The Game Ball Thread: SB vs Rams

Jed Zeppelin

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Hard to just pick one guy though.

I have it as Edelman. In a field position game, he dominated. It’s one thing to be great in the slot where you have an over the top option or a great outside the numbers threat. The Patriots had neither. He was the only game in town other than Gronk for large portions of the game and was beating multiple guys over the middle where every route is a huge hit or interception waiting to happen.

The defense as a unit was the story of the game. But Edelman was the most valuable single player.

Even if viewed in part as a lifetime achievement award it is well deserved.
If Hightower snags that pick and (maybe) houses it or gets us close, 2 sacks + game-changing pick get you in position for the voters to recognize the defensive player. As far as I can remember, Ray Lewis was the only defensive player to get the award as the captain of an elite defensive performance without eye-popping individual numbers (only 5 tackles, no sacks, no turnovers against NYG, though he did have several PDs). Malcolm Smith, Miller, and Dexter Jackson all created multiple turnovers to get the MVP. Hightower needed that signature turnover, or Gilmore needed a 2nd INT.

Edelman deserved it 100%.
 

lars10

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Not worthy of a game ball, but I thought the Refs did a nice job keeping most of the flags in their pocket. The "late" hit on Brady when Donald threw him to the ground; the "late" hit on Goff when Jones ran him to the sideline; some probable holding calls on WRs (Edelman, Gronk, Woods, Cooks) not being called. Overall, I thought it was a well officiated game, even if I was frustrated at times with perceived no-calls.
It’s hard to say without the replays, but this allowed them to cherry pick calls late in the game.. the PI on Gilmore extended a drive for the rams... and then there was a holding call against them. I don’t mind it when they ‘let them play’..but when you allow the o-line to tackle a d-lineman on the first play from scrimmage and it doesn’t get much better all game.. I’m not sure how much credit that deserves. Also, the Rams dbs were tugging shirts all day and got called once. If the rams could have moved the ball those non-calls would have been huge.

Edit: I’m sure there were plenty of holding calls that could have been made both ways.. especially since there were so many that were basically tackles.
 
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lexrageorge

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It’s hard to say without the replays, but this allowed them to cherry pick calls late in the game.. the PI on Gilmore extended a drive for the rams... and then there was a holding call against them. I don’t mind it when they ‘let them play’..but when you allow the o-line to tackle a d-lineman on the first play from scrimmage and it doesn’t get much better all game.. I’m not sure how much credit that deserves. Also, the Rams dbs were tugging shirts all day and got called once. If the rams could have moved the ball those non-calls would have been huge.
I felt that the non-calls and missed calls evened out for the most part. For the most part, I don't mind the officials letting most incidental contact go. The only "cheap" foul may have been the holding call against the Rams that wiped out the Gurley run, but it was close.

And as much as the offensive lineman may have been tackling defenders, it didn't seem to help the Rams gain any sort of an edge. Or even the Pats for that matter, albeit to a lesser extent.
 

JimD

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They could have registered three turnovers - they got the one pick, Hightower dropped an easy one, and then the fumble, if it had just taken one little bounce in any other direction than directly out of bounds, would have been recovered by the Pats.
The would-be INT that Hightower dropped was very makeable, but I don't know if I would characterize it as 'easy'. I thought that play would come back to haunt us, very glad that it didn't.
 

Ed Hillel

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Hightower, for this alone:


Have mercy. Wow.
Hightower had the strangest year I’ve seen for any player ever. He went from moving like Wilfork off a chest injury to being as active and disruptive as he’s ever been. Was it just a matter of not being in game shape? Or maybe he secretly tweaked his knee again early.

His return to form late in the season singlehandedly changed my outlook for the team. When he’s at his peak, he’s about as good a playmaker on D as the Pats have had with Belichick. He can do it all, and he did for the last 6 weeks or so. Another Hall of Very Good guy.
 

BigSoxFan

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Hightower had the strangest year I’ve seen for any player ever. He went from moving like Wilfork off a chest injury to being as active and disruptive as he’s ever been. Was it just a matter of not being in game shape? Or maybe he secretly tweaked his knee again early.

His return to form late in the season singlehandedly changed my outlook for the team. When he’s at his peak, he’s about as good a playmaker on D as the Pats have had with Belichick. He can do it all, and he did for the last 6 weeks or so. Another Hall of Very Good guy.
Agreed. He is such a difference maker when it counts. Not having him and Jules last year was probably one of the main reasons why we lost.
 

joe dokes

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Hightower had the strangest year I’ve seen for any player ever. He went from moving like Wilfork off a chest injury to being as active and disruptive as he’s ever been. Was it just a matter of not being in game shape? Or maybe he secretly tweaked his knee again early.

His return to form late in the season singlehandedly changed my outlook for the team. When he’s at his peak, he’s about as good a playmaker on D as the Pats have had with Belichick. He can do it all, and he did for the last 6 weeks or so. Another Hall of Very Good guy.
I was definitely wrong about him. I had him pegged early as being in Mayo'sFinalYear. Healthy enough to be active for the entire season after a lost season, but not all that good.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I said it in the game thread. I said it again afterward. I'll happily say it again here. You are right on the money.

LA was the #2 scoring offense in football (32.9 points a game).

The Pats' offense didn't really help the defense at ALL last night.

Until their last 45 yards' worth of essentially garbage time yardage, the Rams managed 215 total yards (18 of which came on a pass completion that actually wasn't even a completion, but because NE had burned time outs already, couldn't challenge) and 11 first downs. Just 3 points total.

They didn't bend-but-not-break. They didn't bend. They never allowed the Rams into the Red Zone. Not even one single time all night. They could have registered three turnovers - they got the one pick, Hightower dropped an easy one, and then the fumble, if it had just taken one little bounce in any other direction than directly out of bounds, would have been recovered by the Pats.

They shut down the vaunted running game of the Rams. They choked off the passing game. They limited the big plays. They buried them on third down. They rushed the passer. They held the Rams to 0 or negative yards on an astounding 45% of their plays.

This was an absolute defensive clinic. The best I've ever seen, considering the circumstances, and the era in which this game was played.
100%

Its worth noting that a big part of the defensive game plan involved playing a lot of zone coverage. Zone gets a bad rap from fans. Whenever it gets beat, its nothing but people screaming about zone being soft and how you have to play man in today's NFL and yadda yadda yadda. But confusing the QB and making him indecisive goes a long way and you can't really confuse the QB that much if you're just playing man every down.
 

tims4wins

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DH played like he was shot out of a cannon last night. He was incredible. Not the same guy as earlier in the year.

All year long we've been saying, maybe JE and Gronk were kind of pacing themselves... we forgot about Boomtower
 

DaubachmanTurnerOD

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Edelman gets the game ball - for yelling “CLEAR OUT!!” at the top of his lungs on almost all of those Hekker punts.

Think that was drilled in a bit the last 2 weeks?
 

BigSoxFan

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Edelman gets the game ball - for yelling “CLEAR OUT!!” at the top of his lungs on almost all of those Hekker punts.

Think that was drilled in a bit the last 2 weeks?
There was one particular punt in the 2nd half that bounced forward that I was certain was going to hit one of our PR coverage guys. Edelman certainly helped in that regard because the dude had no idea.
 

Mystic Merlin

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There was one particular punt in the 2nd half that bounced forward that I was certain was going to hit one of our PR coverage guys. Edelman certainly helped in that regard because the dude had no idea.
I scared the shit out of some in the group I was watching the game with when I yelled ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY’

Not all of them understood the implications of the kick hitting a player on the receiving team, so it seemed innocuous to them.

Was equally fun to try to explain the implications of accepting or declining an offensive penalty for game clock during McVay’s ‘will I or will I not’ fiasco.

Hooray football rules.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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I mentioned this in the "favorite children" thread, but for those of you who don't take notes at everything I post...

I loved that this really was Belichick's game. So much chatter is wasted on whether Belichick or Brady is more responsible for the dynasty, and it's always easier to point to one game after another where Brady pulls off something superhuman to lead the team to victory while Belichick's game plans aren't quite so obvious. But in LIII, Brady's overall production was unremarkable (though those two perfectly-placed balls to Gronk are a joy to behold) and he was never particularly in the conversation for MVP. OTOH, Belichick's fingerprints were easy to see:

1.) A team that was exceptionally well-constructed (with enough player versalility to enable them to shift from scheme to scheme on both sides of the ball,
2.) A team that was exceptionally well-prepared. Think about it -- they made no stupid or unforced errors in that game. None. That just doesn't happen.
3.) In game management and play calling that worked great. On defense that was obvious, but on offense too, the Pats weren't lured into doing something remarkable and risky which in retrospect seems wise.
4.) Great special teams. Oh that punting.

Here's one for the Hoodie, and his staff.
 
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joe dokes

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Edelman gets the game ball - for yelling “CLEAR OUT!!” at the top of his lungs on almost all of those Hekker punts.

Think that was drilled in a bit the last 2 weeks?
He's yelling "Peter."

[Link wont copy for me; Google punt returner Peter, there's an NFL films piece]
 

johnmd20

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I scared the shit out of some in the group I was watching the game with when I yelled ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY’

Not all of them understood the implications of the kick hitting a player on the receiving team, so it seemed innocuous to them.

Was equally fun to try to explain the implications of accepting or declining an offensive penalty for game clock during McVay’s ‘will I or will I not’ fiasco.

Hooray football rules.
The bouncing punt with the players' backs to the ball is one of the more terrifying things to watch in sports ball.
 

Jnai

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Check out @coachescollab’s Tweet:
Has this play been linked yet? Hot damn.
 

loshjott

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With 15 seconds left on the play clock, the communications between coach and player is cut off.

So, per the announcers, McVay has Goff wait until there's 15 seconds left to form up so that BB doesn't have the opportunity to help diagnose offensive formations.

And, so help me God, you just know that if BB was employing that tactic, it would not be characterized as "clever", but would be the subject of an off-season panel on whether such tactics are really against the spirit of the rule and should be outlawed or some such.
I read somewhere today that BB did exactly that. They had 2 D plays called each play and didn't pick one on the field until <15 sec on the play clock just so McVay couldn't weigh in. I'll have to find that....

EDIT: Albert Breer, MMQB:

The idea on defense, through what Flores and Belichick planned, was to force Jared Goff to think on the fly. It’s well-documented that McVay uses the coach-to-quarterback communication to adjust calls based on what the defense is showing, up to the point where that communication cuts off, with 15 seconds left on the play clock.
The Patriots wanted to negate that creative advantage, so they essentially sent in two calls on every play. One was what they’d show before the snap. The other was what they’d switch into post-snap. And if you want to see how it worked, go back and watch how Goff held the ball, and doubted what he was looking at, over and over and over.
 
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DrewDawg

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Those carries that we force-fed Burkhead over final month of season seemed to payoff. Definitely had fresh legs.
 

mwonow

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Check out @coachescollab’s Tweet:
Has this play been linked yet? Hot damn.
I loved the play where Van Noy started to rush and then just stopped in front of the RB who was supposed to be the target on the screen. Van Noy stared at the back - the RB stared at Van Noy - and Goff's pass hit the RB in the back.
 

Seels

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It may be put best this way. Is there a single Patriot that played last night that didn’t deserve a game ball. Not many, certainly on defense. Everyone contributed.
Hogan.

Hogan stinks as a 2. The pick was entirely on him and he missed two other catchable passes.
 

DrewDawg

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Yeah, that wasn't Hogan's fault at all. He didn't do much yesterday, but don't think he necessarily did bad.

Under-reported story--Hogan has a bit of the Reche Caldwell eyes going on.
 

DrewDawg

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In the huddle, before the Gronk catch, Edelman looked up at Gronk and said "We need another one from you bro. We need a huge play."
 

Captaincoop

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Hogan.

Hogan stinks as a 2. The pick was entirely on him and he missed two other catchable passes.
Based just on my memory, you're wrong on all counts.

The pick was on Brady, and I don't recall a real drop by Hogan. He failed to get open most of the night, but I don't recall a really catchable ball that he missed. There was one thrown on a hop to him when he was open and a couple forced to him in coverage?
 

tims4wins

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Help me understand something: Doug Pederson, who doesn't strike me as anything close to the sharpest tool in the shed, completely destroys the Pats D... and Sean McVay's offense puts up 3 points? Like... how does that work????
 

DrewDawg

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Help me understand something: Doug Pederson, who doesn't strike me as anything close to the sharpest tool in the shed, completely destroys the Pats D... and Sean McVay's offense puts up 3 points? Like... how does that work????
1 game sample?
 

Harry Hooper

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Help me understand something: Doug Pederson, who doesn't strike me as anything close to the sharpest tool in the shed, completely destroys the Pats D... and Sean McVay's offense puts up 3 points? Like... how does that work????
The D was better this time around, just from Hightower's return alone.* Oh, and the QB matters.


* I am also convinced Van Noy was playing very dinged up vs. the Eagles.
 
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lars10

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Yeah, that wasn't Hogan's fault at all. He didn't do much yesterday, but don't think he necessarily did bad.

Under-reported story--Hogan has a bit of the Reche Caldwell eyes going on.
Yeah.. Brady through it behind him when he needed to lead him.. If Brady threw that out in front of him it's an easy catch as Hogan had his man beat there. It seemed to me like Hogan and Brady weren't on the same page all night, but seemed it was far more on Brady. He was throwing short all night and couldn't seem to make a pass out to the sideline for most of the night. Perhaps he wanted to make sure he didn't throw anything that could be returned for a TD/ was worried about Rams DBs undercutting short routes? His throws long seemed to be ok.
 

BaseballJones

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The D was better this time around, just from Hightower's return alone. Oh, and the QB matters.
Three massive improvements from last year's D:

1. Hightower. The man is a beast. I was down on him at the start of the year - seemed impossibly slow. But man when he plays....he PLAYS.

2. The secondary. So much improved from last year it isn't even funny. Across the board. Gilmore was good last year. Otherworldly this year. Last year's CB2 got roasted. This year, Jason McCourty and Jackson did really well.

3. The pass rush. Well, they HAD one this year. Last year they couldn't get to the QB. But Flores had them dialed in and they were after Rivers and Mahomes and Goff like crazy. Made a huge difference.
 

lars10

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Three massive improvements from last year's D:

1. Hightower. The man is a beast. I was down on him at the start of the year - seemed impossibly slow. But man when he plays....he PLAYS.

2. The secondary. So much improved from last year it isn't even funny. Across the board. Gilmore was good last year. Otherworldly this year. Last year's CB2 got roasted. This year, Jason McCourty and Jackson did really well.

3. The pass rush. Well, they HAD one this year. Last year they couldn't get to the QB. But Flores had them dialed in and they were after Rivers and Mahomes and Goff like crazy. Made a huge difference.
Yeah. Gilmore was that island type of DB this year..allows BB to be a lot more creative with the rest of the D. And the pass rush in the playoffs made a huge difference. Especially in the SB it seemed like Goff was constantly under pressure and the O Line couldn't handle the pressure. Mike Francesa was saying that 'Rams receivers were wide open all night' (I didn't see that).. but I don't think Goff had much time to set his feet for the most part. Of course when he did he also threw ducks which helped.
 

BaseballJones

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Yeah. Gilmore was that island type of DB this year..allows BB to be a lot more creative with the rest of the D. And the pass rush in the playoffs made a huge difference. Especially in the SB it seemed like Goff was constantly under pressure and the O Line couldn't handle the pressure. Mike Francesa was saying that 'Rams receivers were wide open all night' (I didn't see that).. but I don't think Goff had much time to set his feet for the most part. Of course when he did he also threw ducks which helped.
Francesa also said that the reason it seems like the Patriots get all the calls is because before the game the refs go over and yuck it up with Brady and Gronk.
 

ifmanis5

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Barnwell gives his game ball to the defense and says it's the best defensive effort in SB history:
http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/25921740/super-bowl-liii-was-greatest-defensive-performance-history-here-how-patriots-did-rams
What we saw from the Patriots on Sunday night was the best defensive performance we have ever seen in a Super Bowl.

I don't say that as hyperbole. To start, the only other time a team has allowed just three points in the Super Bowl was when the Cowboys defeated the Dolphins 24-3 in 1971. Those Dolphins scored 22.5 points per game during the regular season, while Sean McVay's Rams were up at 32.9 points per contest. The Pats allowed the Rams just 9.1 percent of their scoring average, the best mark in Super Bowl history:
 

lars10

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Francesa also said that the reason it seems like the Patriots get all the calls is because before the game the refs go over and yuck it up with Brady and Gronk.
I'd just like him to say which calls happened in the SB that threw the game their way. He's also obsessed with Montana and his perfect record in the SB. I'd love to see what Brady would do with a receivers like Rice, Taylor and Clark... while also having Roger Craig and that defense. He also fails to mention any of the losses Montana has in his Championship games.

In fairness, he just said that he didn't see any calls go their way last night.
 

Kull

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The Pats' offense didn't really help the defense at ALL last night.
There's no doubt that the D was fantastic, but the offense did help out, even when they didn't score. Ignoring the two kneeldown possessions at the end of each half, the O had the ball 11 times and there were only two 3-and-outs (each of which resulted in a punt that left LA inside it's own 25). There was just enough time of possession on all the other drives for the defense to catch a breath.

As for game balls, how about an honorable mention for Tony Romo? That guy is light years better than every other network analyst, and his recognition of what the Pats were doing (and going to do) on that TD drive was amazing.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Three massive improvements from last year's D:

1. Hightower. The man is a beast. I was down on him at the start of the year - seemed impossibly slow. But man when he plays....he PLAYS.

2. The secondary. So much improved from last year it isn't even funny. Across the board. Gilmore was good last year. Otherworldly this year. Last year's CB2 got roasted. This year, Jason McCourty and Jackson did really well.

3. The pass rush. Well, they HAD one this year. Last year they couldn't get to the QB. But Flores had them dialed in and they were after Rivers and Mahomes and Goff like crazy. Made a huge difference.
Also, QB play. Foles was calm and able to deliver under pressure. Goff.....was not and did not. That's a gigantic part of the difference.
 

leetinsley38

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My favorite was McVay just staring bug eyed at the field as the realization came over him that they were going to lose and how thoroughly he was out coached and impotent his offense was. Wonder if McVay's mind went back to all those texts he got after every game all year from BB telling him how explosive and amazing and impossible to stop the Rams offense was.
I think BB genuinely likes him, but wonder if there was a bit of gamesmanship at play. Basically feed the same offensive arrogance that Mike Martz had 17 years earlier and used it against him.