The Patriots dynasty continues with a 13-3 win over the Rams

The good, bad and ugly of Super Bowl 53

Eric J. Adler, Patriots website

In the lowest scoring Super Bowl in NFL history, the Patriots beat the Rams 13-3. Here's how I saw it play out:

The Good

-The refs let both teams play down the field. Defensive backs and wide receivers like to hand fight running routes most times. The refs allowed them to be physical and it made for a better game. Games have more flow when they aren't chopped up by flags. The Patriots didn't get a defensive penalty called on them until the fourth quarter.

-Tom Brady loves his slot receivers, especially the Smurf-types who run great routes and have sure hands. Julian Edelman is the second leading receiver in post season history because he fits that description perfectly. He added to that total with 10 catches for 141 yards.

-Bill Belichick and Sean McVey had a great chess match as opposing playcallers: Belichick as the grizzled defensive guru, and McVey as the boy wonder on offense. There was also Wade Phillips directing the Rams defense against Josh McDaniels and the Patriots offense. This was like watching Ali-Foreman or Leonard-Duran. Most people would say in this era of scoring, this was a bad game. I beg to differ.

The Bad

-Brady threw an interception on the Patriots first possession. They were in field goal range when Brady uncharacteristically threw a pass high and into traffic. It was tipped and picked off by Rams linebacker Cory Littleton. In such a tight game, taking points off the board proved to be huge.

-The Rams had 57 total yards of offense and two first downs. They had three times as many punts (six) as they had first downs in that half. It looked as if the Patriots would control the game, but they were only up 3-0 at the half. It was the second lowest scoring first half since Super Bowl 9 when the Steelers led the Vikings 2-0.

-The Rams inability to stop the run became their Achilles heel. The Patriots ran for 146 yards as a team.

The Ugly

-The Rams' Nikell Robey-Coleman was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a 2nd&14 play in which he hit Rex Burkhead helmet to helmet for a four yard loss. It went from a potential 3rd&18, to a 1st&10. Robey-Coleman thanked his lucky stars when Stephen Gostkowski missed the field goal.

- Patriots safety Patrick Chung seemed to have broken his arm early in the third quarter. He's so critical to what Belichek likes to do on that side of the ball. Whether it's as a blitzer, man coverage, zone coverage, or as a spy, Chung is Belichick X-Factor. He showed his toughness by refusing to take the cart to the x-ray room, and coming back to the sideline with his aircast on.

-Jared Goff threw a crucial interception in the fourth quarter. 2nd&10 on the Patriots 27-yard line down 10-3 with 4:17 left in the game, Belichick brought out the zero blitz to pressure the young quarterback. Goff lobbed a ball up to Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore made the pick at the four yard line.

Sometimes I wonder what would've happened had Yoda ever had to fight Luke Skywalker? Would Yoda have won because he was older, wiser, and more experienced? Would Luke win because he's younger, faster, and more innovative? Belichick may have answered that question for us as far as football is concerned. End the discussion now. Brady and Belichick the GOATs at their respective spots. We'll never see another dynasty like this in the NFL, ever. I consoder myself blessed to have been fortunate enough to have seen this whole thing from beginning to now. We should all consider ourselves fortunate. Regardless of how some may feel about them, this is history. This is greatness.

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Houston looked much more like themselves

Astros return to form in win over Angels at home

Cristian Javier was impressive Thursday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Hoping to avoid spiraling further out of control, the Astros turned the page from their disappointing road trip and the recent stretch of games. They hoped to start this new homestand on a good note, welcoming in the Angels for four games of this eight-game stint at Minute Maid Park.

Houston would get the much-needed win, with their offense coming alive early in the game to put up big innings, which they rode to the victory thanks in part to a great start by Cristian Javier.

Final Score: Astros 8, Angels 2

Astros' Record: 8-10, fifth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Cristian Javier (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Alex Cobb (1-1)

Astros' offense starts clicking early

Houston would grab the early momentum, despite leaving the bases loaded in the first inning. They would get a leadoff double by Aledmys Diaz in the bottom of the second, followed by an RBI triple by Myles Straw to jump in front 1-0. They made it a three-run inning, with an RBI by Carlos Correa then a bases-loaded RBI-walk by Yuli Gurriel, though for consecutive innings would leave three runners stranded on base.

Correa drove in another in the bottom of the next inning, getting an RBI single to push the lead to four runs, then would come in on a two-run single by Alex Bregman, who made it 6-0. That set things up nicely for Cristian Javier, who was on the mound trying to take advantage of the opportunity for another start.

Javier has an electric start



Javier was electric over the first three innings, including getting eight of the first nine outs by strikeout while allowing only a walk and double during that span. He would have longer innings in the next two, but in both cases would keep the Angels off the board, finishing in line for the win. His final line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 98 P.

Houston gets the much-needed win

Meanwhile, Houston's offense kept scoring. They pushed the lead two runs further over the fourth and fifth, getting a run in each with another RBI each for Straw and Bregman. With Javier's night done, Bryan Abreu was first out of the Astros bullpen, and despite allowing a controversial two-run home run to Albert Pujols, of all people, that looked to be a foul ball, got through the inning.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the seventh but would get just one out while hitting a batter and allowing a single before Dusty Baker brought in Brooks Raley to face the heavy left-handed part of the Angels lineup. Raley would get through it, sending things to the seventh-inning stretch with the six-run lead intact.

Raley would get another out before Joe Smith would finish that inning in the top of the eighth. Ryan Pressly, who has been starved for work lately with no save opportunities, would close things out in the ninth as Houston would start this series off with a win.

Up Next: Game two of this four-game set will be another 7:10 PM start on Friday night. Andrew Heaney (1-1, 5.65 ERA) will be on the mound for the Angels, while Zack Greinke (2-1, 2.81 ERA) will look to repeat the success of his last start; an eight-inning shutout performance for the Astros.

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