I remember vividly how Super Bowl LI felt, and I understand how you’re feeling. My heart goes out to y’all, my friends at Turf Show Times.
This one was a similar gut punch, despite the fact that at least the Rams won’t go down in history as a 28-3 meme and have to hear about it for perpetuity. But for the Rams defense to play as well as they did and still come out on the losing end is difficult to even understand. I think Sean McVay said it best after the game.
“I’m still kind of numb right now,” he said, “but definitely, I got out-coached.”
I mean this sincerely: There’s no shame in losing a Super Bowl to the Patriots. Bill Belichick is a mastermind. I’m sure you’re all feeling the same way as McVay is, though, so I’m not going to belabor this one. I’ll just leave you with some thoughts from McVay and Rams and Patriots players from after the game.
Tom Brady was complimentary toward the Rams defense.
“It was tough — they made every play tough tonight,” Brady said. “I give them a lot of credit. Coach (Wade) Phillips, all those players. They played really well on defense.”
Brandin Cooks said the Rams offense put itself at a disadvantage.
“First off, doing things that was biting ourselves in the butt,” Cooks said. “You know, getting behind the chains, anytime you’re behind the chains you know it’s going to be pretty tough to convert a third down, so we’ve got to be better. I’ve got to be better.”
Aaron Donald is such a star. He is immensely talented. He is also being pretty hard on himself after this loss.
“A couple of times on that last drive, that big run, it hit my gap. I got hit out of my gap, so I I feel like I let my team down,” Donald said. “I feel like I was not there when we needed a big play. I have to get better. I have to work. I have to find a way to improve my game and keep finding ways to get better.”
But this one hurts, needless to say.
“Any time you lose, you’re going to be down,” Donald said. Like I said, this is the Super Bowl. This was for it all. The last two teams, we fell short. It sucks, but like I said, we just have to keep working. Have a little pity party now, but get training, get that work in and try to get back to this stage again so we can win.”
It’ll be overshadowed by the loss, but it truly was a stellar defensive effort. The Pats averaged 27.2 points per game through the regular season and 30.3 points per game in the playoff, and Los Angeles held them to 13. But Cory Littleton said there was a miscommunication on the Patriots’ only touchdown drive of the game.
“A person lined up on the left, I was lined up on the right,” Littleton said. “I went to the left, started to go back to the right. We lined up wrong.”
Ndamukong Suh said it all came down to both teams’ defensive efforts.
“It’s a cliché saying, but I think it’s ultimately true: Defense wins championships,” Suh said. “Their defense, in my opinion, outplayed us, held our offense to whatever, and we didn’t hold their offense to field goals like we talked about, stopping the run game.”
Dante Fowler Jr. is still optimistic about this team’s future, especially after the Rams defense was generally solid against the Patriots’ short passing game.
“I appreciate that, because ... Tom (Brady) does a really good job of short passing games and things like that. The thing is, we were trying to stop them, and he did a good job,” Fowler said. “We’ll be ready next year.”
Andrew Whitworth summed it up succinctly.
“I really wouldn’t say (we were) caught off guard,” he said. “I think we just didn’t execute. We said this all week long, the team that came in and executed the best would win. I don’t think either team executed at really a great level, but you know what, at the end of the day, they executed better than us.”
Donald thinks the team has a shot to get back to the Super Bowl next year.
“Yes, for sure — we have the coaches, too,” Donald said. “All we can do is get better, that’s all I can say ... Just have to learn from it, keep working and like I said, we will be back.
“We will be back for sure.”
As an objective outside observer, familiar with the talent on this team and coming away from this week in awe of McVay’s potential as a head coach, I think Donald is right. Keep your heads up, Rams fans.