All season, Tom Brady and the Patriots heard the critiques.
They weren’t the Patriots of old. Tom Brady was old. Their defense was weak. Gronk was too hurt. Blah, blah, blah.
At the end of the 2018 – 2019 season, the Patriots defied the naysayers and defeated the Rams 13 – 3 in Super Bowl LIII, one of the most boring Super Bowls we’ve witnessed in a long time.
Tom Brady looked average at best until it was time to seal the game. Then he woke up, hit Gronk a few times, got key blocks from his offensive line that freed up Rex Burkhead for a crucial first down and handed the ball off to rookie Sonny Michael (94 yards rushing and 1 TD) for the game clinching touchdown.
Super Bowl LIII was a true defensive battle, which took a lot of the excitement out of the game. With scores of 0-0 at the end of the first quarter, 3-0 at halftime and 3-3 at the end of the third quarter, fans were probably more excited over their Super Bowl boxes than they were about the actual game. As a matter of fact, only a few questions remained heading into the fourth quarter.
Would Jared Goff learn to read the Patriots defense?
Would Sean McVay finally make real adjustments to better protect Goff and unleash the League’s second ranked offense?
Would the Rams do anything to stop Julian Edelman?
Could the Rams actually pull this off?
The answer to all of those questions was no. Goff missed receivers on a majority of their third down attempts and couldn’t audible to stay out of the way of the Patriots’ blitzes. Goff made his biggest mistake in crunch time, an interception in the red zone, which is what the Pats thrive on. McVay waited too long to get Gurley involved and they did nothing to stop Julian Edelman.
Edelman balled out in response, catching 10 passes for 141 yards en route to Super Bowl LIII MVP honors, a much deserved award for the wide receiver who torched the Rams secondary all night.
But the game itself really lacked the excitement of previous Super Bowls, especially the ones we’ve seen over the last decade or so. As a matter of fact, the teams combined to set the record for the lowest scoring Super Bowl in history, their 16 combined points edging out the 21 points scored by the Dolphins and Redskins in Super Bowl VII (Dolphins won 14 – 7).
At the end of the day, Brady and company did enough to claim their sixth Super Bowl victory, tying them with the Pittsburgh Steelers for most titles in NFL history. While they’ll be celebrating all offseason, the Rams will be wondering what they need to do to take that next step in their evolution, all the while having nightmares of Julian Edelman continuing to catch passes all night.