Big Game Analysis Part One
Introducing Football Scout 365's first Big Game Analysis for an NFL game and the core focus for Super Bowl LIII are third downs and how the Patriots have utilized ball control offense in back to back playoff matchups limiting both the San Diego Charger and Kansas City Chiefs offensive opportunities. The Patriots 2018 playoff philosophy has been a ball control strategy. The Patriots have dominated Time of Possession through two playoff games at 2 to 1 ratio, protecting their defense allowing them to sustain energy throughout the entirety of a game.
In this analysis, we are breaking down the Patriots 3rd down offense in the last two playoff games and comparing to the Rams 3rd down defensive tendencies. Let's start by analyzing Time of Possession and how the Patriots were able to set the tone in back to back playoff games.
Setting the tone on offense:
The opening drives in back to back playoff games for the Patriots have included two long touchdown drives of 14 plays, 83 yards, in 7:11 v. the Chargers and 15 plays, 80 yards in 8:05. The patriots converted 6 total third downs in their two opening drives in the playoffs with an average distance needed to convert of 3.66 yards.
If the Rams are going to win, they will need to get stops in key third-down situations by limiting the Patriots on 1st and 2nd down and forcing them into obvious pass situations. The Chiefs were successful at forcing 3rd and long, but they failed to get pressure on Brady. Unlike the Chiefs, the Rams have two all Pro interior defensive lineman who can collapse the pocket (Suh & Donald). If the Patriots can come out and dominate the line of scrimmage and establish their run game putting them in 3rd down and 3, or 4 yards to go, the Rams will struggle against Brady.
Patriots Drive Summaries v. 2018 Playoff Opponents