The Super Bowl: What happened to the shoot-out we were all expecting?

          In the weeks leading up to Super Bowl 53, everyone had the feeling that this game would be an offensive shoot-out with both teams scoring at least 25 or more points in the game. Both teams also placed in the top 5 scoring offenses this year, (Rams 32.9 PPG 2nd in NFL ; Patriots 27.3 PPG 5th in NFL). The Rams were one of the best offensive teams in the NFL this year with Todd Gurley putting up MVP type numbers and Jared Goff having the best season of his young career.

SB 1

Image: Jared Goff hands the ball off to Todd Gurley during a game

          The Patriots were just hitting their stride, scoring 38 or more points in their games vs the Chargers and the Chiefs. So, it’s safe to say nobody expected a low scoring game, yet somehow that’s what we got. We got a game that was 3-0 at halftime and finished 13-3 giving us the lowest scoring Super Bowl of all time. So what exactly happened to two of the NFL’s best offenses that caused such a low scoring game?

SB 2

Image: Tom Brady attempts a pass vs Chargers in AFC Divisional game

          One thing that was clear throughout the game was that both defenses showed up to play. Look at what the Rams defense was able to do to the Patriots to start the game. On the first two Patriot drives of the game the Rams defense forced an interception and a missed field goal, something the Patriots were not accustomed to dealing with so early on in a game.

SB 3

Image: Rams LB Cory Littleton intercepts Tom Brady on the opening drive of Super Bowl 53

          Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips had a great game plan for the Patriots. He did not allow Brady to target his running backs out of the back field and the defensive line shut down Sony Michel and James White on the ground for most of the game. The Rams also held Tom Brady to just 262 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, and forced him into the one interception. All around, the Rams defense did everything they could to slow down the dynasty.

SB 5.1
Image: Aaron Donald hits Tom Brady as he throws during Super Bowl 53

          The Patriots defense was equally impressive throughout the game. On the Rams first two drives of the game the Patriots forced two 3 and outs and the Rams had the ball for just three minutes combined during the first two drives. The Patriots defense shut down the Rams running game, limiting Todd Gurley and CJ Anderson to a combined 17 carries for just 57 yards and 0 touchdowns.

SB 6.1

Image: Multiple Patriots get to and sack Jared Goff

          They also did a good job at stopping the Rams when it counted most- never allowing the Rams into the red zone throughout the game. The Rams didn’t get their first (and only) points of the game until the 3rd quarter on a Greg Zuerlein field goal. The game culminated for the Patriots on a Stephon Gilmore interception in the red zone with 4 minute left, giving the Patriots the ability to drive down field and kick the field goal for the win.

SB 7

Image: Stephan Gilmore intercepts Jared Goff to seal a Patriots win in Super Bowl 53

          The biggest difference in the game was the Patriots were able to beat the Rams on just one drive in the 2nd half that lead to their touchdown. It was a five play drive in the 4th quarter where Brady went 4-4 for 67 yards including the 29 yard pass to Rob Gronkowski that set up the Sony Michel 2-yard touchdown run. That drive was the only time we saw Brady and the Patriots at their best throughout the whole game and their defense was able to seal the deal at the end. When asked after the game what happened, Rams head coach Sean McVay said it best, “I got out coached, and we got out played at the end of the game”.

SB 8

Image: Head coaches Bill Belichick and Sean McVay shake hands prior to Super Bowl 53

          So Patriots fans- enjoy the celebration of another championship trophy, and enjoy what you have left of this great dynasty. Rams fans….get ready for the start of your own dynasty, because this team will be good for many years to come.

SB 11

Image: Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman celebrates with the Lombardi Trophy

          Do you agree with this? What do you think caused such a low scoring game? Leave a comment below to let me know, and as always, thanks for reading!

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