Patriots

Sean McVay gives great insight into how Patriots' defense won Super Bowl LIII

Sean McVay gives great insight into how Patriots' defense won Super Bowl LIII

The mere thought of the New England Patriots holding the Los Angeles Rams to just three points in Super Bowl LIII seemed crazy before kickoff, but that's exactly what unfolded at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. 

Los Angeles had the NFL's second-highest scoring offense in the regular season, led by star running back Todd Gurley, a strong offensive line and an offensive guru at head coach in Sean McVay. But the Patriots did an excellent job giving the Rams some different looks and schemes throughout the game, often times confusing L.A. quarterback Jared Goff and forcing him into mistakes. No mistake was more costly than his interception late in the fourth quarter that essentially sealed New England's 13-3 win.

What specifically did the Patriots do so well to slow down the Rams' high-powered offense? McVay gave a good explanation Thursday at his NFL Scouting Combine press conference in Indianapolis. 

“What they did such a nice job of is they played a loaded front structure, which is something that we expected,” McVay told reporters. “They went with really, the early downs, more of a top-down principle where they were playing some quarters structures, kind of similar to what (the Chicago Bears) had a little bit of success with (in their Week 14 home victory against the Rams).

“But Chicago mixed that up and did some other things. (The Patriots) kind of exclusively stayed in that in those early down and distances, and unfortunately we didn’t really ever make them pay. That’s where it’s a great opportunity for you, No. 1 as a coach, to look inwardly and say, ‘How can we use these as learning opportunities to make sure that if these things do come up in the future, we’re putting our players in a position where they’re better ready to execute on the fly and adjust.’

"They were mostly playing more man principles against teams like the Chargers and Kansas City in the playoffs, and they played a little bit different front structure. Basically, against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, it wasn’t until like, the 22nd or 23rd snap that you even saw a snap of zone. They were mostly doubling (Chiefs wide receiver) Tyreek Hill north and south where they had somebody over the top always, and then they’d put in their good matchups with who they felt like based on, whether it was (Travis) Kelce or Sammy Watkins, (Stephon) Gilmore traveled with (Watkins). They did an excellent job, and that's what makes them great coaches. You got to tip your hat to those guys."

The Patriots defense held the Rams to just 260 yards of offense, forced one turnover and sacked Goff four times. New England also dominated in key spots as Los Angeles converted on just three of 13 third downs. The Rams coaching staff wasn't able to adjust in time and it cost Los Angeles a chance to beat Tom Brady and win the Lombardi Trophy.

McVay is a really smart coach, though, so it's hard to imagine this disappointing performance not making him better in the long run.

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Rob Gronkowski to make 'big announcement' on Tuesday

Rob Gronkowski to make 'big announcement' on Tuesday

Rob Gronkowski is making waves on social media once again.

On his Instagram story, the retired New England Patriots tight end told his followers that he had a "big announcement" planned for Tuesday afternoon. Gronkowski said that the announcement would take place on his Instagram page at 9 a.m. and would be "fun" and "wild" and "a good time".

You can see the video for yourself courtesy of NFL writer Dov Kleiman.

Gronkowski's video is cryptic in nature, so it will obviously lead to speculation regarding a potential return to the Patriots. That said, it's worth noting that Gronk has been adamant that he doesn't want to come out of retirement to play tight end for the team. So, it seems highly unlikely that he has had a last-minute change of heart.

Still, it's something to keep an eye on, especially since Gronk's deadline to come out of retirement and play again this season is Saturday, Nov. 30.

But again, more likely than not, this is just a savvy business decision by Gronkowski to essentially announce his intent to make an announcement to attract the attention of a larger audience.

The Patriots will continue to operate with Matt LaCosse, Ben Watson, and Ryan Izzo as their three-man unit at tight end. They'll have to hope that one of them can step up and give them some production at the tight end position, which has been a problem for the offense in 2019.

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Patriots vs. Eagles live stream: Watch NFL Week 11 game online

Patriots vs. Eagles live stream: Watch NFL Week 11 game online

The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will meet at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday for the most-anticipated NFL game on the Week 11 slate.

Both teams are desperate for a win.

The Patriots have a slim 1-game lead over the Baltimore Ravens in the race for the AFC's No. 1 seed, while the Eagles are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East race.

This will be the first matchup between these teams since the Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII back in February of 2018. Both rosters have changed quite a bit since that night in Minnesota, but several of the most pivotal players on both sides are still around, including Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Brady's offense could receive a boost Sunday with the potential pro debut of rookie wide receiver N'Keal Harry. Harry was New England's first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and his addition into the offense should give the Pats another downfield receiving threat who can make tough catches in traffic. The Patriots suffered their first loss of the season to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9, and they've had two weeks to prepare for the Eagles after enjoying a Week 10 bye.

Here’s how and when to watch Patriots vs. Eagles online. Be sure to also watch “Pregame Live” at 1 p.m. ET and “Postgame Live” at 7:30 p.m. ET, all on NBC Sports Boston. Michael Holley, Albert Breer, Tom E. Curran, Phil Perry, Ted Johnson, D.J. Bean and former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel will break down the game from every angle.

When: Sunday, Nov. 17 at 4:25 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: FuboTV

NFL Week 11 picks against the spread>>>

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