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 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.
-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 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.
With a new season on the horizon, the Astros have high hopes for 2024 after coming just one game shy of being in the World Series for three consecutive seasons.
If Houston wants to get back to the Fall Classic in 2024, they're going to have to rely on their pitching. Owner Jim Crane believes the club has 8 starting pitchers when Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. return mid-season.
Which allows several of the starters to move to the bullpen and provide even more depth. Add those guys to Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly, and Josh Hader and you have a recipe for success.
Check out the video above as ESPN Houston's Jeremy Branham goes through the entire staff and makes his case for the Astros having the best pitching staff in baseball.
You can listen to The Killer B's with Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank every weekday on ESPN 97.5 & 92.5 from 3 pm - 6 pm!