Super Bowl LIII: A Defensive Standoff Trumped by Brady’s Dynasty

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Sony Michel rushes for a 2-yard TD

In the Super Bowl with the least average viewers in the last decade (about 98 million), the game was utterly disappointing. No points, only a couple exciting plays, and they didn’t even play Sweet Victory during the halftime show! Needless to say, Super Bowl LIII was one of the worst super bowls in recent memory.

Coming into the game the biggest question had to be: Can Tom Brady carry his rather underwhelming roster to yet another Super Bowl victory? The answer, obviously, was yes but it really was not pretty. In his quest to secure not only his 6th Super Bowl ring but also the title of GOAT, Brady threw for a respectable 262 yards and one interception. Although he didn’t quite have the comeback like against the Falcons, Brady was the driving force in suppressing the Rams potent offense. Both Brady’s efficiency and clock management kept the Rams defense on the field for extended periods of time, tiring them out and causing for a much more time sensitive offensive scheme when Jared Goff got the ball back in his hands.

Julian Edelman had one of the quietest, elite performances in Super Bowl history. He secured 10 receptions for 141 yards. He surely is Brady’s top receiving target in crunch time; however, he only caught three receptions for a gain of more than 15 yards — three, 25-yard receptions to be specific. These three catches accounted for over half of his total yards in the game. Edelman’s ability to get open in order to move the chains is what separated him as the top target of Brady. Not an exceptionally large or quick receiver, Edelman’s football IQ in playoff experience allowed for him to win his first Super Bowl MVP award.

Prior to the game, rumors circulated the sports media sphere surrounding the future of Rob Gronkowski. There were reports of a possible retirement with a Super Bowl victory this year in Atlanta. Yet again, Gronkowski found a way to play a vital role in putting a third ring on his finger. Gronk had six receptions for 87 yards with the most important coming in the 4th quarter on the drive producing the only touchdown of the game. With 7:36 left in the game, Gronkowski checked his block off the line and ran a wheel route up the left sideline securing a falling catch for 29 yards finally putting together a red zone possession. This catch seemed to be the only exciting play in the game and set up Sony Michel’s 2-yard rushing touchdown.

As for the Rams…tough. Probably the only Rams fan coming out of that game happy was the anonymous person who put $250 on the Rams to score exactly 3 points, walking away with a bet slip valued just over $100,000. With a mere 229 pass yards and 62 rushing yards, the Rams offense truly could not move the ball. All credit to Bill Belichick’s intricate defensive schemes. He has proven time and time again that he will outcoach you, regardless of the players on his roster. On paper the Rams are a far better team, except they faced debatably the best player and coach of all time.

Defense and Special teams provided the only highlights for the rams. Johnny Hekker kicked the longest punt in Super Bowl history at 65 yards and the defense had constant pressure on brady as well as securing a first drive interception by Cory Littleton. Greg Zuerlein went ½ on field goals while tying the game with a 53 yard kick in the second quarter. All this talk of defense and special teams as the only highs prove the boring nature of this game.

Goff and Gurley, the two centerpieces of the Rams potent offense. As the reigning NFL MVP, fans alike expected Gurley to play a large part in this game. He only had 10 carries! How can such a smart coach like Sean McVay only give a star player so few touches in the biggest game of both of their lives? Gurley picked up a not much talked about knee injury that kept him out of weeks 15 and 16 during the regular season that clearly had an effect on his workload going into the playoffs. Gurley is probably the best back in the league and did not see the touches he deserves, probably because of this injury.

The first and second half of the season for the Rams were like night and day. When the team was 9–1, the offense could quite literally not stop scoring. Gurley would constantly have multiple touchdowns, Goff throwing for over 300 yards, and the defense looked as solid as a brick wall. Unfortunately, the Super Bowl performance was more similar to the second half of the season. Goff struggled to find the efficiency that carried the team in the first 10 games. The two worst losses of the season (Week 13 @Chicago, Super Bowl LIII) were because of a faltering offense that could not string together plays to move the ball. A total of nine points were scored in the only two games the Rams truly looked bad.

Simply put, the Rams were outplayed and outcoached. The game was experience vs. the new era of football. Belichick vs McVay. Brady vs. Goff. Some of the most exciting names in the league faced off and New England’s dynasty built off always finding a way to win, carried on.

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