Patriots-Rams halftime thoughts: 3 takeaways from first half of Super Bowl LIII

Ryan Hannable
February 03, 2019 - 8:01 pm

ATLANTA — The Patriots and Rams head to the locker room with New England leading, 3-0.

It was a very sloppy half for both offenses, as the defenses have come to play. The Patriots limited the Rams to just 57 yards of total offense and they were 0-for-6 on third down.

The only scoring was a Stephen Gostkowski field goal with 10:29 left in the second quarter. He missed from 42 yards out earlier in the game.

Here are three quick takeaways.

1. First quarter struggles continue

The Patriots still do not have a Super Bowl first quarter touchdown in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. In fact, they just have three total points in the nine games, as they went scoreless again Sunday. This one was more sloppy than most. The offense could not get anything going, and Brady did not look comfortable at all. On the opening drive, he threw an interception and then later in the half fumbled near midfield, but David Andrews recovered. Fortunately, the defense did its job and the Rams only had the ball on offense for just over three minutes. After dominating the first quarter in the two playoff games, it was a major step back against the Rams.

2. Tom Brady starts slow

Brady didn't have the greatest starts to the game, especially the interception on the first drive, but picked it up a bit as the half went along. The Rams and Wade Phillips appeared to confuse Brady into what defense it was in, and that was the reason for the interception. Brady finished the half 15-for-25 with 160 yards and the interception for a QB rating of 62.1. Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski are carrying the offense. They have 93 and 40 yards receiving respectively.

3. Patriots defense came to play

The unit set the tone early with some big hits on the opening possession, including on Jared Goff. When it comes to covering Brandin Cooks, Stephon Gilmore has shadowed him thus far and limited him to two catches for 17 yards yards. The Rams’ running game was nonexistent, as it has just 25 yards rushing. Danny Shelton has stood out against the run, while Patrick Chung has been physical as well as adding a third-down pass breakout. In most of the Patriots’ losses it seemed the Patriots were out-physicaled and that hasn’t been an issue so far.