Sony Michel gets his own redemption in Mercedes-Benz Stadium
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Former Georgia football star Sony Michel shines in Super Bowl
A lot went wrong in the 2018 National Championship Game for Georgia in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. One common complaint from that game was the lack of Sony Michel’s involvement in the offense in the closing stages. Despite leading Georgia in rushing, Michel had only one carry for one yard in the final 10 minutes of the game and overtime in the 26-23 loss.
Just over a year later in the same building, Michel found himself in another tight championship game. Only this time, Michel continued to get the football. The rookie running back scored the game’s only touchdown and finished as the Patriots’ leading rusher as New England won 13-3. Michel was one of three Bulldogs on the Patriots’ roster this year, joining center David Andrews and Isaiah Wynn. Wynn was a first round pick like Michel in the 2018 NFL Draft, but did not play this season due to a torn Achilles suffered in preseason camp.
Michel actually finished the game with worse numbers than his national championship game — 18 carries for 94 yards in the Super Bowl compared to 14 carries for 98 yards in the national title game. But instead of sitting next to Nick Chubb with a 1,000-yard stare, Michel actually got to celebrate this time.
“There’s no better feeling then winning the Super Bowl. A wiseman told me to be where your feet are and right now I’m at the Super Bowl,” Michel said afterwards.
Following the win, Michel took to Twitter with a simple message.
God is good 🙏🏾
— Sony Michel (@Flyguy2stackz) February 4, 2019
The difference in this game was Michel’s usage in the fourth quarter. Michel carried the ball 8 times in the final 10 minutes of the game. He racked up 43 yards on those 8 carries. Michel picked up 41 of the 72 yards on New England’s final drive that began on its own 4-yard line and ended with a field goal that clinched the game.
It couldn’t have been a better ending for Michel, whose rookie season took some strange twist and turns. Michel began the year injured and was mocked by some in the media for his slow start. But when healthy, Michel showed he was a game-changing running back. In the playoffs Michel rushed for 336 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’s the first rookie running back to ever put up those numbers, and only the eighth running back in the history of the NFL to rush for 6 touchdowns in the playoffs.
Michel drew praise from just about everybody, including quarterback Tom Brady. In games where Michel scored this season, New England was 8-0.
If there’s an image to take away for how most Georgia fans felt about Michel’s performance, it comes from his mom. Michel was giving a post game interview on the field afterwards, and his mom has the biggest smile in the world on her face.
Sony Michel, with Haiti’s flag wrapped around his neck and his mother smiling behind him, explains why it means so much for him to represent. pic.twitter.com/IAMyKZ9mmm
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) February 4, 2019
In an alternate universe, Michel carries both Georgia and New England to titles in back-to-back seasons. Michel’s Super Bowl performance might further validate those complaints about him not getting the ball enough in the national championship game.
But for now Georgia football fans should still be incredibly proud of how Michel represented the Bulldogs in the Super Bowl.
Todd Gurley says he was not slowed by injury
As great as Michel was, another major storyline from the Super Bowl was how the other Georgia running back played. Todd Gurley, who at one point was an MVP front runner during the 2018 season, finished the game with 10 carries for 35 yards. Gurley also had his worst receiving output of the season, as he had just 1 catch for -1 yard.
At one point in the game, many joked that Gurley’s best run came in a commercial, though it was both an awesome run and commercial.
— NFL (@NFL) February 4, 2019
It’s the second game in a row where Gurley has finished with fewer than 40 rushing yards. He did that once all season.
Many have wondered if Gurley was injured heading into the game, but afterwards Gurley said that he was in fact healthy.
“I kind of had a break low-key for the last two months,” Gurley said. “So, it’s cool. We’ll do the physicals and all that stuff tomorrow. I’m fine though.”
Gurley added that he does not expect to have surgery following the season. The former Georgia Bulldog missed the final two games of the regular season to rest for the playoffs.
It’s another unfortunate for ending for Gurley, one that’s not too dissimilar to his Georgia career. The 2014 teams had one of the best offenses in program history, and Gurley was very much a Heisman Trophy contender. But Gurley was of course was suspended for four games during the middle of the season and then tore his ACL in the Auburn game.
Hopefully Gurley gets another chance to carry the Rams to another Super Bowl. As Sunday night showed, the Rams very much need Gurley to be one of the best players in football. But given the turnover and parity of the NFL, there’s a real possibility he might not get another chance to play in a Super Bowl.
Just about everyone outside of New England was hoping to see a better performance from Gurley — and the Rams as a whole. The end of this season will no doubt stick with the former Georgia star for a while.
Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
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- Georgia’s newest Pro Football Hall of Famer Champ Bailey: ‘This is Bulldog Country’
- Former Georgia football legend Champ Bailey elected into Pro Football Hall of Fame
- How sizzling Super Bowl matchup has provided Georgia football publicity bonanza
- Same ol’ Georgia as Bulldogs fall to South Carolina 86-80 for 6th straight SEC loss
- Nation’s No. 4 ATH Mark-Antony Richards gave his last in-home visit to UGA
- Sony Michel, David Andrews didn’t like practicing for Super Bowl at Georgia Tech
Dawgs on Twitter
JAZZ. HANDS. IN. THE. SUPER. BOWL. pic.twitter.com/YMZQBrpLfo
— Connor Riley (@Kconnorriley) February 4, 2019
— NFL (@NFL) February 4, 2019
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) February 4, 2019
Dawgs in the Super Bowl pic.twitter.com/2I2zBpwlN6
— Isaiah Wynn (@iwynn77) February 2, 2019
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) February 4, 2019
Good Dawg of the Day
This is April. She’s the star of the new @budweiserusa Super Bowl commercial. Wanted to introduce you to her clip clop friends before it airs. They really like carrots. 14/10 for all #partner pic.twitter.com/sxkfduSNcI
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) February 3, 2019