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NFL Matchups - Week SB Recap

New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams

Venue: Mercedes-Benz Stadium(Atlanta)Sun. 2-3 @ 6:30 pm ESTOver/Under: 56.5

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New England Patriots 13  Los Angeles Rams 3

Yawn…

That’s the sound of me trying to stay awake during that snooze-fest last night called Super Bowl LIII. Yes, let’s give credit to the Patriots and their continued, near inexplicable, streak of league dominance, but in the process couldn’t we have gotten a slightly more entertaining last game of the year? It is really quite disappointing that this boring and sloppy display of football is going to be our last impression of the NFL for the next eight months… Regardless, against all odds, the Patriots got it done once again and appeared unphased after an offseason of losing a starting left tackle, their number one and three wide receivers, and their top cornerback.

On the bright side, I suppose, we at least saw two excellent punters duel it out. Really grasping at straws here.

Patriots

Before we begin breaking down the individual fantasy stats, I just wanted to give a shout out to the Patriots defense, coordinator Brian Flores, and of course Bill Belichick. This was the first time in Belichick’s nine Super Bowl appearances that he kept the opposing offense out of the end zone, and to think that it came against maybe the best offense that he has ever faced in the Super Bowl makes it all the more impressive. What a performance by that side of the football.

As for the stats, Tom Brady obviously led the Pats in the passing department. He finished the day 21-of-35 with 262 passing yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. He was hardly impressive and finished with just a 25.8 QBR. Thank the lord for Julian Edelman… But more on that in a minute.

In the rushing department, Sony Michel led the way with 94 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Not only was he productive, but he busted off some huge runs when it really mattered. He notably had some very clutch moments on the Patriots final drive, where he – along with Rex Burkhead  – effectively put the game out of reach. Speaking of Burkhead, he finished second on the team with 43 yards on seven carries.

In the receiving department, your Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman led the game with 10 catches for 141 yards. It appeared that he could get open at will, while the Rams inexplicably refused to double-team him. One of the big surprises in the game was that the Rams also continued to run zone coverage throughout the contest, allowing Edelman to pick up some easy third down conversions over the middle of the field. Long drives from the Patriots made it difficult for the Rams to get much of anything going on offense. Behind Edelman was Rob Gronkowski, who hauled in six passes for 87 yards. No other Patriots receiver caught more than two passes.

In terms of injuries, Patrick Chung had his arm smashed between two players early in the third quarter. He left wearing an air cast and didn’t return to action.

Rams

This section should be short and brief, considering the Rams accomplished close to nothing offensively on Sunday…

In the passing game, Jared Goff appeared a bit shellshocked. He managed just 226 yards, completed just 50-percent of his passes, was sacked four times, and was picked off once. The blame shouldn’t necessarily be placed on his right shoulder however, as the Rams offensive identity was completely altered because of the Patriots defensive game plan. The fact that the Pats took away the Rams ability to run the football and play-action pass, Goff was asked to do things that he hadn’t been all season long. His struggles were symptomatic of Sean McVay’s poor game, rather than simply being the reason that the Rams lost.

On the ground, Todd Gurley returned to the lead back role, but nothing much came of it. He led the team with 10 carries and 35 yards, while he caught just one pass for -1 yards. C.J. Anderson saw just seven carries and managed only 22 yards. He added two catches for just 12 more yards.

If you are looking for an offensive bright spot from the Rams, it has to be Brandin Cooks, who kind of lit up his former team. He finished the game with eight catches for 120 yards. He also led the team with 13 targets. Robert Woods finished second on the team with five catches for 70 yards on 10 targets.

In terms of injuries, the Rams were lucky enough to go into the offseason healthy. That’s not to say that they didn’t leave it all out on the field, but rather their offensive performance may indicate that.

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