When the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams squared off in Super Bowl 53 this past Sunday, the resulting game ultimately didn’t appeal to the average NFL fan. The two teams only mustered up a combined 16 points, six of them through the first three quarters of action.
Nonetheless, the Patriots still came out on top with a 13-3 win because of a strong defensive performance and two huge scoring drives in the fourth quarter.
While many people were looking for some more scoring within this game, it proved to be a game-long exhibition of old-school football. This refers to the era of playing tough defense and running the ball well, two things New England has perfected.
Rams head coach Sean McVay implemented an offense that found ways to score in many different ways, yet they looked puzzled on the biggest of stages. That’s because New England’s front seven won the battle in the trenches by blowing up the run game on first and second down plays, making it difficult for Los Angeles to perfect their use of play-action and freeze linebackers in the middle of the field.
Rams’ running backs C.J. Anderson and Todd Gurley combined for only 68 total scrimmage yards on the day. Players like Kyle Van Noy and Dont’a Hightower were constantly wreaking havoc in the backfield along with disrupting passing lanes for Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
On the back end, Stephon Gilmore kept Brandin Cooks in check, and safety Duron Harmon filled in nicely after starting defensive back Patrick Chung left the game with a broken arm. Harmon had a key pass breakup in the fourth quarter while the next play featured Gilmore high-pointing a game-sealing interception.
For Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, the victory appeared to be much of the same for the most dynamic duo the NFL has ever seen. With the win, Brady has the most Super Bowl wins ever by a player in NFL history, and Belichick extended his own record of Super Bowl wins by a head coach from five to six.
Even though the game didn’t come down to an overtime touchdown or a game-winning field goal, their greatness showed in other aspects.
For starters, Belichick’s game plan against Los Angeles was remarkable defensively since they shut down a unit who had averaged over 30 points per game over the course of the season. After throwing an interception on his first pass attempt, Brady found ways to protect the ball and channel tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman (who took home the game’s MVP award) on big plays during their game-winning touchdown drive.
While many can still see Belichick and Brady as the villains of the league, there’s no denying that their sixth championship is just another reason why you must respect their consistency and greatness over the last 17 seasons.
While many thought that 2018 was the year for the Saints or Chiefs to win the Super Bowl, the Patriots brought every NFL fan back to reality and told them, “We’re still here.”