By: Nick Pooler
Love them or hate them, the Patriots dynasty is still here and proved once again why they are the best. With a 13-3 low scoring win over the Rams, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots limited the Los Angeles Rams offense to almost nothing. Julian Edelman (10 catches, 141 yards), took home the MVP for the Patriots. They were also headlined by rookie RB Sony Michel (18 carries, 94 yards, TD) who stole the show for the Patriots in the playoffs.
The game was very slow moving, there were a lot of punts due to a very strong performance by both defensive sides. The Patriots hit the scoreboard first but not until the 2nd quarter. Stephen Gostkowski hit from 42 yards out with 10:29 to go in the first half to give the Patriots a 3-0 lead. The Rams, who were shut out until the third quarter, got on the board from a Greg Zuerlein 53-yarder with 2:11 to go in the third. Both kickers missed field goals in this game from more than 40 yards away.
The Patriots scored the first and only touchdown of the game in the 4th quarter when Michel ran it in from 2-yards out with 7 minutes to go in the game. The Rams were then driving down the field when QB Jared Goff (19-38, 229 YDS, INT) threw a huge interception around the 4 minute mark. Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore picked it off near his own endzone on a Hail Mary attempt. This play was a real risk for Los Angeles, this throw was made on 2nd down on a questionable play call. Goff underthrew his receiver and Gilmore jumped in front and picked it off.
There was a little bit of drama towards the end of the game around 1:20 left in the game. The Patriots were around the 27 yard line of the Rams and were stopped to 4th and inches. They had to make a decision on if they should go for it or kick it. As mentioned earlier, Gostkowski had missed a kick from roughly that distance earlier in the game. Bill Belichick and crew opted to take the field goal and trust his veteran kicker. Gostkowski pulled through and nailed the 41-yarder to put the Pats up by 10 and put the game out of reach.
The Rams were led offensively by Brandin Cooks who had 8 receptions for 120 yards. Todd Gurley was non-existint with 10 carries for 35 yards with only 11 total touches. Cory Littleton led them defensively with 10 tackles, an interception and 2 pass deflections. The Patriots also had a huge quiet boost from TE Rob Gronkowski who played every single offensive snap for New England. He finished with 6 catches for 87 yards and had some key blocks for them. CB Jonathan Jones stepped up big with 8 tackles and 1 sack. New England lost a leader in S Pat Chung early in the game with an arm injury and he was unable to return.
Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores dominated the Rams with his play calls. He did not get enough credit for his efforts in this game. Monday morning he signed the finishing touches to a well-deserved head coaching position with the Miami Dolphins.
This game gives New England their 6th Super Bowl where Belichick has been involved in a total of 23% of them which is a remarkable stat. To all of the Patriot haters, sit back and enjoy greatness. This is a dynasty we may never see again and their greatness is unstoppable. Tom Brady continues to win with age and will continue to until the day he calls it quits. Like I said, it is time to sit back and watch greatness happen.