By Peter Gleason

With all the talk about Tom Brady vs. Jared Goff and Bill Belichick vs. Sean McVay, let’s explore why the Rams have a real chance to upset the 2 1/2-point favored Pats in tomorrow night’s Super Bowl:

It’s time to put some respect on defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

To be sure, Los Angeles’ offense is the primary reason the Rams are in the Super Bowl (aside from the Noncall Heard ’Round the World), but the defense, while not as strong as last season’s, has the talent to stymie Brady.

Led by Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, the defensive line has generated pressure on 36 percent of pass plays, the league’s highest rate.

The more frequent the pressure, the more likely an opponent is to make a mistake, as evidenced by Los Angeles’ 18 interceptions, third most in the NFL.

It’s no coincidence that the Rams became a playoff contender upon Phillips’ arrival in 2017.

In each of his previous seven stops, his team reached the postseason. Five of those teams made it after falling short the previous season.

Wade Phillips’ coaching history, 1989 to present
First season Team Role Playoffs? Playoffs previous season?
1989 Broncos Defensive coordinator Yes No
1995 Bills Defensive coordinator Yes No
2002 Falcons Defensive coordinator Yes No
2004 Chargers Defensive coordinator Yes No
2007 Cowboys Head coach Yes Yes
2011 Texans Defensive coordinator Yes No
2015 Broncos Defensive coordinator Yes Yes
2017 Rams Defensive coordinator Yes No

In nine games against Phillips-coached defenses, Brady has averaged nearly 300 passing yards, thrown 21 touchdowns to seven interceptions and posted a 91.2 passer rating. He has won six times, though Phillips prevailed the last time they met in the playoffs. In the 2015-16 AFC championship, the Broncos hit Brady 17 times and held the Patriots to 18 points.

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