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3 lessons Sean McVay and the Rams can learn from their dismal Super Bowl loss to the Patriots

Retired NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz recaps the Super Bowl and how it all went wrong for the Rams.

Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Well, someone had to win the Super Bowl. It was ugly, but the Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl over the Los Angeles Rams in a 13-3 game that might be forgotten soon enough.

There were 14 punts total. The teams were a combined 6 of 25 on third down. But hey, no apologies needed from the Patriots. They are the champions again.

Lesson No. 1: Don’t be afraid to try something new

I had two keys to the game. One was the defensive wizard Bill Belichick against the upstart offensive genius in Sean McVay. Was McVay going to change up his offense against the Patriots, or continue to run what got him to the dance?

Well, the Rams ran what they normally do and didn’t run it well. For starters, the Patriots’ defense shut down the Rams rushing attack. LA finished with 18 carries for 62 yards. I’d argue the Rams should have run the ball more often, but why would they? They weren’t gaining yards.

McVay did almost nothing new, while Belichick had this guys ready for everything.

As McVay said after the game, “I’m pretty numb right now, but definitely, I got outcoached.”

The Patriots are a heavy man coverage team. On Sunday night, they were a heavy zone team. They made adjustments. They looked at the Lions-Rams film and used that as a blueprint. Playing zone coverage confused Jared Goff, and he wasn’t able to find a second or third option. Where were their tight ends or running backs in the pass game?

Even worse for the Rams’ passing game was their pass protection. They got diced up by a Patriots front that was twisting and stunting all game. It was no surprise what their plan was going to be, as they’ve done it successful during their playoff wins. What was surprising was the Rams’ failure to handle these pressures. The Rams have an outstanding offensive line, but they lost the battle multiple times in the Super Bowl. They lost as a unit and also lost on one-on-on matchups. It was a rough night for the big uglies.

Lesson No. 2: Settle down

Tom Brady wasn’t his best in Super Bowl 53, but Goff was terrible. Goff missed several open receivers, including throwing the ball late to Brandin Cooks in the back of the end zone:

Goff looked rattled and extremely uncomfortable with any pressure around him. In the fourth quarter, he was leading the Rams down the field to try to tie the game before throwing an awful interception. The Patriots brought zero pressure and there was a free rusher. Goff panicked, threw off his back foot while slipping, and Stephon Gilmore was able to intercept the pass.

Goff made the right read but just had a poor throw. This will be a learning experience for him.

Lesson No. 3: Find a way to get after the quarterback

The Rams weren’t going to win without a next-level performance from Ndamukong Suh, my other key to the game. They didn’t get it. Suh was almost nonexistent.

In fact, the Patriots did an outstanding job of gameplanning their run plays so they would have optimal success. They ran away from Aaron Donald or made sure to double him. They used the aggressive nature of the Rams’ pass rush (they get upfield quickly), to run into areas where their defensive linemen had vacated. It worked.

The Patriots offensive line was the MVP of this game. The running game averaged almost 5 yards a carry and the only touchdown of the night came on the ground. More importantly, they kept Brady upright and only allowed him to be pressured on 14 percent of his dropbacks.

The Rams’ pass rush couldn’t do what the Patriots’ did: get after the quarterback. And that’s a major reason why the Patriots are going home champs once again.