The exciting, adventurous, sometimes innovative Los Angeles Rams offense never boarded the plane to Atlanta.
Los Angeles' closest brush with paydirt came when Jared Goff found Brandin Cookswide open in the end zone, but found him too late, heaving a pass to Cooks that was broken up by a doubling-back Jason McCourty. The play was a massive one in hindsight, and also illustrative of how the Rams seemed a beat off all night.
"I just never enabled us to get into a rhythm offensively," McVay explained. "You know we didn't have any really third-down conversions really the whole first half. They did a good job, and it seemed that anytime we got a little bit of a positive play then we'd end up having a penalty or move ourselves back.
"So, I think a lot of it is a result of some of the things they did but then also the play selection. I was not pleased at all with my feel for the flow of the game and kind of making some adjustments as the game unfolded and with giving ourselves a chance at some success and put some points on the board. Credit to them, they did a good job, and I certainly didn't do enough for us."
Too often, a frequently pressured Goff was left only with downfield options for targeting, usually as a result of failing to gain significant ground on first and second down. Goff had a handful of errant throws and didn't do himself any favors (especially on his interception), but he had to battle constant harassment up the middle from the Patriots, who ran effective stunts and confused Los Angeles' interior linemen. By the fourth quarter, Goff was internally sped up, looking to deliver quicker than usual.
For a quarterback with one of the slowest times to throw in the NFL, this was a recipe for disaster.
Goff finished with a line of 19-of-38 passing for 229 yards, one interception and a passer rating of 57.9. The Rams as an offense totaled just 260 yards of offense, and were 3 of 13 on third down. New England owned a slight time of possession advantage, but converted on its one true chance to score a touchdown.
The Rams, meanwhile, didn't, and will be left to wonder why for an entire offseason. For a coach with a much-publicized photographic memory, this is likely one he'd like to forget.
"They did a great job. It was a great game plan, and no other way to say it but I got outcoached tonight."