What a game. What a game. The New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII in a low-scoring affair. Here’s what we learned.
Tom Brady did just enough to win the Super Bowl.
Tom Brady finished the day completing 21 of 35 (60%) for 262 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception. His passer rating of 71.4 was simply mediocre. He couldn’t connect with his receivers, other than Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman (more on him later) or Rob Gronkowski, going 1 of 10 to James White and Chris Hogan. He wasn’t overly sharp on passes to the sideline, with some floating and nearly getting intercepted.
But, you know what? He did enough to win. He came alive in the fourth quarter, completing 4 of 5 for 67 yards, and led two scoring drives to build a lead and ultimately win the game. Brady now has six Super Bowl championships. What more could you ask for?
Sony Michel was an incredible first round pick
Michel finished the day with 94 rushing yards and the only touchdown of the game on 18 carries. He was quiet for much of the game, but when the game was on the line he picked up first down after first down and put this game out of reach.
In three playoff games, Michel gained 345 yards and scored 6 touchdowns on 72 touches. He was everything the Patriots needed him to be and more. What a performance.
Julian Edelman is the greatest Patriots wide receiver of all time
Is that too much to say? Edelman finished the game with 141 receiving yards on 10 catches and gained another 8 yards on a screen that was classified as a run. Edelman ranks fifth in franchise history in receiving yards (including playoffs) and trails Stanley Morgan, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, and Troy Brown.
But no Patriots receiver has more yards in the playoffs, no Patriots receiver has more clutch plays in their career, and no Patriots receiver has risen to a greater heights when their number has been called.
What a deserving accolade for Edelman, who has been so important to this team since he ascended to the starting job in 2013.
And also, let’s give a tip of the hat to the greatest tight end in Patriots history and one of the best of all time. Rob Gronkowski had a vintage showing with 6 catches for 87 yards and an amazing day of blocking.
The Patriots offensive line is the best in the league
The Los Angeles Rams were named the top offensive line in the league, but this Patriots unit played their best game on the biggest stage. The Rams sacked Brady once and hit him three more times, and picked up two tackles for loss. But this is one of the greatest defensive fronts in NFL history with Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and fellow All Pro Ndamukong Suh wreaking havoc in the middle of the field.
But despite the talent on the other side of the ball, Brady was mostly kept clean and the Patriots gained 5.2 yards per carry on the ground.
Trent Brown. Joe Thuney. David Andrews. Shaq Mason. Marcus Cannon. Let their names be known.
The Patriots run defense is also incredible
Who knew that this defense had it in them? In three playoff games, the Patriots allowed 122 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on 40 carries (3.05 YPC) against teams that ranked 3rd, 6th, and 7th in yards per carry during the regular season.
The Patriots racked up four tackles for loss and routinely forced the Rams into long-distance situations, where they could send the pressure on Jared Goff and force incompletions.
The Patriots run defense was maligned for their performance in a three-week stretch of the regular season against the Vikings, Dolphins, and Steelers. Well, whatever they did to fix that problem worked and they played at a championship level this postseason.
Stephon Gilmore is the best cornerback in the NFL
The Patriots held Rams quarterback Jared Goff to 10 of 21 for 95 yards through three quarters and so much credit should go to Gilmore for locking down the Rams top targets. Gilmore was named First Team All Pro and he played at an astounding level throughout the postseason. He finished the game with an interception, a forced fumble, 3 pass break-ups, and 5 tackles.
We need to give major props to Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones, J.C. Jackson, Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, and Duron Harmon for their play, too. They each had a role, with Jackson coming on to cover tight ends once Chung left with an arm injury.
By the way, is there a better story that Devin and Jason McCourty winning a Super Bowl together? I don’t think so.
The Patriots are now tied for the NFL lead with six Super Bowl titles
How about that, eh Pittsburgh?
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have led the greatest dynasty in NFL history. There’s no question about it. They are now 6-3 in the Super Bowl and they just won with their biggest margin of victory (this is slightly tongue in cheek). We will never see anything like this again.
Well, actually, we might see it again next year. Tom Brady says that he’s not going to retire so there’s a big chance that New England will be back in the Super Bowl yet again. But let’s not look ahead and let’s appreciate the incredible run we’ve witnessed.
These are your 2018 New England Patriots. They were doubted throughout the year and they’re still here. Congratulations!