For the third time in the last five years, the New England Patriots are once again on top of the football world following a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53.
The Patriots picked up their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night, also marking the 17 year anniversary of the team’s first Super Bowl win over the then-St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl 36.
Julian Edelman was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, becoming just the seventh wide receiver in Super Bowl history to earn MVP honors.
In his last contest before being introduced as the next head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores did a tremendous job of conducting his unit to a marvelous performance, as the Rams’ rampant offense was limited to just three points on 260 total yards.
Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff, in his first career Super Bowl start, finished the night 19/38 passing with 229 yards in the air and one interception.
All-Pro running back Todd Gurley, perhaps injured, was limited to 35 yards on the ground on 10 carries while former Patriots pass catcher Brandin Cooks led all Rams receivers with 120 receiving yards on eight receptions.
The Rams did not reach the red zone once and held the ball for 26:50 of the 60 minutes played in Atlanta on Sunday.
Two defensive plays for the Patriots that stick out come from the secondary, with the first coming from safety Jason McCourty.
With the clock running and the Rams driving, Jared Goff appeared to have a wide open Brandin Cooks for an easy touchdown on a broken down coverage that would have seen Los Angeles take their first lead of the night. (Picture via @ftbeard_17)
Instead, McCourty sprinted approximately 18.9 MPH to reach Cooks and break up what could have been a crucial score.
The Rams would have to settle for a Greg Zuerlein field goal on that drive which would pull Los Angeles even with New England at three points a piece.
The second play I previously mentioned came late in the fourth quarter.
With just a little under four and a half minutes remaining in the period, the Rams were driving once again, looking to make it a one possession game following a Patriots touchdown.
On second and 10, Goff was searching for Cooks once more but could not put together an adequate throw, which resulted in a game-sealing interception from Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
A bad throw, yes, but credit to Gilmore for coming through with the pick and not giving the Rams any more chances.
Los Angeles would get the ball back following a Patriots field goal, but could not capitalize on a Zuerlein field goal attempt that would have cut their deficit to seven.
New England would finish the night with a Tom Brady kneel down and that was that.
On the other side of things, the Patriots offense was powered by the ground game.
Rookie running back and University of Georgia alum Sony Michel led the way for New England, finishing his first Super Bowl with 94 yards on 18 carries to go along with the game’s lone touchdown, a clutch go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter at that.
Tom Brady went 21/35 with 262 yards and one interception through the air. Sunday marked the first time in nine tries that the future Hall of Famer finished a Super Bowl with no touchdown passes.
Still, Brady came through when it matters, consistently feeding Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski for sizable chunks of yards.
Gronkowski, playing in his fourth Super Bowl, caught six passes for 87 yards, including this 29 yard reception to set up that Michel TD.
Julian Edelman led all receivers with 10 catches and 141 receiving yards, consistently coming through on third down plays when it was needed most. That’s why he was named the game’s MVP.
And that’s that. I can understand how this game did not get a great reception on a national stage, but it was hard not to find this one exciting.
The lowest scoring Super Bowl ever, in a game where both teams were projected to have their way with the opposing defenses.
I failed to mention this earlier, but Dont’a Hightower was great as well with two sacks on the night.
The New England Patriots are champions of the NFL yet again. It does not get old. Bill Belichick is a genius.