Thursday night marks a rematch of Super Bowl LIII when Bill Belichick's Patriots defense smothered Sean McVay's Rams offense in a 13-3 affair.
The 16 total points made for the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in NFL history, and the three points put up by the Rams tied for the fewest ever in the annual championship game. It was a stunning outcome given McVay's squad averaged 32.9 points per game that year entering the contest.
To this day, the three points remains the fewest the Rams have scored in McVay's tenure.
For quarterback Jared Goff, there aren't many pleasant memories of that day.
"You know, not very many good ones," he said when asked if any memories stood out, via the team's official transcript. "I do remember it being extremely memorable in terms of just the experience of the whole week. Then obviously the game didn't go our way, but I think just being there and being able to soak it all in and having that experience, for not only myself, but our team, as far as when we do get a chance to get back there, being able to handle that the way we want to."
Belichick pressured the pants off Goff in Super Bowl LIII.
According to Next Gen Stats, the Patriots blitzed Goff on 52.4 percent of his dropbacks (second-highest for Goff in a game in his career, incl. playoffs). Goff went 9-of-19 passing for 118 yards, and an INT against the blitz that day.
Earlier this year, Belichick disciple Brian Flores, now with Miami, re-enacted that performance, pressuring Goff into oblivion. Against the Dolphins in Week 8 of this season, Goff was blitzed on 50.8 percent of dropbacks (third-highest in a game in his career). Goff went 14-of-30 for 155 yards, TD, INT against the blitz in Week 8. On that afternoon, Goff was picked twice and lost two fumbles, once for a Miami score, in the 28-17 loss.
With the Patriots losing a bevy of defensive players, some to free agency and others who opted out, we'll see if Belichick & Co. can take a similar blitz-heavy approach this time around.
Rams on both sides of the ball don't have fond memories of Super Bowl LIII, despite the defense holding ex-Pats QB Tom Brady down most of the contest.
"We lost. So, that's the memory you think when you talk about going to the Super Bowl, getting there and falling short," defensive tackle Aaron Donald said. "So that's just a loss. I try to not think about the loss. But you know, this is definitely a game that's going to give you a little bit more push just for a little payback."
A little payback wouldn't alleviate the pain of a Super Bowl loss, but it would keep the Rams atop the NFC West division as we come to the stretch run of the 2020 season.
Thursday's Super Bowl LIII rematch between the Rams and Patriots kicks off in L.A. at 8:20 p.m. ET, airing on NFL Network, FOX and streaming on Amazon Prime Video.