2001 All Over Again: Pats’ D Carries Team

Was it as bad a game as I think it was? Did Goff’s suckitude hand the victory to the Patriots? Or did we actually witness something special?

Well, Bill Barnwell- a guy who knows his shit- thinks this was the “best defensive performance we’ve ever seen in a Super Bowl”. I’m not going to recount his whole article, you can check it out if you have some time, but here’s my take…I agree with him.

I’m not going to do the hardo thing, and tell you it was a great game to watch, you just don’t understand defense. No. It was not entertaining…not trying to convince you otherwise.

The Rams were clearly not ready for the moment, but this is a team that scored over 500 points. McVay is an excellent offensive coach, it’s settled science. They didn’t perform last night, but I think it was the Patriots’ plan and execution- rather than being afraid or unprepared- that made them so inept.

Goff never got in a rhythm, scratch that, he couldn’t even stand still. New England mixed and matched blitzes and games up front to put what seemed like endless pressure on him every time he dropped to pass.

When he did have a second, the NE coverage was excellent on the whole. The few times they did pop a guy open, the Patriots seemed to have a defender flying in to break up the play.

Everyone made plays. Gilmore and Hightower really led the way, but Van Noy, McCourty, Christ… Danny freakin’ Shelton all had big plays.

They also were remarkably effective getting off the field. The Rams ended up 3-13 on 3rd down, but it seemed like forever before they actually converted one. It was 8 minutes into the 3rd Quarter before they managed more than a 5 play drive.

The NFL today, especially when McVay is concerned, is about offense. The offense always dictates the pace, and the personnel. But last night, the Patriots from Bill to Flores to Hightower all the way down to Jon Simon, were confident and shot out of a cannon….they hit like we haven’t seen in years (thankfully the refs cooperated on that front), and the DEFENSE dictated what the Rams were going to do.

This was like a throwback to 2001, except Goff and Gurley aren’t close to Warner and Faulk. The defense carried Brady and a struggling offense (And, don’t forget the kicker, Mike!) all the way to the 4th quarter, just like they did 17 years ago. And in the end, that’s how we’ll remember last night.

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