In a 2018 NFL season that saw teams combine to score the most touchdowns (1,371) in league history, the final game of the year, Super Bowl LII, ended up being the lowest scoring Super Bowl in that game’s history with the New England Patriots defeating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3.
Some people may have considered that defensive battle a snooze-fest or boring football to watch. Don’t count Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis among them.
“Nah, it wasn’t boring at all,” Davis said earlier this week when asked about it. “Everyone wants to see high scoring. Everyone wants to see points fly up. But it’s beautiful how the Patriots did their thing. How they went out there and executed and made sure they were doing exactly what they had to do.”
The Rams entered that Super Bowl second in the league in scoring (32.9) and total offense (421.1). The Patriots' defense allowed them to score just three points, with 260 total yards and nine forced punts.
What Davis appreciated most about that game was how the Patriots coaching staff drew up a terrific game plan and the players executed it to perfection. He emphasized the execution part.
Detroit faced the Rams Week 13, and held them to 16 points through three quarters, but didn’t execute on a couple defensive plays in the fourth quarter. They allowed the Rams to score 14 fourth-quarter points in an eventual 30-16 loss.
“The Patriots did an excellent job,” Davis said. “Just watching that game, knowing that, ‘Hey, we ran that defense.’ We can see it just watching the game and it’s like, ‘man, if we could have just executed a couple different times this is a (Rams) team we could have beaten, too.’”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick acknowledged at the Super Bowl that he studied the Lions Week 13 game vs. Los Angeles and used it to help form his game plan.
For Davis, the Super Bowl was a glimpse into what the Lions' defensive scheme is capable of when executed at the highest level.
“You definitely have to look at it,” he said. “They made it all the way. They won. They did exactly what every team in the NFL is trying to do. Like right now, we’re here working and trying to improve ourselves to get to that game.”
Davis also took note of a number of situations that came up in other games during the playoffs that can be teaching points moving forward.
"It comes down to those little mistakes and situations that come up,” he said. “It’s things that we harp on to and you can see that. You hear them, but until you really get to see them, how they affect other teams, or you get to see how they really affect you through our season, you don’t really expect them.
"Just being able to have that experience we had throughout last season, and to be able to have that example throughout the playoffs, I think it’s really going to help us grow and help us become better in those situations at points in the game."