Super Bowl 53 was on the line with 4:24 remaining in the game and the L.A. Rams were driving to try to re-tie the New England Patriots 10 – 10. However, Pats defensive play caller Brian Flores, who’s soon to take over as Dolphins new head coach, had a special blitz waiting for them on the crucial play.
To reset the situation/scene:
Quarterback Jared Goff had just thrown incomplete to the deep right trying to find WR Brandin Cooks and being covered by DB Stephon Gilmore (above). The Rams reloaded for a 2nd and 10 and the Patriots we’re ready with a blitz that they had not shown the entire game.
New England lined up wtih four down linemen rushers, a linebacker near the middle of the line of scrimmage and two defensive backs over on the left side of the defensive formation. Flores and the Patriots were going to bring two extra blitzer’s depending on how the Rams blocked the play.
In other words, the Pats were going to take a significant risk that their immediate blitz would force Jared Goff into a bad decision/throw. And, that’s exactly what happened.
Take a look:
— NFL (@NFL) February 4, 2019
As New England brought a safety and a corner from the left end, they both came free and made running back C.J. Anderson have to make a “no-win decision” on which one to block and which one to allow to get through?
When the safety came free, Goff was rushed and could not step forward to throw the ball deep towards Cooks and the endzone.
This was the exact design of the defensive call from Flores: pressure him into making an errant or under throw that defensive backs down field would be ready for.
As he described Sunday night after the game, he saw the ball floating-underthrown the entire way.
— Liam Martin (@LiamWBZ) February 4, 2019
Gilmore leaped into the air with Cook’s running by him and secured the interception at the 4-yard line.
The Patriots offense proceeded to kill most of the clock, driving the ball all the way in the Rams territory and eventually, kicking a Stephen Gostkowski field goal with just over a minute remaining to make the game 13 – 3.
That was also the eventual final score in the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever.
A Super Bowl won by defense overall and a specific play call for a guy that will now take over in South Florida for the Dolphins as a division rival to his old team, New England.
Clearly coach Bill Belichick, who may deserve his own wing in Canton at the Hall of Fame at this point, deserves the credit for the two-decade success the Patriots have had on defense, while winning six Super Bowls.
That being said: Belichick did not hesitate to credit Florida’s for the defensive play call in that crucial situation with under four and a half minutes remaining:
Bill Belichick, on ESPN, credits Dolphins coach Brian Flores for calling the blitz that resulted in late Goff INT
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) February 4, 2019
It was a blitz that the Patriots had been saving the entire game, and one that they believed they could force Jared Goff into making a critical mistake on or at least “eat the ball” to take a significant sack.
New England was 100% correct, and that’s what coaching is all about.
Yes, the players have to go out and execute any play call, and Gilmore deserves the credit for tracking and intercepting the ball to seal the Super Bowl 53 win.
Still, if you’re a Fins fan in South Florida, that kind of call, in that kind of situation has got to have you very encouraged on the Monday after the 2018 season has concluded.
That’s because, Brian Flores is about to come take charge of your team.
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