Published: Feb. 6, 2019 at 05:31 p.m.
Updated: Feb. 7, 2019 at 12:50 p.m.

Next Gen Stats: Hidden numbers that defined Super Bowl LIII

Want to see the numbers behind the numbers? Nick Shook dives into a fresh batch of Next Gen Stats and identifies figures that helped decide Super Bowl LIII.

4 Photos Total

  • New England morphed into a run-first offense in the postseason, capped by a huge difference in production in Super Bowl LIII. The Patriots averaged 4.1 yards gained after a defender closed within a yard of the ball carrier and ripped off 10-plus yards per carry on 14.8 percent of attempts. Patriots runners were stuffed on just 7.4 percent of attempts. These numbers helped produce a combined rushing line of 27 carries for 141 yards in the victory. 4

    National Football League

    Patriots' ground-game dominance

    New England morphed into a run-first offense in the postseason, capped by a huge difference in production in Super Bowl LIII. The Patriots averaged 4.1 yards gained after a defender closed within a yard of the ball carrier and ripped off 10-plus yards per carry on 14.8 percent of attempts. Patriots runners were stuffed on just 7.4 percent of attempts. These numbers helped produce a combined rushing line of 27 carries for 141 yards in the victory.

  • Jason McCourty completed football's greatest single-season turnaround, going from the 0-16 Browns to winning the Super Bowl with the Patriots. He earned that title with a game-changing play, breaking up what would've been a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks by covering 19.5 yards in just 2.4 seconds to get within 0.8 yards of Cooks at the time the pass arrived. McCourty reached a top speed of 18.86 mph in the process, erasing the 19.2-yard difference in location at the moment Goff released the pass. 3

    Perry Knotts/NFL

    It must be the genes

    Jason McCourty completed football's greatest single-season turnaround, going from the 0-16 Browns to winning the Super Bowl with the Patriots. He earned that title with a game-changing play, breaking up what would've been a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks by covering 19.5 yards in just 2.4 seconds to get within 0.8 yards of Cooks at the time the pass arrived. McCourty reached a top speed of 18.86 mph in the process, erasing the 19.2-yard difference in location at the moment Goff released the pass.

  • Stephon Gilmore recorded the game's biggest takeaway, intercepting Jared Goff in the fourth quarter to stop the Rams as they attempted to tie the game. It was the highlight play of a fantastic performance from Gilmore, who had an excellent playoff run. Gilmore did not allow a single completion when targeted in a tight window during the playoffs, posting an 0-for-9 mark with two interceptions. His completion percentage allowed was also -9.6 percent below expectation, underscoring his effectiveness during New England's run to the title. 2

    Ryan Kang/NFL

    Gilmore's great run

    Stephon Gilmore recorded the game's biggest takeaway, intercepting Jared Goff in the fourth quarter to stop the Rams as they attempted to tie the game. It was the highlight play of a fantastic performance from Gilmore, who had an excellent playoff run. Gilmore did not allow a single completion when targeted in a tight window during the playoffs, posting an 0-for-9 mark with two interceptions. His completion percentage allowed was also -9.6 percent below expectation, underscoring his effectiveness during New England's run to the title.

  • How did New England hold the league's second-highest scoring offense to just three points in the biggest game of the year? They did so by draping defenders all over Rams targets and harassing Jared Goff just enough to throw off Los Angeles' rhythm. The Patriots limited Rams receivers to their third-lowest distance covered per route (22.6) in a game this season, despite Jared Goff posting his second-longest time to throw (3.16 seconds) of the season. By comparison, Los Angeles averaged 24.3 yards of distance covered per route in the regular season, third most in the NFL. New England also forced a tight window on 26.3 percent of targets, the highest rate Goff has faced all season, pressured Goff on half of his 12 dropbacks on third down and sacked him twice. The Rams converted just three of 13 third-down conversion attempts, and the Patriots forced a tight window on six of Goff's 10 attempts on third down. 1

    National Football League

    Patriots' all-encompassing blanket

    How did New England hold the league's second-highest scoring offense to just three points in the biggest game of the year? They did so by draping defenders all over Rams targets and harassing Jared Goff just enough to throw off Los Angeles' rhythm. The Patriots limited Rams receivers to their third-lowest distance covered per route (22.6) in a game this season, despite Jared Goff posting his second-longest time to throw (3.16 seconds) of the season. By comparison, Los Angeles averaged 24.3 yards of distance covered per route in the regular season, third most in the NFL. New England also forced a tight window on 26.3 percent of targets, the highest rate Goff has faced all season, pressured Goff on half of his 12 dropbacks on third down and sacked him twice. The Rams converted just three of 13 third-down conversion attempts, and the Patriots forced a tight window on six of Goff's 10 attempts on third down.