(Rob Gronkowski making a big catch – @Patriots)
The New England Patriots outlasted the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3, in Super Bowl LIII, possibly the greatest defensive battle of all-time.
This is the Patriots’ sixth championship in 18 years, and their third title in the past five seasons. Head Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have been there for all of them, adding to their NFL record.
Patriots receiver Julian Edelman won the Most Valuable Player award, as he racked up 141 yards on 10 receptions.
Belichick and Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips added to their legacies as two of the greatest defensive minds in NFL history, as two powerful offenses were shut down all night.
It may not have been the most exciting to watch, especially compared to the last two Super Bowls, when New England came back to beat Atlanta two years ago and the Eagles outlasted the Pats in a 41-33 shootout last year, but this game should be appreciated for how these defenses performed.
The 16 combined points in this one is a new Super Bowl record, eclipsing the 21 combined points in Super Bowl VII, when the Miami Dolphins capped off their perfect season in 1972 with a 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins.
It is incredible to think that two of the most powerful offenses in the NFL were kept out of the end zone, didn’t even get a sniff of it, in the first three quarters.
The only touchdown of the night came with 7:00 left in the fourth quarter when New England marched down the field on a five-play, 69-yard drive capped by a Sony Michel two-yard run that made it 10-3 at the time.
The drive began at the New England 31-yard line with 9:43 remaining, and Brady opened it with an 18-yard pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski. That was followed by a 7-yard pass to Edelman, then a 7-yard pass to Rex Burkhead that put them at the Rams 29.
Brady then let one fly, and he found Gronkowski at the Los Angeles 2-yard line.
That pass brought New England inside the red zone for the first time, and the next play was the Michel TD run to make it 10-3.
When the Rams got the ball back, they started at their own 35, and after getting to the New England 27, their QB, Jared Goff, was picked off at the 4-yard line by Stephon Gilmore.
The Patriots got the ball back with 4:14 remaining, and they went on a 9-play, 72-yard drive that ended with Stephen Gostkowski connecting on a 41-yard field goal with 1:12 left that made it 13-3.
Brady finished with 262 yards on 12-35 passing, overcoming an interception on the opening drive, and showing the advantage of experience, as he was able to figure out the Rams defense in the fourth quarter and Goff never could make the adjustments to outsmart Belichick.
This one was possibly the sweetest for the Patriots, who have been open about how they have heard all the chatter that they’re finished, that their nearly two-decade-long dynasty is over.
When they had a send-off rally at Foxboro last weekend, Brady screamed to the crowd, “we’re still here!”
Seeing their performance in this one, there’s no reason not to think Belichick, Brady, Gronk, and Edelman won’t “still be here” next season.