Posts Tagged ‘2018 NFL Season’


Defenses dominated what was supposed to be a super shootout until Tom Brady led one classic drive to win the New England Patriots their record-tying sixth Super Bowl.

Brady threw two perfect passes to Rob Gronkowski to set up rookie Sony Michel’s 2-yard score – the only touchdown in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever. That put New England up 10-3. A late field goal clinched the win over the Rams 13-3.

In a season in which all sorts of offensive records were set, this Super Bowl rewrote the defensive record book.

”Finally got a touchdown and the defense played the best game of the year,” Brady said

No Super Bowl had gone into the fourth quarter without a touchdown. This one did, tied 3-3 – even though these teams combined to average over 60 points a game.

When the Patriots needed a score, Brady, the oldest winning quarterback in a Super Bowl at 41, completed four straight passes, including a pair covering 47 yards to Gronkowski. The second , on which the star tight end beat two defenders, ended at the Los Angeles 2, the only time either team was inside the 20-yard line. Michel ran off left tackle for his sixth postseason touchdown.

”He knows to trust in me and throw that ball,” Gronkowski said, ”and I’m going to grab it.”

Julian Edelman, the outstanding receiver who missed the 2017 season with a knee injury, was the game’s MVP with 10 receptions for 141 yards.

With 4:17 left, All-Pro Stephon Gilmore picked off an ill-advised pass by Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who seemed overwhelmed by the big stage all night, at the New England 2.

Stephen Gostkowski made a 41-yard field goal with 1:12 remaining, completing a 72-yard march that took more than three minutes off the clock and included 26-yard runs by Michel and Rex Burkhead.

It was a workmanlike conclusion for the Patriots (14-5), whose losses all came away from New England. They beat the top two offenses in the Chiefs and Rams (15-4) in the postseason, and tied Pittsburgh for most Super Bowl titles.

The Patriots were terrific all game on defense, allowing the fewest points in a Super Bowl (tied with Dallas in 1972 against Miami).

”We’re a relentless team,” linebacker Dont’a Hightower said. ”We didn’t give up. A lot was thrown at us. When we play like we did tonight, we can’t be beat.”

The Rams, who reached the NFL championship game with the aid of a major officiating error in the conference title victory at New Orleans, never really threatened to reach the end zone.

”Last time I checked, defense wins championships,” Rams running back C.J. Anderson said.

At 66, Bill Belichick became the oldest winning Super Bowl coach. The Patriots beat the Rams, then representing St. Louis, to begin their dynastic run in the 2002 game. They also have beaten Carolina and Philadelphia (2004 and `05, the last repeater); the Seahawks in 2015; and the Falcons in 2017 in the only overtime in Super Bowl history.

They have lost three times, including to Philadelphia a year ago. New England is the first team since the 1972 Dolphins to win a Super Bowl the year after losing one.

How the Patriots accomplished it was atypical. The 10-point margin was their biggest in winning a championship.

Brady, who has won four Super Bowl MVP trophies, wasn’t particularly sharp – except when throwing to Edelman. He was the steadiest offensive player on the field, finishing with 10 catches for 141 yards.

”It just matters that we won,” Edelman said. ”It was a crazy year. We had a resilient bunch of guys.”

Brady passed Charles Haley to become the only player with six Super Bowl titles.

All those suspicions about the Patriots declining this season became moot as the defense made the 24-year-old Goff look awful and turned All-Pro running back Todd Gurley into a nonfactor.

While it was anything but odd to see New England celebrate a championship, the manner it earned this one was startling. The 2 1/2-point favorite Patriots moved the ball well, ran down the clock, but made uncharacteristic gaffes on offense. Goff and the Rams made more.

LA’s second-ranked offense managed just 57 total yards for the half. The Rams were completely overmatched on the line and were particularly unable to handle the elusive Edelman, who had seven receptions for 93 yards.

Coach Sean McVay, whose Rams never had been blanked in a first half, let out a long, deep sigh just before halftime, recognizing how badly his team was manhandled, even though it trailed just 3-0.

It was the lowest score at halftime since Super Bowl 9, which Pittsburgh led 2-0 over Minnesota.

McVay, the youngest Super Bowl head coach at 33, admitted he was outcoached. He had no answers as Gurley, coming off knee issues, managed 35 yards rushing, Goff went 19 for 38 for 229 yards and was sacked four times. Brandin Cooks, a Patriots receiver last season, did have eight receptions for 120 yards.


Gostkowski’s 46-yard miss wide left in the first quarter was the first unsuccessful field goal in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Falcons, by an NFL player all season. The 13-year veteran also missed a field goal and extra point in the 2018 Super Bowl loss to Philadelphia.

But he gave the Patriots a 3-0 lead with a 42-yarder in the second quarter.

The Rams’ Johnny Hekker had a 65-yard punt in the third quarter, the longest in a Super Bowl. It was his eighth punt of the game – with 1 1-2 periods remaining – the most for LA in McVay’s two seasons in charge.

Greg Zuerlein tied it with 2:11 left in the third quarter on the first drive on which Los Angeles gained more than one first down. His 53-yarder was the second-longest field goal in a Super Bowl.


McVay deferred after winning the coin toss. In their previous two playoff games, the Patriots marched right downfield to a touchdown with the opening kickoff, setting an immediate tone. This time, after Cordarrelle Patterson’s 38-yard kickoff return and four successful runs, Brady’s first pass was tipped by receiver Chris Hogan and cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. Linebacker Cory Littleton made a diving interception; it was the first time Brady was picked on his initial throw in a postseason game.


New England lost safety Patrick Chung on the third play of the second half when his right forearm was caught between Gurley’s shoulder pad and the helmet of teammate Jonathan Jones. Chung writhed in pain before walking off with an air cast on.


Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was named the 2018 NFL MVP in just his first year as a starter in the league.

The 23-year-old is the youngest player to win the award in the Super Bowl era. Mahomes took 41 of the 50 votes. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees earned the other nine votes.

Mahomes threw for 5,097 yards and led the league with 50 touchdown passes, all while leading the Chiefs to a 12-4 record and the top seed in the AFC. Peyton Manning is the only other quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in the same season.

The second-year pro was also named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year. He’s now the third quarterback in the last four seasons to earn both awards.

Mahomes is the sixth different quarterback to win the league MVP award in the last six seasons. The last non-QB to win it was Adrian Peterson in 2012.


Among the many revelations from the report by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham on the division within the ranks of the Cleveland Browns is an account of a colorful exchange between upper management and former head coach Hue Jackson.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and general manager John Dorsey walked into Jackson’s office to fire him on Oct. 29, sources told Wickersham. When Jackson asked why he was being let go, Dorsey told him the team had quit on him.

“Get the f— out of my office,” Jackson responded, according to Wickersham.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams replaced Jackson on an interim basis before interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens was promoted to the full-time job in January.


Oakland Raiders fans may not have seen the last of running back Marshawn Lynch in silver and black.

“We’d love to have him back,” head coach Jon Gruden said Tuesday, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Gruden added he’s unsure if Lynch plans to continue playing.

Lynch, a native of Oakland, spent the last two seasons with the Raiders after returning from his one-year retirement. However, his 2018 campaign was limited to just six games due to a groin injury.

Turning 33 years old before the 2019 season, Lynch has rushed for 1,267 yards and 10 touchdowns, with another 235 yards receiving over 21 games with his hometown team.


Marshawn Lynch had some choice words for Donald Trump when asked to respond to the President calling him “unpatriotic” during an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

“I mean, you know, that motherf—er say a lot of s—,” Lynch told Maher. “At the end of the day, you called me unpatriotic, but I mean, you come to my neighborhood where I’m from, you know, you’ll see me take the shirt off my back and give it to someone in less need. I mean, what would you call that?”

In a November 2017 tweet, Trump criticized Lynch for sitting during the national anthem and called on the NFL to suspend the Oakland Raiders running back for the remainder of the season.

Lynch also spoke about how he’s helping to combat the issue of gentrification in Oakland, Calif.

“With bangin’ my head against people, I had the opportunity to make a couple dollars,” he said. “So, therefore, I started to go and buy up some real estate in the area where I grew up at in order to give people opportunities for housing.”


Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield had his Week 16 fine for making a lewd gesture heavily reduced following an appeal, a source told ESPN’s Pat McManamon.

Mayfield was initially fined $10,026 but reportedly had the penalty lowered to $1,700. The NFL reportedly determined the facts presented against Mayfield in the appeal hearing didn’t support the fine.

Browns coach Freddie Kitchens – then the offensive coordinator – defended Mayfield after the fine was originally handed out, saying the gesture was an inside joke with members of the team.

The incident took place Dec. 23 versus the Cincinnati Bengals.

Baylor v Texas Tech

The Arizona Cardinals surprised the NFL and hired Kliff Kingsbury as their head coach with the development of quarterback Josh Rosen a key concern.

“It is a quarterback-driven league,” general manager Steve Keim acknowledged Wednesday during Kingsbury’s introductory press conference. “The way he’s developed a lot of young quarterbacks … was certainly a plus.”

Kingsbury joined Arizona just 34 days after taking the offensive coordinator job at USC. He was coming off a six-year stint as head coach at Texas Tech, where he compiled a 35-40 record.

Those underwhelming results didn’t deter the Cardinals, who were determined to find an innovative offensive mind to push the franchise forward.

“Offense, overall, is the direction this league has gone,” owner Michael Bidwill said.

In the desert, Kingsbury will be tasked with developing Rosen into Arizona’s franchise quarterback. Last year’s 10th overall pick had the worst passer rating in the NFL among qualifying quarterbacks in 2018, threw more interceptions than touchdowns, and was sacked 45 times.

“Josh Rosen is incredibly talented and one of the most talented throwers you’ll see,” said Kingsbury. “A young player that I’m excited to work with and develop. As a pure thrower, it’s hard to find a guy that throws it better.”

The 39-year-old coach worked with eventual NFL quarterbacks Case Keenum, Johnny Manziel, Baker Mayfield, Davis Webb, and Patrick Mahomes during his NCAA career. None of them came to him as a highly-ranked college recruit.

Kingsbury plans to hire an offensive coordinator but will call plays, while the Cardinals will go fishing for a veteran defensive coordinator to pair with their new head coach.