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Ranking the 7 dumbest mistakes from the Super Bowl 53 stinkfest

From Jared Goff getting shook to everything about that stupid halftime show.

NFL: Super Bowl LIII-New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl 53 was not a pretty game. The Rams and Patriots engaged in a defense-first slopfest that featured more skipped passes than points as New England earned its sixth NFL championship in a 13-3 victory.

There were plenty of bad plays that marred a forgettable Super Bowl (for anyone outside the six states of New England). Tom Brady never looked like himself, Jared Goff was reduced to Josh Rosen by the Patriots’ ever-shifting defensive front, and defense ruled a battle between top-five offenses.

But five decisions stood above the rest in the football equivalent of a Maroon 5 concert. These were the the worst choices of the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in league history.

7. Greg the Leg missed wide left

With seconds left, the Rams were trying for a quick field goal, onside kick, and Hail Mary to send the Super Bowl to overtime.

Y’know, attempt the impossible. The first part of that equation was at least doable, especially with NFC Championship Game hero Greg Zuerlein, who had already nailed a 53-yarder for the Rams’ first points of the game.

Er, the Rams’ only points of the game. Zuerlein’s 48-yard attempt missed baaaaadly:

Was it a dumb mistake? Not really. It was mostly just sad. But it was the perfect ending to this craptacular game.

6. The Rams kicked to Cordarrelle Patterson

Zuerlein has one of the biggest legs in the NFL. He proved this by drilling a 57-yard game-winning field goal against the Saints that cleared the uprights with roughly 12 yards to spare.

So it’s not a stretch to assume he could blast a kickoff inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium out the back of the end zone with no issues — especially with an All-Pro kick returner waiting for the ball. Instead, his kick only got to the New England 1-yard line, where Cordarrelle Patterson was waiting.

Here’s what our own Stephen White said about Patterson in his scouting report for the game:

The Rams would be smart not to kick it to him all game. No reason to even give him an opportunity to ruin your day.

The dynamic special teamer/wide receiver/running back took the return out to his 39, where Zuerlein had to run him out of bounds, sparking what looked to be an early scoring drive for New England.

Fortunately for the Rams, Tom Brady’s day would start with a first-pass interception to erase the momentum Patterson gave the Pats. Not that it mattered!

5. The NFL shouldn’t have announced Big Boi as part of the halftime show

Maroon 5’s halftime show was pretty much exactly what you should’ve expected. It had a whole lot of shirtless Adam Levine, a dash of Travis Scott doing nothing exciting, a quick and unsatisfying nod to SpongeBob fans, and an extremely Atlanta appearance by Big Boi.

All in all, it was pretty predictably lame.

The highlight was Big Boi, who drove up in a Cadillac:

But it wasn’t a surprise or even that exciting, because his appearance was announced three weeks ago. And while that was fun news to hear in January, all it did was frustrate those who were looking forward to watching Big Boi and only got a little bit of him.

The Maroon 5 halftime show was a whole lot of Maroon 5. That was what we all should’ve expected and probably would’ve expected if the NFL hadn’t announced the guests ahead of time. Next time don’t open our Christmas presents three weeks before Christmas, please.

4. Andre 3000 didn’t show up

Every time the halftime show started to heat up, an increasingly nude Adam Levine would pop back in to murder the energy with his mom jeans rocks. This was preventable, and the easiest way to do so was to pair the aforementioned Big Boi with Andre 3000 and just turn the entire shindig into an Outkast concert.

While Maroon 5 may have been the perfectly crappy complement for a perfectly crappy Super Bowl, think of the energy “Bombs Over Baghdad,” backed by the Southern University Human Jukebox Band would have brought. Or what kind of appointment viewingMs. Jackson” would have been. Or, in a perfect world, the joy a full recreation of the “Roses” video, including a cameo from Kevin McDonald, would have bestowed on the world.

The NFL even played “Roses” during an outro leading into a commercial break, then delivered absolutely nothing. Which, I guess, is a pretty fitting display from Roger Goodell’s league.

3. Remember when Dee Ford was offsides?

Yeah, we’re cheating a little here. This didn’t happen in Super Bowl 53. It happened two weeks before in the AFC Championship Game, and we already railed against Ford for it.

But just a reminder that if Ford doesn’t line up offsides, we would have gotten a Chiefs-Rams Super Bowl, a rematch of the best game we’ve ever seen.

Also, we would’ve been spared another Super Bowl win for the Patriots.


2. Brandin Cooks had two shots to score a touchdown

OK, so maybe it isn’t dumb to not make difficult touchdown grabs. But Brandin Cooks definitely had a couple shots to get the Rams some points and couldn’t get the job done.

The first was much more the fault of Goff. The quarterback threw a fluttering ball to Cooks, who was WIDE open in the back of the end zone. Still, the receiver had a chance and couldn’t hang on.

The second was on Cooks, who couldn’t fight off Stephon Gilmore to make a play on a great throw from Goff.

Neither play was an easy one to make. But it’s the Super Bowl and the plays usually aren’t going to be served up on a silver platter. Cooks had his chances to be a hero — and Goff threw the game-sealing pick after Cooks’ second miss.

1. Jared Goff tried to do too much against the Patriots’ blitz

New England kept the 24-year-old quarterback on his toes all evening with a hearty pass rush, forcing Goff to miss open targets with off-balance throws. With the Rams driving into Patriots territory, defensive coordinator Brian Flores rolled the dice with a cover-zero blitz from the second level that left single coverage across the board.

Goff made the decision — arguably the right one — to throw the ball deep in hopes of burning New England’s depleted secondary. But the oncoming pass rush meant he couldn’t step into his throw, and that sent LA’s best scoring drive to plummet through the atmosphere and crash into the ocean like a discarded satellite.

The Patriots embarked on a 3:05, 72-yard drive that ended with a field goal that effectively sealed up the win for New England. The Rams had some brief, glimmering hope after Goff had moved them 48 yards in seven plays for what could have been a game-tying drive. Instead, Goff’s decision to throw the ball under duress gave the Patriots all the leverage they needed to salt this game away.

Now, let’s never talk about this Super Bowl again.