Super Bowl LIII did not turn out to be the offensive battle of the best between young phenom head coach Sean McVay and undisputed mastermind Bill Belichick. It turned out to be an incredibly dull punting duel.
The storyline was there for a classic: two California quarterbacks, one still in the very early stages of his career in Jared Goff and the other, a no-doubt Hall of Famer in Tom Brady. Yet the boring display that unfurled over the next four hours was instead largely dominated by two guys who once walked on and competed for Oregon State’s punter position — Johnny Hekker and Ryan Allen.
“New England’s 13-3 win was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever and brought to mind an era before the Patriots dynasty, when the Super Bowl was one of the least entertaining games of the year,” as The Ringer put it.
Los Angeles became the second team in league history to fail to score a touchdown in the championship game, matching the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI, who also put up three points in a loss. At halftime, the game’s eventual MVP, Julian Edelman, had more total yards than the entire Rams offense and Hekker had more punts than Goff had completions.
— Puntalytics (@ThePuntRunts) February 4, 2019
Hekker finished with a whopping nine punts for 417 yards, tied for the third-most punts in a Super Bowl. He also kept his team in the game by ending the first half with a kick that pinned New England to the 2-yard-line with less than 30 seconds to go and “outdid himself” again in the third by recording the longest punt in Super Bowl history with a 65 yarder.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) February 4, 2019
Not to be out-kicked, Hekker’s old rival had a night of his own. Allen punted five times for 215 yards, including the moments when he backed up the Rams inside their 7-yard line three times.