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- Super Bowl 53 between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots was one of the lowest-scoring games of the NFL season.
- The 2018 season was known as the year of offense, where teams and players broke offensive records and pushed the game to new heights.
- The Super Bowl ended up being a defensive battle and proved the game hasn’t completely changed.
The 2018 NFL season was the year of offense – and then the Super Bowl happened.
All season long, NFL teams revolutionized the game, advancing offense in a way the league hadn’t seen before. Teams created more creative offensive concepts, quarterbacks produced more efficient numbers than ever, and scoring records were broken.
The Los Angeles Rams-New England Patriots’ 2019 Super Bowl the antithesis of that. With the Patriots winning 13-3, it was the third-lowest scoring game of the entire NFL season and the lowest-scoring Super Bowls ever.
Expectations were high coming into the game. The Super Bowl pitted two offensive masterminds in Sean McVay and Josh McDaniels. It had an all-time great quarterback in Tom Brady against the young, upcoming Jared Goff. Both teams have plenty of offensive talent, from Todd Gurley to Rob Gronkowski.
Instead, the game turned into a defensive battle between two masterminds – Bill Belichick and Wade Phillips – that the league had not seen much of all season.
Consider that there were 14 punts in the game. Only one other game this season had more than 10 punts (the Pittsburgh Steelers-Cleveland Browns’ Week 1 game), according to Pro-Football Reference.
The game was so slow, at points, that CBS commentators Jim Nantz and Tony Romo were getting excited over punts.
That’s not how the Super Bowl was supposed to go. Both teams were in the top five in offensive DVOA this season. They had the first (Patriots) and third-best (Rams) offenses in total points in the postseason.
The 2018 season was highlighted by offensive explosions like the Rams-Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 11 duel. Or the Rams-New Orleans Saints’ Week 9 showdown. Some even wondered after the Rams and Chiefs combined to score over 100 points if the league’s rules had gone too far the other way to allow scoring.
However, Sunday proved the old mantra of “Defenses win championships” still rings true. One score proved to be the difference-maker, but the Patriots offense was able to hang tougher than the Rams down the stretch.
Despite the scoring surge in 2018, the league hasn’t completely changed.
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