This was what I worried about it being.
Nothing felt right all week. This Super Bowl felt like it was going to disappoint. The fact that we didn’t talk about the game all week due to do still standing controversy over the NFC Championship Game and the NBA having a meltdown over the course of three days should have been a warning sign.
In a sense, I was totally wrong. But in another sense, I was totally right.
I wrong in the fact that I thought the Rams would show up and give New England problems. I was right in the fact that whatever the Rams did, it wouldn’t bother the Patriots enough for them to lose the game.
The Patriots were certainly bothered, but it was by themselves, not the Rams.
Since this game was a dud, we’re going to recap every aspect to it. The game, the commercials, and unfortunately the halftime show, which wasn’t anything we should have had high hopes for in the first place, but maybe making fun of it can help us feel better about it.
The first quarter set up the whole game pretty well. Early on, it was evident that it would come down to whichever defense was going to have a dumb blown coverage or something, because it wasn’t good defense that led to the pitiful start, it was bad offense. Both quarterbacks looked horrific early. Tom Brady threw an interception to Cory Littleton on the first possession of the game; a horrible decision followed up by an even worse pass. The Rams did absolutely nothing with it, thanks to fantastic coverage by the Patriots secondary (A trend that continued throughout the whole game).
That two drive sequence just kept repeating itself. Brady and Goff were missing throws, the Rams refused to give Todd Gurley the ball and couldn’t throw due to New England’s secondary having one of its best games of the season. The Patriots then finally got a good drive thanks to Sony Michel running like he has since the halfway point of the regular season and Julian Edelman kicking off his MVP campaign, but didn’t get anything out of it after Stephen Gostkowski shockingly missed a field goal (At this point, we were wondering “Man, are the Patriots really going to get out-executed like this?”).
That missed field goal didn’t cost the Patriots anything really. The Rams offense was going nowhere no matter what you gave them. The lack of commitment to the running game with Gurley (Anderson was not going to work. That was clear early on. He looked like Denver C.J. Anderson last night) and inability get off or make any throw killed them.
New England took advantage of that, leading to a resounding 13 points on the night. But on a night like last night was, that’s all it took. When the lead was 3-0, it felt like 20-0. Nothing the Rams showed us made Sunday night made us think they were even coming back from that.
But all it took was some common sense from the Rams for them to make it game. In the mid-3rd quarter, they started doing things like giving the ball to Todd Gurley, or throwing to Brandin Cooks, who had a backup on him in coverage after Patrick Chung went out with an arm injury. A big reason the Rams were incompetent offensively was because of the excellent execution by New England, but they also didn’t exactly do what they were good at, and that was let their weapons go to work. Gurley got just 10 touches, and while Cooks did end up having a big game, they went to him at the wrong times. It felt like Los Angeles was waiting to go down before using their goods.
One of the few times they used their goods got them their only points of the night: A field goal in the late 3rd quarter to tie the game.
After another Rams punt, it was starting to feel like they were running out of chances. New England wasn’t playing crappy enough to lose the game, and there was no way Brady was going to lose this type of game. The Rams were going to have to stop him. Brady was not going to stop himself.
He didn’t do that. Finally, early enough to give the Rams a chance but late enough for them to punt it and give the Patriots time to put the game away, the Patriots had a Patriots-like drive. Rob Gronkowski, who contributed to the Patriots yard total (I guess that’s what he contributed to? There wasn’t a whole lot to contribute to in a game like this), made two huge catches on seam routes along the hashes, plays that no team, and definitely not the Rams, could cover. Gronk got ever so slight of a jump on the defender each time, and for someone with his size, that goes a long ways. It’s just not coverable.
That led to a New England touchdown, punched in by none other than Sony Michel, and essentially ending the game. For the Rams, one possession deficits felt like two. Add in the crunchiest crunch-time pressure that able to be applied, and the 10-3 deficit felt like three possessions for them.
The Rams played urgently and the best they had all night when trying to tie New England at 10. Like New England had just done, it looked like the Rams were about to have a classic Rams drive. LA was throwing deep down the field, and letting their weapons do what they’re good at. Brandin Cooks, Josh Reynolds, and Robert Woods all had huge plays, and Goff looked like the Goff we had seen all season. That was until he left a ball short for Cooks, which Stephon Gilmore went up and snagged, sealing the game. It was a mix of a bad throw and good play by Gilmore; Goff could have led Cooks a bit better toward the end zone, but Gilmore took a huge risk by under cutting it. Had that ball been thrown better, Gilmore would have been shredded for abandoning Cooks and trying to play ball-hawker instead of sticking with him and defending the pass that way.
That sealed it, ending what was the worst Super Bowl of the decade and probably a top three worst Super Bowl since I’ve been alive. Steelers-Seahawks, Panthers-Broncos, Seahawks-Broncos and this one are all in that conversation. The game was a completely backwards reflection of this season. After teams racked up points and offenses were taken to a new level this season, we got the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever. This had to be karma for two weeks ago.
Since the game wasn’t that good, let’s give a shoutout to some of the best commercials that aired last night.
We’ll start with the NFL, who nailed it for the 2nd year in a row with this gem. Keep in mind, last year they ran the Eli Manning-Odell Beckham Jr. Dirty Dancing one.
There were so many amazing moments in this commercial. First, as soon as I saw this, I knew we were in for something good.
I mean, look at the way Marshawn is staring at the cake!
Some other awesome moments from this commercial:
- Peyton Manning throwing the ball and saying “That hurt”
- Tom Brady taking all five of his rings off and putting them in the dude’s hand. They should have updated this and ran it after the game was over to show all six.
- Lynn Swann’s appearance
- Joe Montana’s rocket to Jerry Rice
In terms of killing it for the 2nd year in a row, Amazon did it again. Last year’s Alexa commercial was great, but this year was even better. The key: Dogs.
They knew the dog part was going to stick, so seeing just that re-aired multiple times throughout the game was nice.
Stella Artois brought the Dos Equis guy back. This dude was a childhood hero of mine, so props to them.
On a more serious yet good note, Microsoft tugged the heartstrings.
I thought this was going to be really inspirational until this commercial showed the full shot of the tennis court with Serena on it with the Bumble ads and I went “OH THEY DID NOT GO THERE”.
Another one on the more serious note.
I thought this one was hilarious and probably represents someone we all know.
The M&Ms have never had a bad one.
Shoutout to Beetloaf and puberty.
Google showing the good side to technology.
I don’t know why Clint Eastwood was needed for this but Audi did a good job capturing us procrastinating.
Charlie Sheen has been a cool sport about himself in Super Bowl commercials over the years.
Imagine all the 13-14 year olds who tried not to laugh with their parents right next to them watching this.
The (underwhelming) halftime show:
I’m not really sure what I expected. Maybe for Travis Scott to sound like Travis Scott (Was he supposed to have his auto-tune off?)?. All I know is that whoever was in charge of making this hip didn’t do a very good job. They had Big Boi in the wrong role doing the wrong song (They should have just brought out Andre 3000 and let him and Big Boi do ‘Roses’ or something), though his coat and intro was fantastic. Scott sung his one song that gets radio buzz during a time in the concert where it felt like they just threw it in (Shoutout to SpongeBob though and thanks to Travis for coming up with that idea. That was the 2nd best thing to happen during the show). Maroon 5 did what everyone thought they would, and even their good, old stuff didn’t sound good because Adam Levine was out of key for most of it.
The NFL needs to learn that this isn’t hard. The best halftime shows come out of putting one act who is a performer on a not-so-fancy stage and let them do their thing. Prince is an entertainer, and he did that during Bears-Colts. Bruno Mars killed it. U2 had 12 minutes and killed it. You don’t have to get fancy. Just get entertainers and let them go to work.
Also, stop booking people who make niche music. Usually that is better music, but Maroon 5 makes music meant to be sung in a cafe, not in a big concert setting.