ATLANTA — As SeanMcVay walked to his postgame podium on Sunday night, it looked like he just saw his football life flash in front of his eyes.
In many ways, it had.
The NFL's coaching flavor of the month just had his lunch handed to him by BillBelichick and defensive play-caller BrianFlores in the Patriots' 13-3 victory in Super Bowl LIII.
The NFL's second-best offense by every measurable — traditional and advanced — metric was held to three measly points. The Rams only penetrated the New England 30-yard line once, and then proceeded to give it up on a JaredGoff interception. Los Angeles didn't have a 20-yard pass play until the game was fundamentally over. It averaged 4.3 of those per game during the season, third-most in the league.
New England made one of the NFL's most high-powered attacks a popgun operation.
"Coach Belichick did an outstanding job. There is really no other way to put it — I'm pretty numb right now — but definitely, I got out-coached," said McVay. "I didn't do nearly good enough for our football team."
How did the Patriots do it? It was equal parts good play, poor decisions by McVay, a few gameplan surprises and, mostly, unrelenting pressure.
Coming into the game, it wasn't too hard to deduce the best way to throw off the Rams was to get to Goff. When the young quarterback was kept clean, he posted the fourth-highest passer rating in the league, according to ProFootballFocus.com (117.1). But when he was pressured, he fell to 22nd (59.8).
That's great information, but how do you do it against such an effective offense?