Pats' O-line does its part in containing Rams, Donald

ATLANTA -- One of the biggest keys to victory for the New England Patriots entering Sunday's matchup against the Los Angeles Rams surrounded containing defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who led the league with 20.5 sacks in the regular season.

The Patriots' offensive line did that and more, holding the NFL's 2018 Defensive Player of the Year without a sack and to just one hit on quarterback Tom Brady en route to a 13-3 win in Super Bowl LIII.

"It's a testament to offensive line coach Dante] Scar[necchia] and the techniques he teaches us," center [David Andrews said of the effort against Donald. "It's a testament to Shaq Mason], [Joe Thuney. It's a testament to Tom [Brady] and the receivers.

"It's a team effort; it wasn't just one guy. That's just relying on our technique, going out there and doing what we had to do, and I thought we battled our tails off all night."

Thuney agreed with his offensive line teammate.

"We were locked in on what we had to do and that is where we were focusing," Thuney said.

Making the Patriots' offensive line performance even more impressive is what it did against two of the NFL's top interior defensive linemen in Donald and Ndamukong Suh, who recorded just two tackles and one quarterback hit.

Combined, the duo failed to make a game-changing defensive play and had two solo tackles with five assists between them.

"I don't know how many plays they made, but it doesn't matter," Andrews said. "We're world champions."

The Patriots' ability to contain Donald and Suh allowed the offense to come up big by running it right at the Rams' defense when it mattered the most, specifically with the game very much in doubt late in the fourth quarter.

Anchored by rookie running back Sony Michel, the Patriots grounded out 68 yards in the final period and finished the game with 154 yards rushing on 34 carries. Michel led the team in rushing with 94 yards rushing and a touchdown on 18 carries.

"That was kind of our goal, to try to play some physical football," Michel said. "The offensive line did a tremendous job today and they did a tremendous job all year."

Football is won in the trenches, as the saying goes. And the Patriots' offensive line certainly proved it with an impressive outing against the two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

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