By HCR Staff | Feb. 4, 2019
How did the New England Patriots win Super Bowl LIII? Defense, defense, defense. They held the Los Angeles Rams – a team that averaged 32.9 points per game in 2018 – to three points in their 13-3 victory, the sixth Super Bowl win of the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era.
The chess match between defensive guru Belichick and Rams head coach Sean McVay, the offensive whiz kid, turned out to be the critical matchup everybody was expecting. It’s hard to imagine, though, that many people thought the matchup would be this one-sided.
The Rams averaged 421.1 yards of offense per game this season. In Super Bowl LIII, they were held to 260.
How did the Patriots do that? According to McVay, they adjusted from what they had been doing during their run through the AFC playoffs.
“They mixed it up,” McVay said, via The Athletic. “They had played almost exclusively man coverage principles and decided who they can take away… They had a great game plan.”
Based on game tape, the Rams expected more man coverage from the New England defense. What they got was a heavy dose of zone defense that they were not prepared for. McVay took the blame for his offense’s failure to adjust.
“They definitely changed it up with what they had done over the past couple of weeks, especially when you look at some of the things that enabled them to have success against the Chargers and against the Chiefs,” McVay said. “They still played some front structures that we anticipated and they did an excellent job with it… Their coverage principles were definitely mixed compared to what they put on tape. They did a great job, and it is something that I’m disappointed that I didn’t do a better job of adjusting in the framework of the game. That is one of the things that makes them great.”