It’s tough to imagine anyone saw Super Bowl LIII playing out the way it did.
Both the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots reached Super Sunday largely due to their top-tier offenses. The 2018 NFL season finale, however, was a defensive showdown that featured only 16 total points and concluded with the Patriots winning their sixth Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
The Rams’ 260 total yards were their second fewest of the entire campaign. Jared Goff only completed 50 percent of his passes, while star running back Todd Gurley was limited to 35 rushing yards on 10 carries. It was a collectively lousy performance any way you slice it, but for Goff, the offensive shortcomings were even more troubling given how well Los Angeles’ defense performed against Tom Brady and Co.
“The fact that our defense played the game they did, and Wade (Phillips) coached the way he did, all the plays we made — we got an interception on the first play of the game — and offensively, and me personally, we weren’t able to hold up our end, that’s what really bothered me,” Goff said Friday at Rams OTAs, as transcribed by Sports Illustrated. “At this point, late May, early June, I’m able to move past that, and you’re on to the next step of your career and your life.
“But for a while there, that was the big sticking point in my head.”
The Rams have been fairly candid about their loss this past February. Sean McVay, who admitted immediately after the game that he was outcoached by Bill Belichick, suggested excessive preparation as a possible cause of defeat. Los Angeles arguably was the league’s best team over the course of the regular season, but the club, quite frankly, didn’t look ready for the moment against New England.
Luckily for the Rams, they’re primed for another successful season in 2019. And while the sting of a Super Bowl loss might never go away, L.A. can use the lessons it learned in Atlanta moving forward as the franchise looks to get over the hump.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images