By Norm Elrod
(CBS Boston/CBS Local) — Super Bowl LIII ended up a low-scoring affair, despite the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams’ proven ability to put up points. In the end, the Rams mustered a single field goal, while their punter put in a full day’s work. The Patriots’ two field goals and a touchdown were enough to secure their sixth Super Bowl title of the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. Brady looked average for most of the day, with Sony Michel and Julian Edelman, the game’s most valuable player, supplying enough offense.
Inside The NFL analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis looked back at the game and forward to what teams might contend for the title in 2020. Here’s a hint: next year’s game could be a rematch of this year’s. You can catch Ray with fellow analysts Boomer Esiason and Phil Simms, alongside host James Brown, tonight on the season finale of Inside The NFL and every Tuesday night during the NFL season on Showtime.
CBS Local Sports: What did the Patriots do on defense to shut down the high-powered Rams offense?
Ray Lewis: I think it was more about what the Rams didn’t do. You come out against one of the greatest coaches of all time, Bill Belichick, and one of the greatest coaches when it comes to adjustments. And you’re not going to make one adjustment, not one adjustment. You went all year, and then you had two extra weeks to prepare for one of the biggest games of your life, and you make no adjustment at all.
I totally didn’t get it. I don’t understand it. So the end result ended up being exactly what everybody saw. It was not an exciting game.
CBS Local Sports: Tom Brady claims he wants to play until he’s 45. Can the Patriots rely on him as their starter for the next four seasons?
Ray Lewis: Brady is playing golf right now. The game is so catered to him, not getting hit, the rules. It’s great to watch somebody’s greatness, but it’s terrible when every rule benefits you. So can he keep playing? Absolutely. Why wouldn’t he be playing with something that easy?
His division is the worst division in football over the last 20 years. So he definitely has six automatic wins. It’s crazy when you get into the facts, the dynamics of where he’s positioned, how hard it is to go win. [If] you’re talking about playing in the AFC North, [then] retire now. That’s a whole different mentality. NFC West… retire now.
I think he’s enjoying it, and he’s winning, so why not? That’s up to the guy. Somebody else has to stop him.
CBS Local Sports: What do the Rams need to do in the off-season to ensure they make it back to the Super Bowl next season?
Ray Lewis: A lot of people think that adding a lot of guys is the answer. But I always believed that great defenses, great teams, are built off of chemistry. Chemistry is everything. And it takes years sometimes to build that. When you think about how they have to build, you have to ask yourself: is Jared Goff that guy? Can he take you to a Super Bowl and win a Super Bowl? Prove it, then take me there. Can you do that?
What sort of pieces do you bring back? What should you do with your secondary? There are just so many pieces that they have to figure out. That’s the risk of putting together a team, because there are so many pieces. So now you have to go piece this puzzle together and figure out how we get here again next year.
CBS Local Sports: Who are your very early favorites for the 2019 season?
Ray Lewis: Pat Mahomes gives Kansas City in the AFC every chance to be right back there. He’s just that good. If you think about Tom Brady, they’re going to be there. You may be seeing the same AFC Championship again.
What happens in the NFC will be interesting. Drew Brees loses twice, I mean heartbreaking loses. And what does he do? Do the Rams come back and make that run again? I think it’s going to be interesting. The Rams in the NFC for sure, then probably the Saints again. I don’t see anyone else making a real move .