Patriots Reflect On Super Bowl LIII, Know It’s Different Rams Team

'This is a whole new team'


December 9, 2020

The New England Patriots will take the field during “Thursday Night Football” in what will be a rematch from one of the franchise’s most memorable games.

The Patriots will face the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium for a Week 14 clash, New England’s second consecutive game in L.A. It also will be a rematch of Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, when the Patriots, as you may recall, earned their sixth championship after a 13-3 victory over the Rams.

“It was one of the best parts of my career, playing in that game against those guys,” cornerback Stephon Gilmore told reporters earlier this week. “I just think it?s a memory, a great memory in my career. Being in New England, something that you?re going to always remember. It takes a lot of hard work to get there, to those big moments.”

Gilmore, as you may remember, had arguably his biggest play in a Patriots uniform that day. He intercepted Rams quarterback Jared Goff for what was a game-altering play in a defensive game where there were plenty of them.

Ja’Whaun Bentley, who was a rookie linebacker at the time, recalls breaking down film with then teammate Kyle Van Noy and Dont’a Hightower, who opted out of the 2020 season. Bentley was injured, and thus didn’t play in the game.

But while Patriots players don’t forget that game against the Rams, and never will, they are well-aware it doesn’t coincide with Thursday.

“This game, obviously, has nothing to do with the Super Bowl,” Bentley said, bluntly, earlier this week. “This is a whole new team, and we?re just ready do get it done.”

Gilmore added: “It?s a new year, they kind of have the same players, have the same quarterback, coach. It’s going to be a big opportunity for us. They?re playing great ball right now so I?m justing looking forward to it.”

It doesn’t mean they won’t rewatch the film, though.

Patriots center David Andrews, however, won’t put much stock into it. Bentley expressed much of the same, noting the Patriots will look to see what happened in that game, but it still was two years ago and a lot has changed in that time.

Andrews, specifically, will be tasked with facing Rams’ Aaron Donald, a five-time All-Pro who should be in the conversation for a second Defensive Player of the Year award.

“He’s different than he was in 2018. I’m different than I was in 2018,” Andrews told reporters, as noted by’s Zack Cox. “I’ll go back and skim at it, but it’s nothing I major in.”

Of course, if there’s one similarity the Patriots will be hoping for it’s the end result. Maybe not a 13-3 rock fight, but a win nonetheless. After all, New England’s playoff hopes largely hinge on it.

Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images
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