After an entire season of being counted out, with analysts across the country and sports radio shows saying they are down and that the dynasty is over, the New England Patriots ignored the noise and stayed true to themselves and their goal, finishing the 2018 NFL season as Super Bowl Champions.
The Patriots are the kings of football for the third time in five years, adding their sixth Lombardi trophy to the case, which ties the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most in NFL history. This is a team that was questioned since the end of Super Bowl 52, when New England fell short to the Philadelphia Eagles, losing 41-33. A lot of folks had some words for head coach Bill Belichick benching starting cornerback Malcolm Butler in a game where the defense was repeatedly torn apart. Many believed that this move made Belichick lose the locker room.
To add insult to injury, it was a rather disappointing offseason for the Patriots, losing running back Dion Lewis, left tackle Nate Solder, wide receiver Danny Amendola and Butler. All of these players had key roles in New England’s success which raised the question of how Belichick would fill the void left by the departure of these players. But once again, the best coach in NFL history proved yet again why he should never be doubted. Bill brought in 6-foot-8-inch tackle Trent Brown via trade from the San Francisco 49ers, who ended up being nothing short of excellent in protecting quarterback Tom Brady. Brown became the leader of a group that was among the best offensive lines in the league. The Patriots signed cornerback J.C. Jackson as an undrafted rookie who came in and proved 31 teams wrong for not taking him. And of course, the Patriots used the 31st overall pick in the draft to bring in Georgia Bulldog’s stud running back Sony Michel. While traditionally it is considered a bad idea to draft a running back in the first round, recent history of players such as the Dallas Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was drafted fourth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, led Belichick to make a questionable call in the first round.
These doubts were silenced, as that waste of a pick rushed for 336 yards and six touchdowns in the Patriot’s three playoff games, including the go-ahead touchdown that locked up the Super Bowl for New England. With a strong offensive line, Michel made running against two of the best defensive tackles in Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh appear easy. While Michel managed to gash apart the Rams’ front seven when New England needed him to, the remainder of the offensive play from both sides was abysmal. The Patriots were able to move the ball effectively and kill the clock enough for the Rams offense to stay off the field, but were not able to complete most of the drives until Michel finally punched the ball into the endzone in the fourth quarter.
Heading into the game, the key matchup was whether or not New England’s defense would be able to stop the Rams’ high powered offense. The Rams just could not get anything going at all; not taking a single snap in the red zone the entire game. The Rams’ averaged 3.4 yards per carry against a strong Patriots front seven. New England’s’ pass rush was all over Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff, as he was sacked four times. Stephon Gilmore played like the first team All-Pro cornerback he is. He defended three passes and sealed the game at the end with an interception.
Although it was not the most exciting Super Bowl, the New England Patriots once again finished the job and are champions once more. Tom Brady has his sixth Super Bowl ring, which now puts him at the most out of any player ever (passing Charles Haley who has five). For Bill Belichick, his six rings are the most from any head coach in league history. After recording 10 receptions for 140 yards, wide receiver Julian Edelman brought home a nice piece of hardware, winning the Super Bowl 53 MVP award. So if you have yet to learn, do not doubt Brady and Belichick. Just don’t do it. The Patriots 13-3 victory over Los Angeles will not be the start of any complacency for the Patriots, as Brady and Belichick are almost certainly already planning ahead for the 2019 season. The “Stairway to Seven” begins now. Long Live the best dynasty in American sports history.
New England Patriots 13
Los Angeles Rams 3