Super Bowl LIII

Bedard’s SB LIII Breakdown: Defense – Tackling some myths on a near-flawless unit

(Adam Richins for BSJ)

Since we addressed the stellar gameplan and playcalls from Bill Belichick and Brian Flores in our analysis immediately following the game, there isn't anything glaring that has to be covered after viewing the game film. It only reinforced what we thought at the time: the Patriots, continuing basically what they've done since the Vikings game, played excellent defense (there's a reason why we kept saying we felt better about that side of the ball than the offense). At the same time, they were certainly aided and abetted by the shocking lack of adjustments by Sean McVay and the extremely poor play by Jared Goff. New England was responsible for some of that, but L.A. definitely played a part as well.

(As far as McVay goes, you could almost say the same about Josh McDaniels. He finally found a good adjustment on the touchdown drive out of desperation ... but why didn't he go to it earlier?)

But as tends to be the case in these Super Bowls, some myths have emerged. The bigger the game, the bigger the overreaction. And it cuts both ways. Last year at this time people were completely blowing the Malcolm Butler benching out of proportion when there were several other holes in the defensive gameplan — and Tom Brady still had the ball in his hands with a chance to win the game with two minutes to go. (But let's keep saying the game was blown by Belichick with the Butler decision when it wasn't.)

In the aftermath of Super Bowl LIII, since the Patriots won this time around, the myth-making is swinging in the other direction. Some of it is warranted, and some of it is overblown. Let's take a look at some of the key factors, including Jason McCourty's pass breakup, the value of Kyle Van Noy and Dont'a Hightower, how well Stephon Gilmore played, and some under-the-radar performances.

MYTH 1: Jason McCourty made a great play to break up the pass in the end zone