.
Well, it went to the Super Bowl.
Great play by Devin McCourty to stop catch by Brandin Cooks pic.twitter.com/JjCXeE3Ou1— Blue Llama (@BlueLlama12) February 4, 2019
Cooks was open on the play, but Jared Goff was too busy coping with yet another of the smögåsbord of stunts and blitzes known to man, seemingly installed en masse for the Super Bowl by Emperor Palpatine.
Toss in how shifty the Pats were in disguising coverage, and the former CalBear was off-balance all game.
Oftentimes, he was helped into that situation by Dont'a Hightower, who was a presence from start to finish.
Goff saw 18 stunts in the Rams' 42 passing plays. He endured blitzes on 48% of them. No wonder he never had a completion longer than 20 yards.
Dude had his chances, but moving around to stay upright doesn't help the checkdown process.
Jared Goff is going to wish he had this one back. pic.twitter.com/yTdp4qjpBP— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) February 4, 2019
Frankly, there was only one offensive standout, and that was none other than New England's Everyman.
Julian Edelman was a QB at Kent State when a sportswriter turned Belichick onto him as a potential football version of a stem cell. The Pats mastermind likes that kinda dude and soon had Edelman serving many roles.
He'd only caught one pass in college, but look at him now:
Edelman's got nasty cuts tonight 🔥 pic.twitter.com/tH0sHHJ1CM— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) February 4, 2019
The Golden Flash alum hauled in 9 passes for 141 yards. He's now No 2 all-time for post-season receptions with 115. Only Jerry Rice, with 151, has more.
Who'd have thought those two would be mentioned in the same sentence as 1-2 about anything?
Ironically, in a game that defined defense for 50 minutes or so, an offensive player still won the MVP.
At least it was Edelman, who now has yet another Super Bowl memory to go along with these two:
- Making a spectacular play that became New England's turning point in their 25-point comeback against Atlanta in Super Bowl LI, and earlier,
- Grabbing what became the game-winning catch against Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX
Overshadowed by all this was Rams DC Wade Phillips. On any other given Sunday, holding the Pats to 13 points woulda been enough to hoist the hardware.
True football fans appreciated what he and Belichick did to get the NFL's pendulum swinging the other way, though. Solid defensive schemes are there to be enjoyed as much as showtime offenses.
It helps that the under hit, too.