ATLANTA – For the sixth time in team history, the New England Patriots are Super Bowl Champions. The Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 10-3 in a defensive struggle in Super Bowl LIII.
New England dominated the game on both sides of the ball from beginning to end.
The Rams won the opening toss of the game and surprised some by deferring the decision to the second half. That gave Patriots quarterback Tom Brady the ball to start the game and he wasted no time pushing the Patriots down the field.
But, Brady did something he rarely has done in the last few seasons, threw an interception to end the drive. The ball was tipped by Nickell Robey-Coleman and picked off by his teammate, linebacker Cory Littleton, giving the Rams some momentum.
As a preview of what was to come during Super Bowl LIII, the Rams took the ball and went three and out to give the ball right back to the Patriots. The teams went back and forth in the rest of the first quarter ending it with no score.
Ending the first quarter without a touchdown was nothing new for the Patriots. In nine Super Bowls with Tom Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as head coach, the Patriots have never scored a first quarter touchdown.
The Rams could never muster much of a drive in the first two quarters, but the team’s defense held strong and sacked Brady for the first time in the postseason. At the end of the first quarter, the Rams had just 29 yards of offense to the Patriots’ 113 yards. The Patriots were completely dominating the Rams as the second quarter got underway.
The Patriots were able to get enough of a drive together to finally get into field goal range in the second quarter. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski came onto the field and nailed a 42-yard field goal to make the score 3-0.
And that’s how the game would stay through halftime as neither team could muster a sustained drive through halftime. The Rams were 0 for everything on third down in the first half and didn’t convert a third down until late in the third quarter.
Neither team was able to get much of anything going through most of the third quarter. It wasn’t until the Rams finally converted a third down with just over four minutes to go in the third quarter that either team was able to move the ball consistently.
The Rams finally got a little bit of offense and converted a couple of third downs and were able to drive deep into Patriots territory before giving up a sack that pushed them back to set up a 53-yard field goal. Greg Zuerlein had no issue with the 53-yard field goal and the score was finally tied up at 3 with just minutes to go until the fourth quarter.
The 3-3 score was the lowest score heading into the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl in NFL history.
Neither team could again get any offense going and traded punts to start the fourth quarter. The Rams got the ball on their own 7-yard line and began to methodically march up the field. The team was benefitted by a key third down penalty against the Patriots’ Stephon Gilmore for holding a receiver.
Still, a key holding penalty against the Rams pushed the team back and left them with a third and 22 which the Rams just gave up on and ran the ball to set up another punt. The Patriots then got down to business.
Brady immediately connected with Rob Gronkowski to get the drive started and then hit Julian Edelman with another pass to get deep into Rams territory. After a couple of plays, Brady then hit Grokowski to take the ball to the two-yard line. Brady lined up the Patriots and handed the ball off to former Georgia running back Sony Michel who ran through a huge hole the offensive line opened up to score the game’s first touchdown.
The Rams took the ensuing kickoff and began to move the ball against the Patriots. Rams quarterback Jared Goff was hitting receivers left and right until a receiver dropped a contested pass in the end zone. The Rams quarterback was then pressured on an ensuing play and threw a weak pass to the end zone that was easily picked off by Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
The Patriots took the ball back and methodically marched down the field behind the running of Michel and Rex Burkhead. The Rams took all their remaining timeouts and the Patriots continued to eat the clock. The Patriots got the ball down to third and 1 at the two-minute warning.
After another running play took the team down to fourth and inches, the Patriots trotted out Gostkowski again who was able to sneak a kick through the right upright to seal the game at 13-3.