The New England Patriots failing to make the Super Bowl in 2021 marks the first time since 2008-2010 that they had missed the big game in three or more seasons. It’s been a crazy run, but with Tom Brady leaving and then retiring, this team is undergoing an overhaul.
While this Sunday’s championship game won’t feature New England, it will have a little Patriots flavor. After all, back in the preseason they traded Sony Michel to the Los Angeles Rams for fifth- and sixth-round draft choices in 2022.
The trade didn’t look favorable for either side early on, but both teams have since reaped the benefits.
In the Rams’ case, though, they should call up and thank Bill Belichick because Michel really helped get them to where they are today.
Former Patriots RB Sony Michel played a huge role in helping the Rams get to the Super Bowl.
With sophomore phenom Cam Akers suffering a torn Achilles in July, the Rams acquired Michel to back up the talented, but oft-injured Darrell Henderson. As expected, the Patriots’ former first-round pick struggled for touches early on as he familiarized himself with Sean McVay’s offense.
In fact, from Weeks 4-12, Michel turned 48 carries (six per game) into 190 yards and just one touchdown. His 3.9 yards per carry during that stretch looked eerily similar to his 2019 season with the Patriots, which is widely regarded as the year he lost his stranglehold on the starting job.
Like most players, though, all Michel needed was a real opportunity to make his mark on his new team, and a Henderson quad injury amid a three-game losing streak in late November did just that.
Thrust into a three-down role with the Rams spiraling, Michel helped steady the ship. Over the next five games, he racked up 497 yards and three touchdowns on 4.7 YPC. The stretch included two 100-yard games — three fewer than he compiled in his entire Patriots career — and the Rams won all five games.
Unfortunately for Michel, his moment in the spotlight ended with Akers making a miraculous return in the second round of the playoffs. After notching 13 carries in the Wild Card win over Arizona, Michel has 11 carries for 20 yards with Akers back in the fold.
With Henderson trending towards returning for the Super Bowl, Michel could find himself back on the bench Sunday. However, folks shouldn’t forget the impact he had down the stretch of the regular season, which helped the Rams win the NL West and maintain enough momentum to make a deep run.