Can we now pump the brakes a little bit on this whole Boy Genius tagline for Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay? McVay and his offense just got their rear ends handed to them by the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. That means that Los Angeles will not be getting a championship parade.
Way to stink up the joint, guys. In what has to be probably the worst showing by an offensive unit in a Super Bowl, the Rams, the second-highest scoring team in the NFL during the regular season, decided that this would be the one game to lay an egg in.
But just let not get too crazy about what Brady and the Patriots did in winning Super Bowl LIII with their 13-3 victory. Between the Rams and the Patriots, the two teams managed to produce a marginal 16 points altogether, the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in the game’s history. Are you kidding me?
This is 2019! Well, once again, defense ruled the Super Bowl, as it seems to always do. And for once, Brady and the Patriots, the No. 1 offense in the postseason and the fourth-best in the league during the regular season, was kept in check by Aaron Donald and his defensive teammates for most of the game. The Rams defense didn’t lose this game. Keeping Brady and the Patriots down to just three points until midway of the fourth quarter is no small feat.
And for the first time in the postseason, someone actually put Brady on his backside, which Donald and the Rams did throughout the game. This was no walk in the park for Brady and his high-powered offense. Donald and the rest of the Rams defense showed up and showed out on the sport’s biggest stage.
On the flip side, Goff and the Rams offense performed poorly, looking like a deer in headlights most of the game. That’s an understatement! The Rams offense stunk. Period. There is no other way to slice it. The Rams offense burned defenses repeatedly throughout the regular season, where they averaged 32.9 points a game.
The Rams averaged 421 yards per game on their way to an impressive 13-3 record. Their 54-51 win against league MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs during the regular season was supposed to be a barometer or playoff preview for what fans could expect from the Rams.
For the most part, head coach McVay and his offense pretty much did that, whipping Dallas in the divisional round and then putting up the points needed to beat the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game. But instead of looking like doorbusters against the Patriots, the Rams offense went into a corner and lay whimpering with their tails between their legs.
The Rams might as well have not shown up if they were going to score just three points. The lackluster offensive showing by the Rams offense highlighted a couple of things: One, Goff is still a season or two away from being THAT GUY. The Patriots dared McVay and the Rams to allow Goff to beat them with his arm. Guess who won this staredown? It wasn’t Goff or the Rams.
Secondly, sometimes statistical numbers cannot really measure the true quality of a player who can take a whole team on his back and they ride him/her all the way to a title. Despite putting up 4,688 passing yards and 32 touchdowns, Goff and the Rams offense had to rely on the ability of the play-action to make things work for them. That translate into running the football well.
With Todd Gurley II and C.J. Anderson in the backfield, the Rams had been successful in implementing and executing the play-action all season long. Well, the Patriots were not fooled by that. New England’s defense came out and told Goff and the Rams offense that the jig was up. Gurley only rushed the football 10 times for a meaningless 35 yards. Anderson had seven carries for 22 yards. That’s just not going to get it done.
As a result of the Rams not able to run the football with any kind of success, Goff looked spooked, misfiring on a lot of his throws. And please, do not be deceived by the game’s final numbers that show that Goff passed for a decent 229 yards in the game. Because of their offensive ineptness, the Rams punted nine times in the game. Goff passed for only 52 yards through the first three quarters of the game.
Goff and Los Angeles managed to record just two first downs and 57 total yards in the first half as New England took a 3-0 lead into intermission. Great entertainment this was not. It was an embarrassment for the league to have this type of performance. It also showed that maybe the Rams should not have been there in the first place. Karma works in mysterious ways.
For some reason, gimmicky offenses that rely on trick plays and fooling people typically don’t do well on the big stage. Ask Chip Kelly. Look at what happened to the University of Oregon when they played Ohio State a couple of years back. Some would argue that it was because of McVay’s innovativeness that got the Rams into the Super Bowl in the first place.
I would argue that the league, judging by the Patriots’ defensive showing in Super Bowl LIII, has caught up. The book is now out on how to stop Goff and the Rams offense, thanks to New England exposing them.
And exposed they were. But Brady and the Patriots weren’t exactly setting the world on fire, either. If their offense showed any semblance of life, the Rams could have claimed their second Super Bowl. Unfortunately, for Donald, the league’s two-time defensive player of the year, for defensive backs Marcus Peters, Aqib, Talib, and the other Rams defenders, they couldn’t get any help on the offensive end.
As a result, Brady and the Patriots finally put the game away with a punctuating scoring drive in the final period to reclaim the championship throne. For the Rams, that opportunity flew out of the window. At least for now.