Patriots Cornerback Jason McCourty made the play of Super Bowl LIII when he sprinted from across the field to break up what would have been the go-ahead touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks in the third quarter. Like most things in New England, the play was as much a result of preparation as reaction.
NFL Films provided a fascinating look at the chess match leading up to the huge play, which was identical to a play from the first quarter where Brandin Cooks beat the New England defense on the same route, but was missed by a pressured Jared Goff.
Sean McVay can be heard reacting to the missed opportunity in the first quarter by confirming with the coaches box that the score was there for the taking. As McVay is contemplating dialing up the same play later on, the Patriots secondary was busy correcting their blown coverage by assigning Jason McCourty to drop and cover Cooks when it was called again.
The result of the chess match was an incredible individual effort by McCourty to make the play of the game, but he was in the right position thanks to a classic New England in-game adjustment. No surprise here, just the Patriot Way getting it done.
The Super Bowl’s best play, by Jason McCourty (@McCourtyTwins), came down to in-game coaching, not luck or freelancing.
Coaching is not simply spit-filled screamfests or passionately throwing a headset. It’s communicating & putting players in the best position to succeed. pic.twitter.com/HMSFahIqTL
— Danny Schaechter (@CoachDShack) February 13, 2019