Give Tom Brady credit for delivering one clutch scoring drive, when it appeared the vaunted Patriots’ offense was going to fall on its collective face, as in the two New York Giants Super Bowl upset defeats. Credit Rob Gronkowski for one of the great late-game catches in Super Bowl history. Credit Julian Edelman for an MVP game as Brady’s favorite receiver. His catches at least moved the ball down the field and ate up clock and wore down to an extent the Rams’ defense.
Credit the offensive line for consistent pass blocking for Brady and the occasional quick opening for the Sony Michel/Rex Burkhead ground game. Credit Stephen Gostkowski for delivering on two clutch field goals.
But make no mistake, people. This record-matching sixth Super Bowl victory was ALL about an extraordinary defense in what evolved into the lowest scoring game in 53 years of Super Bowl heroics. A defense that gave up 41 points last year to backup Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, allowed a mere three points this time against the second most prolific offense in the National Football League this past season. Egg was all over the faces of head coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia after last year’s debacle in Minneapolis. Patricia fled to Detroit as the Lions’ new head coach. Bill stayed behind to try and make up for his screw-up from the Eagles debacle.
This time, the faces of Belichick and DC Brian Flores were plastered with nothing more than strategic brilliance, even moreso after Patrick Chung was lost for the game in the third quarter due to injury.
Just amazing. A defense that was maligned throughout much of the season, especially after road losses at Detroit and later Tennessee, became a critical component of the Patriots’ remarkable Super Bowl drive to victory. After losing back-to-back games at Miami and Pittsburgh, the defense became the Rock of Gibraltar, carrying the team to five straight victories and impressive playoff performances against the L.A. Chargers, the favored Kansa City Chiefs (shutting them out in Arrowhead for the first thirty minutes), and then baffling Rams’ QB whiz kid Jared Goff, keeping the Rams out of the end zone for the entire 60 minutes. Maybe Goff was in over his head, maybe not.
So as the Patriots continue re-writing the NFL record book in so many ways, i.e. ninth Super Bowl appearance, a record-tying (with the Steelers) sixth Super Bowl victory, record-breaking sixth wins for Belichick and Brady, etc., etc., etc., the greatest dynasty in the history of sport, especially since the onset of free agency and the rest of the parity-seeking rules the Steelers never had to deal with, rolls along. And only a few months after the Red Sox won their fourth World Series in the last 13 years.
My oh my. We Bostonians continue as the envy of professional sports fans everywhere. Time to get ready for another duck boat parade.
And ALL, I emphasize All, thanks to the Patriots’ defense, which now must be considered one of the great defenses in Super Bowl annals. Yes, Bill, this makes up for last year’s debauchery in Minnie.