LA Rams defense forces Patriots to bench ineffective Cam Newton

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams stymied the Patriots offense all night, forcing the Patriots to bench Newton for Stidham

The little victories of the LA Rams win on Thursday Night Football were both sweet and savory. The Rams allowed just three points, half as many points as the number of recorded quarterback sacks, and the defense stepped up any time the Patriots moved the football into the LA Rams part of the field. But two moments of last night’s game had a resounding impact on the perception of what was occurring during the game from the New England Patriots’ perspective.

The first moment was the emotional outburst from normally stoic Bill Belichick. There was a moment in the game where Belichick had seen enough and promptly took out his rage on his clipboard.

That was a rare outburst of the New England Patriots’ head coach and one that will likely not be repeated for some time. Frustration and anger are not two words many people associate with Belichick, but the Rams performance brought it out of him in full force.

Newton to the bench

The second rarity was the moment when the Rams defense had stymied the Patriots’ offense.  Whether an experiment to see what a change to backup QB Jarrett Stidham might bring, or simply to protect starting quarterback Cam Newton from injury, the Patriots benched Newton with 10 minutes remaining in the game.

The move proved that the Rams had out-coached Belichick in a Thursday Night Football game where the Rams were the only team at risk of embarrassment.  Not only did the Rams win avoid the plague of prescripted narratives about a bad LA Rams team, but the Rams turned the tables and created plenty of cracks in the Patriots’ performance to trigger those storylines for their opponent.

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Don’t underestimate the Patriots. They are a good team and have an NFL mastermind at the helm. The Rams’ lopsided victory was more about the Rams’ talent and own gifted coaching staff than a deficiency in the Patriots’ team. Right now, the Rams are peaking at the right time of the season.