How backup QB Brian Hoyer was so important to Patriots in Super Bowl LIII win over Rams

Ryan Hannable
February 11, 2019 - 10:14 am

Often times backup quarterbacks get overlooked, especially when the starter plays the entire season at a high level, but not with the 2018 Patriots.

Veteran Brian Hoyer played as big of a role in the success of the team this year as any backup quarterback possibly could.

Devin and Jason McCourty highlighted his work when sitting down with Albert Breer of MMQB to break down Super Bowl LIII and also discuss other parts of the season.

“Hoyer’s been crucial,” Jason said. “Hoyer’s not a scout-team quarterback from the standpoint where, ‘OK, here’s the card, here’s what’s circled, and I’m gonna throw the ball here.’ Hoyer lines up, and says, ‘Here’s the card, but this is just a route concept.’”

Hoyer's work was huge when it came to the defense holding Sean McVay and the Rams offense to a Super Bowl-low three points.

The veteran backup had some inside knowledge of the Rams offense having played in a Kyle Shanahan offense, which McVay took a lot of elements from having been the tight ends coach with Mike and Kyle Shanahan in Washington from 2010-13.

Hoyer did a lot of prep leading into Super Bowl week, including watching Peyton Manning’s Detail series on ESPN-Plus on Jared Goff, as well as Amazon’s All or Nothing series on the Rams in 2016. He recognized the language and used it to his advantage to help the Patriots defense.

“Having played in that offense, they don’t have an answer for all-out pressure,” he said to Breer. “Their answer is for the quarterback to make a play.”

One of the biggest plays of the game came on an all-out pressure when Stephon Gilmore picked off Goff late in the fourth quarter inside the 5-yard line to seal the victory. The pressure forced Goff to make a play, which he couldn't do.

“We didn’t blitz them a lot, just because of their offense, so many missile motions, so many crossing routes, misdirections,” Jason said. “We talked about it—‘there’s going to be a time when we get in a second-and-long situation, and we’re going to want to switch it up and throw a blitz at them just so they respect that look, and they know, ‘Hey, they could be coming.’ Flo [Flores] waited until that moment and called an all-out blitz.”

Devin added: “I think we almost hit them with [the blitz] earlier in the game, and it was on the tip of Flo’s [Flores] tongue, and he kind of decided not to. The call came in so late. And when I got to the sideline, he said, ‘That was my fault, I gave you that call late.’ And I’m just thinking in my head he probably wanted to blitz and was trying to decide in his mind, ‘Is this the time or not?’”

While a lot of the credit goes to Brian Flores and the Patriots defense for making and calling the play, it likely would not have come about without Hoyer and all the work he put in ahead of time.

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