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Sean McVay looking forward to return engagement against Bill Belichick and the Patriots

Sean McVay lost to Bill Belichick and the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.Elsa/Getty Images

Super Bowl LIII was maybe the most humbling coaching experience of Sean McVay’s career.

In the title game for the first time as a head coach two seasons ago, McVay admittedly came up short, as Los Angeles’s 13-3 defeat allowed New England to walk away with its sixth Super Bowl title.

“It was a something that didn’t go according to plan,” McVay said Monday.

“But you can’t dwell on it,” he said. “I didn’t think I did nearly a good enough job for us to be crowned world champs.”

In the first game between the teams since that memorable clash in Atlanta, McVay said that while there’s some emotional carryover from that loss, he’s more focused on the present-day task at hand — beating the 2020 Patriots.


“I don’t know if you look at it like that, as much as it is about, ‘Hey, let’s get your football team ready to go. Let’s have a great plan. Let’s be ready to adjust and adapt accordingly,’ " McVay said when asked about the possibility of redemption.

“Our guys have done a lot of really good things, and [we’re] looking forward to this week,” he said. “It’s a great football team and it’s really well coached. So, I’m looking forward to seeing how the Rams play the Patriots — that’s the most important thing.”

Aaron Donald leads a tenacious Rams' D.Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

The Rams (8-4), who have won three of their last four games, have one of the league’s best defenses — they are fifth in scoring defense.

Los Angeles is also near the top of the NFL in most major defensive categories, including rushing yards allowed per game (third, 93.1), passing yards allowed per game (third, 198.3), and takeaways (tied for third at plus-20).

McVay says the defensive focus this week is on New England quarterback Cam Newton.

“He’s a guy who can beat you in a variety of ways,” McVay said, “He is such a physical presence. I think [offensive coordinator Josh] McDaniels and [quarterbacks coach Jedd] Fisch have done an excellent job of being able to accommodate his skill set and make their offense mold to what he does best.”


One other point of emphasis for McVay? Special teams. New England scored a pair of special teams touchdowns Sunday against the Chargers and the Rams’ coach wants to avoid a repeat performance.

The kicking game and the way that they create edges and advantages for them has been something that I’ve always noticed from afar,” McVay said. “And then, especially when you look at the game [Sunday], that was a true winning edge that really turned the tables and in a lot of instances was a reflection of why the score was so lopsided. So, it’s definitely something that guys have to really be aware of.

“And if we don’t, they’ll make you pay, just like they did [Sunday].”

Bill Belichick celebrates near the end of Super Bowl LIII.Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

McVay noted Monday he and Belichick have developed a friendship over the years, one that McVay says is “cool” for several reasons, including the fact that Belichick has been willing to share coaching philosophies.

“Our initial relationship [began] because of the respect he had for my grandfather,” McVay said, referring to former Giants coach John McVay.

“He’s a class act. He’s been nothing but great to me. I’m very appreciative of that. I have tremendous respect for everything that he’s accomplished,” the Rams’ coach added. “But you know, this week we’re looking forward to seeing if we can compete and put together a good performance that is indicative of two good teams going at it Thursday night.”


Christopher Price can be reached at christopher.price@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.