SBLIII: Rams Defensive Line Eager To Stop Run
ATLANTA - The Los Angeles Rams have one of the best defensive fronts in the league. The Philadelphia Eagles ultimately got to Tom Brady enough times to earn a victory in Super Bowl LII. If the Rams are to win Super Bowl LIII, they will likely have to do it by setting the tone with their defensive line.
There will be points scored in this Super Bowl. At last check, the over-under is set at 56.5 combined points scored in the game.
The Rams defensive line is paying no attention to that. They are focused on a one-two punch to keep the Patriots offense in check.
First, the Rams are well aware they need to stop the run. The Patriots averaged 165 yards rushing per game in the playoffs and used a three-headed attack featuring Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead and James White. That kind of success on the ground makes it a whole lot easier on the quarterback and the passing attack.
“If we want to win this Championship, we have to stop the run,” Defensive Tackle Michael Brockers stated. “If you give any quarterback the time to read his routes and see his receivers any quarterback will eat you up, especially if you have a Hall of Fame quarterback like Tom Brady.”
“They play well together,” Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald said. “They have a strong running game so we know we have to stop the run to have the opportunity to get after the quarterback.”
It might just be that simple. The Patriots averaged just 81 yards on the ground in their five losses.
“We have to mess up their timing,” Brockers explained. “We have to win first and second down and get them behind the sticks. If we get them in third and long and we know they are going to pass, that makes it easier for us.”
Third and long is just where the Rams want the Patriots. Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers combined for 26 sacks. Donald led the league with 20.5 sacks. He will likely draw a lot of attention from the Patriots.
“I wish they wouldn’t so I could just go out there and get my one-on-one’s and get after it,” Donald smiled. “I appreciate the respect. When you make a name for yourself it don’t get easier it gets ten times harder.”
The other part of the one-two punch is to get pressure on Tom Brady and hit him a few times. The Eagles got in his face at key moments in Super Bowl LII and it led to sacks and a costly fumble late in the game. The Rams are well aware of what hitting Brady can do to the Patriots passing attack.
“No quarterback wants to get hit or have a defensive lineman in his face,” Donald said. “As long as we do that and don’t let him get comfortable, we will be fine.”
The Patriots are no strangers to this game and this stage. This is their ninth Super Bowl under Bill Belichick. The Rams want to forget that detail when they take the field against them Sunday evening.
“They are fundamentally sound,” Brockers explained. “All of the Patriots teams have been and they don’t beat themselves. We have to go out there and play our game. When a lot of people play the Patriots they get overzealous because they are the Patriots. You just have to execute what you do.”
Putting these players in position to execute falls on Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips. He will play the ultimate chess game numerous coaches have played on this stage against their opponent in the previous 52 Super Bowls. It is clear speaking to these players that they are extremely fond of Phillips and trust him to put them where they need to be to find success.