Rams silenced by the NFL’s version of Hannibal Lector
Gris-Gris. Voodoo. Black Magic.
Most New Orleans Saints fans will say this is the reason why the Los Angeles Rams choked in the biggest game of their lives when they fell 13-3 to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. It was payback for the illegitimate way they entered the game after the debacle that was the NFC Championship.
I, however, have some other words to describe what happened. How about out played, out coached, and just plain out physicaled (if that is even a word). Not that I don’t believe that voodoo had something to do with it (knock on wood, cross my fingers).
Basically, the Rams got slaughtered by the Hannibal Lector of the NFL; namely one Bill Belichick. That statement is not based on who he is as a person. He may be a great guy outside of the game.
What I base that on is the way he is able to get inside of opposing coaches minds. He comes up with a game plan that seems to make them put their teams in situations they do not want to be in. That has led Belichick to a 255-89 record as the Patriots head coach; a winning percentage of 74%.
On Sunday, Belichick and his defensive coaching staff dissected the Los Angeles offense, ripping the heart and soul out of the Rams and devouring Ram head coach Sean McVay’s game plan with some fava beans and a nice chianti.
Like him or not, with this win, Belichick places himself as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, head coach in the history of the league. The Bill Parcells’ protégé, Belichick, has now won six of the nine Super Bowls he has coached in.
The mark of any great coach is how they adjust to any changing situation. Belichick proved that this season. When everyone in the sporting world wrote the Patriots off as not having what it takes to get back to the title game, Belichick steadily guided his club to another world championship.
And speaking of adjustments, just think about what New England accomplished on their way to Sunday’s game. The Patriots were able to hold three of the top 10 offensive teams in the NFL (Chargers, Chiefs, Rams) to a combined 24 points in the first three quarters of play in each of those games.
Belichick is no fool. Just like all other successful coaches he utilized a game plan that was used by former New England defensive coordinator and current Detriot Lions head coach Matt Patricia when they played the Rams earlier in the season. Believe it or not coaches steal ideas and concepts all the time.
The game plan included taking away the home run plays that Los Angeles hung their hat on throughout the year and making the Rams drive the field for their points. By stopping the run and not biting on the play action passing game, the Patriots completely shut down the Los Angeles offense.
On the flip side, New England’s patience on offense was also part of that game plan. While most Patriot fans were probably freaking out at their team’s limited point production, there was a reason for the way New England ran their offense.
What Belichick knew coming in was that the Ram defense was a very young and active group. The Patriots used that against them by holding on to the ball and controlling the time of possession.
Even though the running game was not as productive in the first two quarters, the steady pounding on the Los Angeles defensive front eventually took its toll later in the game. MVP Julian Edelman provided what he usually does, a possession receiver that helped keep drives alive.
By the end of the first half, New England was plus nine minutes in time of possession. As the game wore on, the Patriots’ offensive line began to assert themselves more and more, mainly because the Los Angeles defense had been on the field a long time. Just look at the last two New England drives for evidence of how deflated the Ram defense became.
To me, there is no doubt that a Saints/Patriots match-up would have been a much more entertaining game. With Belichick and New Orleans head coach Sean Payton going head to head in game planning, the Super Bowl would have been a much more entertaining game.
I truly believe the Saints would have put pressure on the Patriots to score more than the 13 points they did. But, unfortunately we will never know. That match-up was taken away by an incompetent officiating crew.
I am by no means a New England fan. But, you have to tip your hat to their organization. Year in and year out, the Patriots find a way to have themselves in position for a title run.
To win six Super Bowl championships is an accomplishment only one other team can claim. And, to count out New England next season would not be a wise decision. Just remember, Hannibal Lector is still out there, scheming on how to outwit his next victim.
Super Bowl LIII will always have an asterisk by it because of the NFC Championship game. However, Belichick and the Patriots left no doubt that they were the dominate team Sunday.
Just my opinion!!!