Appreciating Ryan Allen, unsung hero of Super Bowl LIII's punt-a-thon

John Tomase
February 05, 2019 - 11:42 am

Now that a couple of days have passed and another parade is here, it's worth taking a moment to salute an unsung hero of Super Bowl LIII: Patriots punter Ryan Allen.

No punter in Super Bowl history has made a better case for MVP than Allen, who laser-guided three kicks inside the 10-yard line to doom Rams drives before they even began in New England's 13-3 victory.

Squaring off against perennial Pro Bowler Johnny Hekker -- perhaps Bill Belichick's favorite all-time player not named Tom Brady or Lawrence Taylor -- Allen more than held his own. Though Hekker left with a Super Bowl-record 65-yard punt -- breaking Allen's mark of 64 set against the Seahawks in 2015 -- Allen won the overall matchup.

He set the tone by dropping his first punt out of bounds at the L.A. 6-yard line after a Patriots drive stalled at the 40.

He booted his second punt 53 yards, but a holding penalty on the Patriots set up the Rams at their own 45, where they went three and out.

His next kick was his best of the game, a 49-yarder that started the Rams at their own 2 before Hekker switched fields with the 65-yard bomb out of his own end zone.

Allen's final punt, early in the fourth quarter, was downed by Matthew Slater at the 7. The Rams worked their way out towards midfield before a penalty, sack, and run for loss necessitated yet another punt and one of the underrated plays of the game, Hekker shanking one 39 yards to set up the Patriots at their 31 when they could've been pinned inside the 20.

They drove to the winning score thereafter to raise their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy. Here's hoping they gave Allen a little extra time with it in the locker room, because he earned it.