clearn.png
Monday August 19th, 2019 6:36AM
5:38AM ( 58 minutes ago ) Weather Alert

Offensive lines key in Super Bowl for both Rams and Patriots

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots are bringing two of the top scoring offenses in the NFL to the Super Bowl.

The reason they've both played so well has a lot to do with the big guys playing up front.

Los Angeles had the same offensive line starters for all 16 games and both playoff contests. Their consistency has been key to everything Rams coach Sean McVay does with a team that averaged 32.9 points per game, ranked second in the league.

A line that has nobody who has ever played in a Super Bowl is being rewarded.

"Having that consistency is big in everything we do," left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. "We know each other very well at this point, and that's something that you can rely on when you're in a tight game, when you need to execute at an important time in the game."

The line has been just as dependable for the Patriots.

Tom Brady has not been sacked in either of New England's two playoff wins, with defenses getting only three quarterback hits while chasing an offense that is part of a team averaging 27.3 points per game, ranked fourth in the NFL.

It hasn't gone unnoticed by the Patriots' 41-year-old quarterback.

In the days after their AFC championship game victory over Kansas City, Brady posted a picture on Instagram of his spotless jersey. He tagged each of his offensive linemen in the post, writing, "Not even 1 grass stain!"

The last time Brady wasn't sacked through two playoff games was the 2003 season, when he wasn't sacked at all during the Patriots' three wins, including their Super Bowl victory over Carolina.

"I think they've performed incredible all year really," Brady said. "We really haven't had many sacks this year and I think they've done such a great job protecting, and the run game, I think that speaks for itself. That was just an incredible effort last week and we're going to need it again because this group is obviously exceptional at (the defensive line).

"The D-line is certainly a great strength of theirs. We'll be challenged. All those guys will be challenged."

The 37-year-old Whitworth is the cornerstone of the Rams' offensive turnaround, providing brilliant blocking and steady leadership ever since he left Cincinnati to join McVay on the West Coast two years ago. He has started every game except one in the past two seasons — and so have left guard Rodger Saffold, center John Sullivan and right tackle Rob Havenstein.

The Rams' continuity on the line is remarkable in the modern NFL. Their only change from 2017 to 2018 was made at right guard, where Austin Blythe replaced the suspended Jamon Brown for the first two games of this season and played so well he never relinquished the spot.

The Rams' offensive line is a reliable barometer for the success of their powerful offense. When the linemen are playing well, as they did through the first 10 weeks of the season, quarterback Jared Goff operates smoothly behind his protection and Todd Gurley finds gaping holes in their opponents' defensive fronts.

When the line struggles, as it appeared to do at Detroit and Chicago in December, the offense stalls. Goff was pressured 51 times in a four-game stretch late in the regular season after getting pressured just 78 times in the first 10 games, directly leading to the Rams' losses to the Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles.

"Everybody knows how much I love those guys," Gurley said. "They're responsible for everything. We've got the best line in the game, in my opinion, and they show it on the field every week."

New England lost two starters on its offensive line in the offseason when tackles Nate Solder and Cam Fleming left in free agency. But with Marcus Cannon and Trent Brown taking their spots, joining center David Andrews and guards Shaq Mason and Joe Thuney, Brady was sacked 21 times during the regular season, compared with 35 times last season.

New England knows it will take a similar effort against a Rams' defensive line that also features All-Pro Aaron Donald, Dante Fowler and Ndamukong Suh.

Andrews said one of the things they are so good at is changing up things, with Suh sometimes playing nose guard, and lining up on the edge other times.

"Obviously they're both dynamic players," Andrews said. "Aaron Donald is the best defensive football player in the league, there's no doubt about that. So it's going to be a big challenge. We're going to have to do a lot of things well."

___

AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

___

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at https://twitter.com/khightower

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Pope seeks peace in Venezuela crisis but doesn't pick sides
Pope Francis is calling for a "just and peaceful solution" to Venezuela's political crisis as he wraps up a visit to Panama for a World Youth Day rally that was overshadowed by the upheaval unfolding nearby
1:41PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Venezuelans abroad anxiously watch events unfolding at home
Venezuelans living abroad anxiously watch events unfolding in Caracas and wonder whether they may soon be able to go home
1:32PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Some 70,000 Brussels protesters demand action on climate
At least 70,000 demonstrators braved cold and rain in the Belgian capital to demand that the government increases its efforts to fight climate change
1:22PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Alonso still out front during another rain break
IMSA has stopped the Rolex 24 because of heavy rain for the second time
12:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
Lucky 7: Djokovic routs Nadal for record 7th Australian Open
Novak Djokovic has won his record seventh Australian Open championship and a third consecutive Grand Slam title by beating Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in the final
11:32AM ( 2 hours ago )
DeChambeau cruises to victory at Dubai Desert Classic
Bryson DeChambeau shot an 8-under 64 to cruise to his first overseas victory at the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday
11:22AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Warriors win 10th straight, beat Celtics 115-111
Kevin Durant had 33 points and nine rebounds for Golden State to beat the Boston Celtics 115-111 and give the Warriors their 10th win in a row
3:08AM ( 10 hours ago )
Duke's Jones sparks North to 34-24 Senior Bowl win
Duke's Daniel Jones passed for one touchdown and ran for another in the third quarter to lead the North to a 34-24 victory over the South in Saturday's Senior Bowl
7:10PM ( 18 hours ago )
Prosecutor: Detroit Lions' Trevor Bates punched officer
Prosecutor: Trevor Bates of Detroit Lions was arrested in New York for failing to pay a taxi fare and then punching a police officer in the face
5:19PM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Atlanta officer charged in wreck that led driver to lose arm
An Atlanta police officer has been indicted on charges including reckless driving in a wreck that caused another driver to lose an arm
8:57AM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Goff, 17 years Brady's junior, on equal ground at Super Bowl
Jared Goff was 7 years old when Tom Brady beat the Rams to win his first Super Bowl in early 2002
9:46PM ( 2 days ago )
Football great Joe Montana looking to score with marijuana
Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana is looking to hit pay dirt in the legal marijuana industry
8:20PM ( 2 days ago )
Patriots controlling clock, third downs during playoffs
Super Scheme: Patriots' success on third downs, edge in time of possession keeping teams off balance during postseason
6:46PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Pope seeks peace in Venezuela crisis but doesn't pick sides
Pope Francis is calling for a "just and peaceful solution" to Venezuela's political crisis as he wraps up a visit to Panama for a World Youth Day rally that was overshadowed by the upheaval unfolding nearby
1:41PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Venezuelans abroad anxiously watch events unfolding at home
Venezuelans living abroad anxiously watch events unfolding in Caracas and wonder whether they may soon be able to go home
1:32PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Some 70,000 Brussels protesters demand action on climate
At least 70,000 demonstrators braved cold and rain in the Belgian capital to demand that the government increases its efforts to fight climate change
1:22PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Crystal Palace knocks Tottenham out of FA Cup
Tottenham exited its second competition in four days after losing 2-0 at Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday
1:18PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Search for survivors, despair in Brazil amid dam collapse
Brazilian officials have resumed the search for hundreds of missing people in the wake of a massive dam collapse, with firefighter crews returning to mud-covered areas after a several-hour suspension over fears that a second dam was at risk of breach
1:13PM ( 43 minutes ago )