Ryan L. Fox
It all comes down to this. At the beginning of the year, 32 teams set out on a journey to take home the Lombardi trophy in Super Bowl LIII. After over 20 grueling weeks, only two teams were left.
On one side you have the New England Patriots, a team who have been to the big stage for the 3rd year in a row lead by the likes of QB Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick, two individuals that have been to the Super Bowl more times than entire teams. On the other hand, you have the upstart Los Angeles Rams lead by the young QB-coach combo of Jared Goff and Sean McVay.
After 2 weeks of waiting, both teams took to the field in Atlanta, Georgia in front of. After a grueling 60 minute game, only one team was left standing to hoist the Lombardi Trophy up high.
The Patriots received the ball to start off the game, starting on their own 39 thanks to a 38-yard return by KR/WR Cordarrelle Patterson. Brady lead the offense onto the field as they attacked the Rams defense with the running game. Lead by RB Sony Michel, the Patriots were able to run their way down to the Los Angeles 34. On 2nd and 7 at the 34, Brady dropped back for his first pass of the game. However his pass to WR Chris Hogan was tipped and picked off by Rams LB Cory Littleton at the Los Angeles 27.
Unfortunately for the Rams, their offense stalled and were forced to punt after being on the field for 51 seconds.
The Patriots then got the ball back at their own 12. There were able to get up to their own 24. However Michel was tackled for a 4 yard loss to make it 2nd and long. On the ensuing play, Brady found RB Rex Burkhead but Burkhead was seemingly tackled for a 4 yard loss. But instead of a 3rd and 18, the refs flagged Rams CB Nickell Robey-Coleman for an unnecessary roughness penalty. The penalty gave the Patriots a 1st down and continued the drive. A few plays later, Brady found TE Rob Gronkowski for a 19 yard pass to the Los Angeles 33. However the Patriots offense could only get as far as the Los Angeles 28 before being forced to settle for a field goal. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski trotted on the field to attempt a 46 yard field goal. However he ended up hooking it wide left as the score remained 0-0.
The two teams then proceeded to exchange punts with one another for the remainder of the 1st quarter and then into the 2ND quarter. It wasn’t early in the 2nd quarter that either team scored the first points of the game.
The Patriots got the ball on their own 37 as Brady drove down the field. Mixing in the pass with the run, the offense was able to get down to the Los Angeles 29. This also include a 25 yard pass from Brady to WR Edelman. However the Rams defense held tough and the Patriots were forced to settle for a 42 yard field goal attempt by Gostkowski. This time, Gostkowski booted the kick through to give his team a 3-0 lead.
The two teams then proceeded to exchange punts with one another as the Patriots then got the ball on their own 27.
Again the Patriots drove the field, being assisted with a ‘Too Many Men on the Field’ penalty on the Rams defense along the way. They were able to get down to the Rams 41. After two straight incomplete passes, Brady found Patterson for a quick 9 yard strike. Then on 4th and 1, Brady looked to Gronkowski for the first down. However the pass went awry as the Rams took over on down.
But the Rams again couldn’t muster any offense and were forced to punt the ball to the New England 2.
Brady then knelt the ball down to run off the last 15 seconds of the game as both teams went into halftime with the score being 3-0.
The 2nd half of the Super Bowl began as the Rams received the ball, starting at their own 25. They did show some life with RB Todd Gurley ripping off some runs. However the Patriots defense held firm, forcing the Rams to punt on their opening possession. But during that drive the Patriots defense suffered a major blow as S Patrick Chung suffered a right arm injury and was ruled out later own.
The Patriots then got the ball on their own 8 to begin their first possession of the 2nd half. Again the Patriots offense was able to move the ball on the Rams defense as they were able to get all the way down to their own 49 before being forced to punt. However the ball was downed deep in Rams territory at the Los Angeles 2.
Afterwards, the two teams then exchanged punts with one another.
The Rams then got the ball back on their own 23. But unlike the last few possessions, the Rams offense finally were able to move the ball. They were able to drive the field, including picking up an 18 yard pass from Goff to WR Robert Woods to the New England 29. They were able to get as far as the New England 26 but on 3rd and 7, Goff was sacked for a 9 yard loss back at the New England 35. The Rams were forced to settle for a 53 yard field goal attempt. Rams K Greg Zuerlein booted the ball through the uprights as the game was tied at 3-3 with a little over 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
The Patriots then got the ball back, starting at their own 25. They got as far as the Los Angeles 44 as the 3rd quarter came to an end.
When the 4th quarter opened up, the Patriots were faced with a 3rd and 5. Brady’s pass to RB James White was broken up. The Patriots were forced to punt as the ball was downed at the ball at the Los Angeles 7.
The Rams seemingly were able to move the ball against the Patriots, getting up to their own 43. Then RB Todd Gurley broke what appeared to be a 13 yard run. But it was called back due to a questionable holding call on the center, moving the ball back to the Los Angeles 33. A sack, incomplete pass, and a -1 yard run by Gurley and the Rams were forced to punt the ball to the New England 31.
Under the chants of ‘Brady! Brady! Brady!’ the Patriots offense came to life. Brady opened it up with an 18 yard pass to Gronkowski to the New England 49. Brady then found Edelman for a 13 yard pass to the Los Angeles 38 and then a 7 yard pass to the Los Angeles 31. A 29 yard pass to Gronkowski set up 1st and goal and the Los Angeles 2. Michel then bowled his way over for the score as Gostkowski’s PAT gave the Patriots a 10-3 lead with a little over 7 minutes left in the game.
Seeing time slipping away, the Los Angeles Rams tried to work quick. Goff bombarded the Rams defense with long throw after long throw as they moved down the field. They got all the way down to the New England 27. After missing a potential touchdown to WR Brandin Cooks, Goff tried to look Cooks’ way again. However he threw the ball a little too short as Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore picked the ball off at the New England 3.
It then became a running game. Michel was then fed the ball as the Patriots looked to simply run out the clock. Alternating between Michel and Burkhead, the Patriots kept grinding out the clock. They drove all the way down to the Los Angeles 24 as Gostkowski booted a 41 yard field goal, making it 13-3 and a two score game with just a little over 1 minute left.
With time running out, the Rams tried to make one last push. Goff made on last desperate charge as the offense got all the way down to the New England 30. The Rams then opted to attempt a field goal and then try for the onside kick. However Zuerlein’s 48 yard attempt went wide left.
The Patriots got the ball back at their own 38 as Tom Brady did one kneel down to end the game as the Patriots won their 6th Super Bowl in franchise history, capping off a season that many thought was going to be a lost year.
WR Julian Edelman was awarded the MVP of Super Bowl LIII, catching 10 balls (on 12 targets) for 141 yards.
Notable Patriot Statistical Standouts
QB Tom Brady: 21-for-35 for 262 yards, 1 INT for a QB Rating of 71.4
RB Sony Michel: 18 carries for 94 yards and 1 TD, 1 catch (on 1 target) for 9 yards
WR Julian Edelman: 1 carry for 8 yards, 10 catches (on 12 targets) for 141 yards, 3 punt returns for 38 yards
TE Rob Gronkowski: 6 catches (on 7 targets) for 87 yards
P Ryan Allen: 5 punts for 215 yards (43.0 average), 3 punts inside the 20
CB Jason McCourty: 5 tackles (4 solo, 1 assist), 2 passes defended
CB Stephon Gilmore: 5 tackles (5 solo, 0 assist), 1 INT, 3 passes defended
LB Kyle Van Noy: 4 tackles (4 solo, 0 assist), 1.0 sacks
LB Dont’a Hightower: 2 tackles (2 solo), 2.0 sacks
CB Jonathan Jones: 8 tackles (6 solo, 2 assist), 1.0 sacks
Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!
3 – The number of points scored by both teams in the first half, the 2nd lowest total in Super Bowl history
65 – The longest punt by Rams P Johnny Hekker, the longest of the game and in Super Bowl history
7:07 – The time in the 4th quarter that the Patriots go into the red zone, the first time all game that either team has gotten into the red zone
16 – The total amount of points scored in the entire game (13 Patriots, 3 Rams), the lowest scoring game in Super Bowl history
3 – The number of points the Patriots defense held the Rams to
32.9 – The points per game average of the Rams during the regular season
18 – The number of career catches in the Super Bowl for TE Rob Gronkowski, the most all-time for a tight end
6 – The number of Super Bowl victories by QB Tom Brady and HC Bill Belichick, giving Tom the #1 spot in NFL history while allowing Belichick to tie George Halas and Curly Lambeau for most championships won by a head coach in NFL history
292 – Number of postseason rushing yards by RB Sony Michel, the most in franchise history
1,315 – The amount of career postseason receiving yards by WR Julian Edelman, 2nd most all-time in NFL history
0 – The time 1st quarter touchdowns that the Patriots have scored in the Super Bowl during the Brady-Belichick era
13 – The current streak of games that WR Julian Edelman has had 5+ receptions in a single postseason game, the longest in the Super Bowl era
Real GOATS Wear Hoodies
Well there you have it folks, the 2018 New England Patriots have won Super Bowl LIII and hoisted their 6th Lombardi trophy during this 20 year stretch (2000-2019). The only comparison I got that can match the Patriots dynasty are the New York Yankees during the 1940s, 50s, and into the 60s as well as the Montreal Canadiens during that same time frame.
Although everybody wants to give credit to Tom Brady and label him the ‘GOAT’, let’s stop kidding ourselves and halt on drinking the TB12 kool aid.
If anything, the only reason why the Patriots have had the success that they had all this time was due in part to the man in the hoodie, Bill Belichick. 2018 proved it.
With a banged up Rob Gronkowski, a PED-suspended Julian Edelman, no big name talent on the defense, Bill guided this team to an 11-5 record with a perfect 8-0 record at home. Then while many were uncertain that they could beat AFC elite teams like the Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs and then the NFC champion Los Angeles Rams, Bill was not only able to diagnose and come up with the right game plan with his coordinators, he was able to take away what made each of those teams devastating in the regular season and essentially blotting out all the big names (i.e. Phillip Rivers & Joey Bosa of the Chargers, Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs, and Jared Goff, Todd Gurley & Aaron Donald of the Rams)
If there is anybody that deserves to raise that Lombardi trophy, it isn’t the man that keeps hawking his product whenever he gets the chance. Rather it’s the man in the hoodie that just comes in, does his job, celebrates a little, and then goes back to the drawing board to focus on the next opponent.
Cheers to you Bill, you’ve earned not only the respect of this sports writer but the respect of the man whom the trophy you are raising for the 6th time is named after.
Fox Fist Bump
I would first give the first fist bump to the de facto Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores. Super Bowl LIII was his last game as a member of the Patriots organization as he was going to leave to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2019. And he went out with a bang. The Patriots defense stymied the #2 scoring offense in the NFL in 2018, limiting then to a paltry 3 points for the entire game, 260 total yards, and were constantly in the face of QB Jared Goff (feels like déjà vu huh Pats fans).
Next I will give it to the MVP of the game WR Julian Edelman. He just looked uncoverable (I know it’s not a word but how else would you describe it), running wild and finding the open areas on the field. Not to mention that he just about hauled in almost everything that was thrown his way as well as pretty much all his catches were for 1st downs. Guess #11 showed why he was #1. Hopefully he passes the drug test afterwards.
The Meatball of the Week
The only meatballs are going to be the drunken Townie’s and homer Pats media who are going to essentially do a meat-copter spin at everybody who ‘doubted’ their team.
Enjoy the next 5 months of this America.
Also the next meatball goes to whoever came up with the Super Bowl commercials. Normally you tune in to see what whacky, funny, memorable commercial is going to be aired. Instead we got just a snorefest. Not even Harrison Ford in an Alexa commercial could save the day.
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