Tomase: Ugly win, beautiful title, as Patriots romp to sixth championship under Belichick

John Tomase
February 04, 2019 - 12:11 am
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The beauty of winning six Super Bowls is that no one cares about the how of it all.

Was Super Bowl LIII the worst in history? Oh, most definitely. But so what? The Patriots prevailed and they deserved it. They controlled the Rams from start to finish, destroying the best offense in the NFC with one of the most dominant defensive efforts you'll ever see in a game that matters.

I mean, 13-3 in today's day and age, you'd assume an asteroid hit the stadium midway through the first quarter. But the Patriots legitimately stymied Los Angeles from the start and the only issue anyone from New England could possibly have is the choice of MVP. Nothing against Julian Edelman, but giving the award to a receiver -- even one with 140 yards -- felt like handing the best actor award to Jim Varney for one of those Ernest movies. That hardware belonged to Kyle Van Noy or Patrick Chung or someone on the defensive side. Offense was incidental. Defense made the Patriots champs again.

But the Patriots, to their credit, called it. Before the game, an anonymous New England defender told the NFL Network's Mike Giardi that Rams quarterback Jared Goff would "(bleep) himself" in the face of the team's unique pressure.

That turned out to be true. The Pats did a masterful job of taking away both Los Angeles's running game and its short-to-intermediate passing game. That left Goff with pretty much nothing. Every completion of note required the moving of the heavens and the earth. Even a 9-yard checkdown in the face of brutal pressure demoralized the Rams into recognizing that any touchdown drive would need at least 11 plays and 90 yards. Not once did the NFC champs make the Patriots fear anything downfield. New England dictated the terms of the game from the opening kick to the final whistle, exerting its will like a six-time champion facing a new-born foal (not Foles).

All of that said, many of us believed the slow start merely meant a repeat of the AFC title game, when the Patriots flummoxed Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes for three quarters before the MVP finally figured things out en route to 24 points down the stretch.

This time, though, the Patriots held firm. Not only did the Rams manage just a single pathetic field goal, they didn't really otherwise come close. The Patriots defense was so good, Kyle Van Noy probably should've hoisted the MVP trophy. He pressured Goff repeatedly and the Pats cleaned up virtually every run and completion underneath, limiting the high-flying Rams to 260 yards and not even 3.5 per rush.

Goff was sacked four times for 31 yards and also threw an interception while compiling a 57.9 quarterback rating. His inefficiency more than made up for Brady's subpar game (21-35, 262 yards, 1 INT, 71.4 rating), because New England's defense played like it had designs on not giving up a touchdown until sometime next September.

As a result, the Patriots answered the biggest questions. Yes, they are the greatest dynasty ever. No, Brady isn't slowing down. Yes, this is the most satisfying victory since the inaugural win over the Rams nearly two decades ago.

The years keep advancing and the Patriots keep winning. While the rest of the NFL waits for the Pats to collapse just shy of a water station, Brady and head coach Bill Belichick refuse to yield.

Instead, they keep finding a way to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in pretty much any imaginable circumstance. Whether they run their opponents off the field or simply outlast them, this much is certain: When it comes to the Super Bowl, the Patriots find a way to be the last team standing. Anyone surprised they turned the turn the trick again simply wasn't paying attention.

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