The New England Patriots are Super Bowl LIII champions, and they largely have their defense to thank.
Yes, you read that correctly.
While Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots’ offense caught their fair share of flak over the course of the season, New England’s defense was deemed by many the most glaring weakness of the club. Although there’s no denying that the defense struggled at times during the regular season, they elevated their game in the playoffs.
The unit ultimately saved its best for last, as it limited Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and Los Angeles Rams to just three points Sunday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Goff never seemed to be completely comfortable at any point in the contest, as New England’s front seven effectively wreaked havoc from start to finish.
Patrick Chung was well aware that consistent pressure was the key to victory, and he made sure the Patriots’ defensive line knew as much before the game kicked off.
“I told them before the game, ‘We all gotta play good, but if you guys play good, the game’s over. Stop the run, get to Goff. You guys win the game,'” Chung told CBS’ Ian Eagle and Boomer Esiason after the game. “So thank you, D-line. I love you guys. You guys did this, man. You took care of it. So I appreciate it. All love, baby. Truly.”
Chung was forced to watch the bulk of the second half from the sideline, as the veteran safety sustained an arm injury on the Rams’ first series of the second half. But despite being assisted by a sling, we have a feeling Chung was pain-free as he hoisted the Lombardi Trophy before a sea of Patriots fans in Atlanta.
Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports