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.

Getty Images

Sunday's loss to the Broncos was a complete embarrassment. During the Bill O'Brien era, there have been no shortage of losses like this. Narrowing it down to five was not easy. Let's take a look back at the Hall of Shame:

No. 5: Ravens 41, Texans 7, Nov. 17, 2019

The Texans went into Baltimore on a nice roll, hoping to get a huge win and get themselves in position for a first-round bye. From the first possession, when Deshaun Watson had a terrible turnover, the Texans looked like a bad high school team. They had no answer on defense for Lamar Jackson, and the offense was unable to do anything. The Ravens are the best team in the AFC, so the shame level on this one is not as bad, but the effort (or lack thereof) in such a big game makes this one an easy addition to the list.

The next week: The Texans bounced back and beat the Colts in a Thursday night game 20-17.

No. 4: Falcons 48, Texans 21, Oct. 4, 2015

This game was an embarrassment from the beginning. As in many of these losses, they gave up a touchdown on offense early, were down 28-0 at the half and 42-0 at one point before adding some pointless garbage time points, another common theme in the losses. For O'Brien, it proved his team "didn't quit." In real life, it was a complete dismantling and the late scores were meaningless stat padders.

The next week: The dropped a 27-20 home game against the Colts.

No. 3: Dolphins 44, Texans 26, Oct. 25, 2015

Another where you can ignore the final score. The Texans were down 41-0 at one point and were dominated by Lamar Miller. The worst part? In his quest to make the score look better, O'Brien left Arian Foster in the game late, and he suffered a season ending injury. It was a dumb move to mask how unprepared the Texans were. In all of these games, the Texans were not ready, got in huge early holes, had poor game plans, and looked like they did not belong on the field. This was one of the worst.

The next week: They beat the Titans and reeled off four straight wins.

No. 2: Broncos 38, Texans 24, Dec. 8, 2019

The Texans were down 31-3 at halftime and never had any chance. They added 21 garbage time points to make the score look better, but make no mistake, this was a complete dismantling. As in all the other games, they were clueless on both sides of the ball and looked completely overmatched by a team that was 4-8 coming in and was starting a rookie QB. For a team that had high aspirations, the loss was a complete joke and was the kind of game that makes you question whether or not they can even make the playoffs. Leaving Deshaun Watson in to make the score look better was typical O'Brien and completely ridiculous.

The next week: They play at Tennessee in a game that could knock them out of the division lead.

No. 1: Chiefs 30, Texans 0, Jan. 9, 2016

Hopes were high as the Texans had a home playoff game. The hopes ended on the opening kickoff as the Chiefs returned the initial kickoff for a touchdown. Quarterback Brian Hoyer threw four picks, and who can forget the brilliant idea to have J.J. Watt run the wildcat? The thing that stands out about this game and the Baltimore loss? No empty points at the end to make it look better. In fact, no points at all.

The next week: There wasn't one. They were ousted from the playoffs.

The common thread

In every case, the Texans entered with a bad game plan, got in massive holes, and never had any chance, and O'Brien had no answers. Good teams play bad games all the time, but how often do they look completely unprepared and never have an opportunity? In every one of these games, you knew they were beaten by the second quarter. O'Brien has too many of these clueless efforts on his resume. Will they bounce back next week? History says yes, but after Sunday, do you have any faith in that?

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome