The defense was stifling, Edelman was a machine, and Brady-Belichick did it again. Breakout Live breaks down the top storylines from Super Bowl 53.
Defense wins championships.
In a year that featured some of the most prolific offenses in league history, it was the defenses that took over Super Bowl 53 in what became the lowest-scoring game in Super Bowl history.
The Rams’ bend-but-don’t-break defense held the Patriots to a mere 3 points through three and a half quarters. That should have been good enough for the Rams offense to take home the Lombardi.
But on this night, the Patriots defense was even better. They held the Rams scoreless for nearly 3 quarters, shutting down the 1-2 running punch of Gurley and Anderson (57 combined yards) and making Goff look inept most of the night. They made two huge hits in the end zone that nullified two sure touchdowns, the second of which was made by Stephon Gilmore with just over 4 minutes remaining and the Rams on the doorstep of tying the game. Gilmore would then intercept the very next pass by Goff, setting up the Patriots game-clinching drive.
The Patriots’ last two opponents, the Chiefs and Rams, were 1-2 in scoring in the league this year and finished #3 and #10, respectively, on the all-time scoring list in NFL history. The Patriots shut them both out in the first half. In holding the Rams offense – which had averaged 33 points per game on the season – to a mere field goal, the Patriots engineered and executed one of the greatest defensive game-plans in Super Bowl history.
So yeah, defense can still win championships.
From suspension to Super Bowl MVP
Maybe the Patriots should suspend a star player to start every season. Because in 2 of the last 3 seasons, a Patriots player who has been suspended for the first 4 games of the season has gone on to win Super Bowl MVP. First it was Brady in 2016, as a result of the Goodell-manufactured faux scandal. And this year it was Julian Edelman, who was banned for a PED violation.
On a night where the entire Patriots defense could have easily been handed the award, Edelman was dominant and deserving. He took in 10 catches for 141 and a 14-yard average. The Rams were content not to double him most of the night, and Edelman punished them for it. While Edelman didn’t catch a touchdown and only had one catch on the lone Patriots touchdown drive, he was crucial in the Patriots ball-control offense which ultimately wore down the Rams defensive line and allowed the Patriots to seal the win late by grinding out first downs.
The NFL’s greatest dynasty rolls on.
The Steelers of the 70s, the 49ers of the 80s and the Cowboys of the 90s were legitimate dynasties in the NFL. For those of you too young to have lived through those times, it seemed like those teams would never be knocked from their perch. In actuality, the Steelers won 4 titles in 6 years, the Cowboys won 3 titles in 4 years, and the 49ers won 4 titles in 8 years (and added a fifth 5 years later). So as dominant as these teams were, none compares to what the New England Patriots have achieved in recent times.
The Brady-Belichick era Patriots have reached a staggering 9 Super Bowls in 18 seasons and have won 6. Despite playing in a league with huge player turnover and losing a horde of coaches to other teams, the Patriots have managed to play at a consistently elite level for nearly two decades running. They played in eight straight conference championships and have won their division 10 straight seasons. If you add in the two seasons where they tied for the division title but lost on a tiebreaker, the Patriots have either won or tied for the division title every single year this century – 18 seasons and counting.
With all due respect to the dynasties of the past, there is simply nothing in NFL history that compares to the New England Patriots of the last two decades.
The GOAT isn’t ready to be put out to pasture.
You can’t talk about the Patriots dynasty without mentioning Tom Brady. I know you’re tired of hearing about him, but it won’t stop until he does. His 9th Super Bowl appearance is by far a record for any player. His 6th Super Bowl victory surpasses Charles Haley’s five rings and means Tom Brady is now the most decorated player in Super Bowl history. And at 41, he’s now the oldest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl.
Brady didn’t have his most prolific Super Bowl performance against the Rams, but he is the guy who fed the game’s MVP, and for the sixth time in six Super Bowl victories, Brady led his team to a game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter or overtime.
And if you take his interviews before and after the Big Game at face value, Tom Brady isn’t planning to ride off into the sunset. Which means his already insurmountable Super Bowl achievements might just get pushed a little further out of reach.