Super Bowl LI surely brought Raheem Morris a fair amount of pain. Morris was the wide receivers coach of the 2016 Atlanta Falcons, who blew a 25-point second-half lead to the New England Patriots on football’s biggest stage.
But with crushing defeats come lessons learned, and Morris’ experience five years ago in Houston served as a useful resource in Super Bowl LVI.
In a conversation with Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the Rams defensive coordinator explained how the Falcons’ historic collapse against the Patriots helped him keep Los Angeles players’ minds right throughout their championship clash with the Cincinnati Bengals.
“There’s no doubt about it, in those moments, people tend to get tight. And we got tight in Atlanta,” Morris told Breer. “We lost that game. We got tight all across the board, whether you wanna say it was on defense, whether you say it was offense, or special teams, we didn’t have the ability to close that game out. I didn’t want these guys to get tight. So when Aaron (Donald) jumped off that bench, I knew that wasn’t a tight moment — that was a moment where he was ready to just go out there and thrive in the adversity, and go win this football game.
“I don’t think anybody got tight when they took the lead. I don’t think anybody got tight when they got the big play coming out of halftime, right into the interception. Everybody stayed the course. That even keel, that steady feel, credit has to go to Sean McVay and how the team is run. But it definitely was a lesson learned for me going into this game. You wanted to stay the course, and let these guys go out and win the football game.”
The Rams’ solid showing against Joe Burrow and company only boosted the stock of Morris, who very well could land a head-coaching job next year.