The New England Patriots held the Los Angeles Rams to just three points in Super Bowl LIII thanks in part to excellent preparation and defensive game-planning.
But it's easier to be well-prepared when your opponent doesn't show you anything new.
Speaking Thursday on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take" podcast, Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy shared a pretty damning assessment of the Rams' offensive game plan and the lack of new twists it threw at New England.
Yeah. I couldn’t believe that, either. Like, they really didn’t do not one wrinkle. I was like, what the hell? They've got so many good players, they’ve got so many things they’ve done all year, and the one play they gave us which was a wrinkle was the [Brandin Cooks] screen that hit for a little bit. And that was it.
Cooks' 19-yard gain was the third-longest play for an L.A. offense that mustered just 260 total yards.
Pro Bowl running back Todd Gurley was a virtual non-factor -- 35 rushing yards on 10 carries -- as a unit that averaged an NFC-best 32.9 points per game during the regular season slowed to a crawl.
Rams head coach Sean McVay, who called the plays in the absence of a traditional offensive coordinator, admitted he got out-coached in the loss, and Van Noy's comments suggest he's right.
"We weren’t necessarily a zone team -- we didn’t play zone very much all year -- and in the Super Bowl, we were predominantly a zone team," Van Noy added.
"And that kind of probably threw him off. Like, I saw a clip of Sean McVay reading the clip, and he said, like ‘Oh [shoot]’ in his head, ‘they’re running the Bears’ thing,’ or whatever the Bears did. Shout-out to the Bears, baby.”
McVay led the Rams to the Super Bowl at age 33 in just his second season as head coach, which is no small feat. But he learned rather quickly there's another level of preparation required to beat Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
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