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Relive the New England Patriots' Super Bowl run with PFF

Jan 20, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs during overtime in the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

As the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams prepare for Super Bowl LIII, get ready for kickoff with Pro Football Focus’ recap of the Rams' Super Bowl run.

The PFF analysis team has graded every snap taken by every NFL player since the 2006 season. With that incredible breadth of data collected, our team has seen some exceptional season performances by players at the quarterback position, with some of those best marks belonging to Patriots QB Tom Brady. On the other side of the ball, Rams QB Jared Goff will enter the game with the eighth-highest grade of the season among players at the position, and when the two meet on Sunday for Super Bowl LIII, the 17-year difference between the two will be the largest difference in a Super Bowl ever.

Let Pro Football Focus take you back through the New England Patriots' 2018 season, as we recap all the statistics and storylines that led to the team's Super Bowl berth.

PFF Forecast: Super Bowl Preview


From the PFF Forecast, Pro Football Focus Data Scientists Eric Eager and George Chahrouri, preview Super Bowl 53. Watch via our YouTube channel here…

Old school vs. New school: Tom Brady set to face off against Jared Goff in Super Bowl LIII


When the two meet on Sunday for Super Bowl LIII, the 17-year difference between the quarterbacks will be the largest difference in a Super Bowl ever, but how do these two quarterbacks, who are at the opposite ends of their respective careers, compare statistically? Well, thanks to PFF’s 2019 QB annual, we can find out. Read more…

PFF Forecast: Super Bowl Prop Bets


From the PFF Forecast, Pro Football Focus Data Scientists Eric Eager and George Chahrouri, discuss some interesting prop bets for Super Bowl 53. Watch on our YouTube channel here.

The Rams must get to Brady if they want to take home the Lombardi Trophy


 

Tom Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback of all time. He has all the stats, records, rings, and the big plays in big moments to support that claim. But, as great as Brady is, he’s only human, and he’s not invincible. Now in his nineteenth season in the NFL, Brady has become a master of the game of football, but there’s still a blueprint on how to beat him, particularly in the Super Bowl. Read more…

As decisions loom, Gronk looks to put another stamp on a remarkable career


Super Bowl LIII is offering up plenty of storylines in the lead-up to the season’s biggest event, such as Tom Brady’s ninth Super Bowl appearance and Sean McVay making history as the youngest head coach ever to make the big game. However, as Rob Gronkowski is rumored to be debating his NFL future this offseason, a major narrative is to be determined, as the game could be in jeopardy of losing the greatest tight end to ever to step on the gridiron. Read more…

The Patriots are heading back to the big game


The highlights of the Patriots' dramatic overtime win in Kansas City.

A trademark fourth-quarter performance from Brady helps send the Patriots to Super Bowl LIII


Tom Brady's trademark tenacity and determination was on full display during the Conference Championships on Sunday, where Brady put on a trademark fourth-quarter/overtime performance to lead his team down the field at Arrowhead Stadium and into the ninth Super Bowl appearance of his remarkable career. Read more…

Edelman and Gronkowski provide vintage performance in Patriots’ win


When the overtime coin toss came up heads on Sunday, most people knew it was over. The fourth quarter had given us offensive fireworks with little defensive resistance – five touchdowns and a field goal had ballooned the score from 17-7 at the beginning of the final frame to a 31-31 tie at the end of regulation. That’s what gave the coin toss a sense of finality. We had just watched both offenses rip through the defenses seemingly at will. Why would that change in overtime? Read more…

Relive the Patriots' dramatic AFC Championship win


Senior analysts Steve Palazzolo and Sam Monson, from their NFL Podcast, discuss the recent win the New England Patriots had against the Kansas City Chiefs. Watch on our YouTube channel here.

The Super Bowl slot duel could be the key to victory for either team


Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman has seen his name in the news frequently over the past two weeks. His battle with Julian Edelman could be the key matchup of the weekend. Read more…

The Patriots' offensive line is hitting their stride during their latest postseason run


After Week 17 came to an end, the New England Patriots offensive line found themselves at fourth in our PFF rankings that ranked the units across the NFL. They don’t have any household names, perennial Pro Bowlers, or a single Pro Bowl appearance between them for that matter – though starting guard Shaq Mason did finish as PFF’s All-Pro right guard and was deserving of a Pro Bowl nod. They do have consistency across the front, though, with no real weak spots. All five starters were among the top-75 graded offensive linemen in the league regardless of position.  Read More…

Brady taking on the Rams' defense


From the PFF NFL Podcast, Pro Football Focus Senior Analysts Steve Palazzolo and Mike Renner breakdown the key matchups for New England's offense vs. Los Angeles' defense in Super Bowl 53.

Teams know Sony Michel is running the ball but still can’t stop him


Sony Michel has been a revelation for the New England Patriots over the past two months, earning an 80.9 grade over the final six weeks of the regular season along with leading all players in rushing yards in the postseason. And he’s done it against loaded boxes. Read more…

Tough to take down


The Patriots' offensive line has made holes for their backs this year.

Edelman working from the inside


Julian Edelman already has 10 receptions from the slot this postseason – leading the NFL's receivers.

White is leading the way in the passing game


James White has been able to jump his yards per route run in the playoffs by almost a full yard to 2.81 through two games.

Flowers getting to the quarterback


Name a technique along the defensive line, and I assure you Trey Flowers has A) played there and B) done so at a high-level. Read more…

Pats' JC Jackson taking full advantage of a second chance


It’s too easy to say JC Jackson, an undrafted rookie cornerback out of Maryland now starting for the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots, came out of nowhere. It’s easy to say no one saw him and his immediate success coming – admittedly easy, but false. Read more…

Keeping Brady upright will be key


The Patriots offensive line has kicked it into high gear this postseason. Will they be able to keep that up against the Rams' pass-rush in the Super Bowl?

Julian Edelman has been the epitome of consistency in New England


The ageless wonder Tom Brady gets a lot of credit in New England — and deservedly so. But his right-hand man, Julian Edelman, often goes underappreciated around the NFL while he maintains an incredible streak of consistency. Read more…

Patriots pressure will be key to stopping the Rams' long-developing routes


This postseason, Tom Brady has got the ball out of his hand in 2.18 seconds on average. It’s nearly impossible to generate any kind of consistent pressure with the ball getting out that quickly which, in turn, puts pressure on the secondary to play tight and disrupt the receivers to force the quarterback to hold on to the ball. However, when a defense gets a matchup with a quarterback that holds on to the ball longer by choice so that his receivers can get open downfield on longer-developing routes, that is when a pass rush has a chance to disrupt. The New England Patriots will get that opportunity in Atlanta against the Los Angeles Rams and Jared Goff. Read more…

Kyle Van Noy turning it on in the postseason with Belichick pulling the strings


Acquired for the NFL equivalent of peanuts in a trade with the Detroit Lionsin 2016, Kyle Van Noy hasn’t blown the doors off the league since donning his New England Patriots uniform, but the Pats’ return on investment has been insurmountable when considering the young linebacker’s play in the 2018 NFL playoffs.  Read more…

James White will be a key piece in the Patriots' passing attack


One common theme for almost every Patriots team throughout the Belichick and Brady regime is the heavy use of running backs in the passing game. From the early 2000s with Kevin Faulk to the early 2010s with Danny Woodhead, and from the mid-2010s with Shane Vereen to the recent years with James White, the role of the pass-catching back in the Patriots’ offense is an extremely important one. Read more…

The best cornerback in the game right now?


It was a career year for Stephon Gilmore whom Bill Belichick has taken to employing as a weapon in the secondary. New England shadowed receivers more than any other team in the NFL this season, and it was often Gilmore’s job to take away the other team’s top receiving threat. He tracked receivers in 13 games this year yet still only allowed 42 catches on 90 targets for 466 yards all year. Read more…

Brady on the money late in the down


One of the best indicators of a quarterback’s effect on a team is his big-time throw percentage, and Brady has made big-time throws with the best of them for a long time. Brady’s big-time throw percentage of 4.6% ranks 14th out of 38 quarterbacks this season (min. 150 attempts), and Rivers’ mark of 5.7% ranks eighth. However, looking at passes only on third and long (7+ yards to go in this case), Brady has made a big-time throw on 15% of such passes, ranking first out of 25 quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts in such situations. That is an absurdly high mark, and it’s a microcosm of how Brady has performed in the biggest of moments throughout his career. Read more…

Trey Flowers ends contract year on high note, bound for massive pay day


Recording 89.6 and 92.1 single-game grades in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively, New England Patriots’ Trey Flowers finishes his fourth NFL season with an elite 90.4 overall grade that’s tied for third among qualifying edge defenders. He goes into the postseason with ample momentum and opportunity to ruin opposing offenses en route to a Super Bowl win — and a big payday. Read more…

NFL secondary rankings: All 32 teams after 17 weeks


The Patriots consistently get more out of their defensive backs than any team in the league. Their cornerback tandem this season of Stephon Gilmore (90.7 overall) and Jason McCourty (83.1) personifies that. Maligned at their last stops before New England, both put up the highest-graded seasons of their careers in 2018, combining to allow only 95 catches on 180 targets. Read more…

Final list of PFF's highest-graded quarterbacks in the NFL in 2018


Brady wasn’t his normal self this season, but his abnormal self is still the fifth-best quarterback in the NFL. His 1.86 big-time throw to turnover-worthy throw ratio ranked eighth among qualifiers, and his clean-pocket turnover-worthy throw percentage (1.81) was the seventh-lowest on the year. Read more…

The Patriots' secondary has what it takes to carry the team through the playoffs


Not many 41-year-old quarterbacks can finish a season with five losses and have fans and media calling it “uncharacteristic.” Yet, New England Patriots‘quarterback Tom Brady has been so efficient for so long that a couple more interceptions, fewer touchdowns and his first season with fewer than 12 wins since 2009 must mean he’s slowing down. Either way, Brady and a much-improved secondary from a season ago are leading a dangerously well-rounded team into postseason play. Read more…

Trey Flowers ends contract year on high note, bound for massive pay day


Recording 89.6 and 92.1 single-game grades in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively, New England Patriots’ Trey Flowers finishes his fourth NFL season with an elite 90.4 overall grade that’s tied for third among qualifying edge defenders. He goes into the postseason with ample momentum and opportunity to ruin opposing offenses en route to a Super Bowl win — and a big payday. Read more…

PFF First-Team All-Pro


Stephon Gilmore leads the Patriots defense into the Super Bowl on Sunday – after finding himself on our All-Pro Defense earlier this month.

Hightower taking them down


Dont'a Hightower leads the Patriots defense against the Chargers after finishing the season with the fourth-highest tackling efficiency mark among linebackers.

Leaning on the defense


Overall grades for the Patriots heading into the playoffs.

As good as usual


A look at Tom Brady's regular season numbers in 2018.

The most valuable cornerback


It was a close race between Gilmore and Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones, but Gilmore gets the slight edge because of his playmaking so far. The Patriots corner has forced an incompletion on 27.9% of his targets so far this season – the highest rate of any corner in the league. Targeting him has netted opposing quarterbacks a 70.9 passer rating and 44.3 completion percentage so far. Read more…

How well is Tom Brady playing this season?


Senior analysts Steve Palazzolo and Sam Monson, from their NFL Podcast, discuss Tom Brady's level of play this year.

Taking care of the football


Yeah, Tom Brady is good. That's the lowest percentage of turnover-worthy throws of any QB since 2016.

If a running back is going to win the NFL's MVP Award, it shouldn't be Todd Gurley, it should be James White


Is Todd Gurley the most-valuable running back in the NFL, or are there other players that have a claim to this spot? Running the football, even as well as the Rams do it, is not nearly as valuable as throwing the ball, and backs that can make substantial dents in the opposing defense as receivers will be a big part of this conversation for us. As such, the most valuable running back in the NFL to this point is none other than James White of the Patriots, with his WAR ringing in at 30th in the NFL through nine weeks. Read more…

Pats' run-blocking is paving the way for Sony Michel's breakout


The product of today’s results-driven, impatient league, New England Patriots rookie running back Sony Michel was scolded with harsh criticism across the league after totaling just 84 yards on his first 24 carries (3.5 yards per carry). Now, the seesaw has tipped back in favor of the first-round Georgia product in reaction to his 210 rushing yards across 43 carries (4.9 YPC) in Weeks 4 & 5. The seesaw, however, flipped for the wrong reasons. Read more…

Patriots Outlook Without Josh Gordon


PFF Senior Analysts Steve Palazzolo and Sam Monson react to the news that WR Josh Gordon is walking away from football again.

Patriots trade for WR Josh Gordon


Bill Belichick was at it again on Monday, trading a conditional fifth-round pick for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordonaccording to ESPN insider Adam SchefterRead more…

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