Super Bowl LIII: A Showdown between Generations


Kaiwen Wang, Editor

A full season of excitement, enjoyment, and somewhat controversy is finally coming to a fabulous finale as the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots will present an ultimate showdown between generations this Sunday at Atlanta, Georgia. So Dilly Dilly, for this is a festival for all, and a farewell for all.

            The rise of a new dynasty. Mercedes-Benz Stadium this Sunday will be the biggest stage so far for McVay and Goff, the youngest HC-QB duo in Super Bowl history. Coincidentally, the last time a great coach took a 24-yr old quarterback to Super Bowl dates back to February of 2002 when Tom Brady and Co. defeated St.Louis. The rest of the story is well known: as Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” came to an end, a dynasty of red and blue started. And 17 years later, with a similar rising quarterback and a similar explosive running back, “Greatest Show pt.2” aim to revenge from the same old Brady.

            Patriots=Underdogs? After sports experts went nuts about Patriots going 1-2 early in September, who would have thought that Tom Brady will still be here today?

Not only that, this team has been doubted all year: can the beat-up Gronk still play with that big cast on his arm? Are the defense still able after giving up a last-second 69-yd lateral TD in Miami; can 41-yr-old Brady throw anything else other than 3-yd checkdowns?

It took two first-halfs to silence doubters. Facing Bosa, Ingram and James, Pats offense sent the ball into Chargers’ endzone 5 times in the first half. In the next first-half in KC, it was Patriots defense that showed superiority after shutting down the Mahomes’ No.1 ranked offense.

Belichick’s recipe to success. West coast offense has become a fashion nowadays, but Coach Belichick is definitely not following this offensive norm. Belichick this year has focused on run-pass balanced offense more than ever; with Sony Michel and James White in the backfield, Pats have easily averaged over rushing 100 yards per game. Even if 5-ring quarterback does pass, he will check it down to White who leads the team in passing targets this year. So thanks to Belichick, we can still see Brady performing at a high-level at age 41.

Just luck? A new Rams dynasty might have just begun, off a controversial officiating decision in the NFC championship clash. We’ve seen that before, haven’t we? (“Tuck rule” in 2002). However, what people haven’t noticed is that Rams did just outplay the NFC No.1 Seed facing the loudest crowd in Crescent city. On paper, visiting Rams DID record more air and ground yards than the Saints. Rams DID also dominante on the other side of the ball, as reflected in that interception in overtime. Holding the best RB duo Kamara+Ingram under 50 rushing yards, the underrated Rams defense has shown its ability to stop Sony Michel this Sunday.

           Watch out, Tom. Don’t sleep on Aaron Donald. Thanks to this league’s sacks leader (20.5), Rams front 8 is ranked 1st in terms of putting interior pressure on the opposing QB. As the potential DPOY, Donald will mostly likely be the most crucial non-qb player in Super Bowl LIII. Watch out for the collision upfront, Brady. #12’s has recorded a quarterback rating of only 63.1 when facing interior pressure this season. Remarkably, in every of his Super Bowl defeats, Brady was under pressure for more than 40% of the time according to Pro Football Focus.

           Crucial factors. The officiating controversy also covered the fact that Rams’ best offensive player, Todd Gurley, did have a bad game against the Saints with merely 10 rushing yards. Falling short in yardage to Anderson two games in a row, Gurley is looking forward to a “comeback” this Sunday. Recording 21 touchdowns in the season, #30 is the plasma laser that McVay needs to activate. Facing Patriots’ defense which is merely ranked 3rd to last in terms of yards per carry, McVay desperately needs to get the tempo running game going and prevent giving the ball back to 5-ring quarterback’s hands.

           Odds for Patriots? Following Brady’s key passing conversions in AFC championship, people are freaked out by not only Romo’s magical play calling but also the 41-yr-old’s everlasting ability to make big plays. The matchup between veteran receiver Julian Edelman and 5-time pro-bowler Aqib Talib is definitely interesting. Meanwhile, TE Gronkowski will continue to cause mismatches in Rams’ secondary like he did in Arrowhead. However, considering how much pressure Brady will be facing, Belichick will most likely focus on the groundwork more than ever.

           Prediction: Several turnovers will determine the direction of this game. With the help from Todd Gurley and CJ Anderson, Rams will perform a small comeback after Patriots’ early lead. The game will be finally determined by a last-second field goal by Patriots’ kicker Gostkowski. Patriots win 30-28.