Media playback is not supported on this device Super Bowl 53: Stunning Rob Gronkowski catch sets up New England Patriots’ touchdown The New England Patriots produced a defensive masterclass to beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 and equal Pittsburgh Steelers’ record of six Super Bowl titles.The victory also gave Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a sixth…
The New England Patriots produced a defensive masterclass to beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 and equal Pittsburgh Steelers’ record of six Super Bowl titles.
The victory also gave Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a sixth Super Bowl ring – an outright record for an individual player, eclipsing the mark he shared with Charles Haley.
Bill Belichick – the most successful coach in Super Bowl history and now, at 66, the oldest man to win it – again came up with the perfect gameplan in Atlanta as the Patriots stifled one of the most explosive offences in the NFL.
That was a major factor in it being the lowest-scoring Super Bowl of all time, with the 16 total points scored comfortably below the previous record of 21 set in 1973.
The score was just 3-0 until late in the third quarter through Stephen Gostkowski’s 42-yard field goal from the first possession of the second quarter.
The Patriots’ defence piled the pressure on 24-year-old quarterback Jared Goff and the Rams had to punt from their first eight possessions. Sean McVay’s side finally got their offence moving in the third and drew level through a 53-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein.
But Brady lofted a perfect 34-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski to set up Sony Michel to burrow over the line for the game’s only touchdown with seven minutes left. Gostkowski added gloss with a late field goal as the Patriots ground out a hard-fought win.
“It was an unbelievable year, we fought through it more than anything,” said 41-year-old Brady. “They [the Rams] played so well, their defence was great, they made it tough on every play.
“We finally got a touchdown and our defence had a game of the year. We have been this far and lost and it’s really tough. I wish we had played better on offence but we won, I can’t believe it.”
Before the game the American National Anthem was performed by legendary soul singer Gladys Knight, while the traditional half-time show duties fell to Maroon 5, whose set alongside Travis Scott and Big Boi met with only a lukewarm reception.
Brady again recovers from slow start
Brady was struggling as much as Goff in the early stages as the Rams produced a series of defensive plays that clearly fazed the veteran.
For the first time all season, Brady threw an interception on the Patriots’ opening drive and he was forced to call two timeouts to help him adjust to the Rams’ gameplan.
Brady has made a habit of recovering from a slow starts in Super Bowls – in the nine he and Belichick have reached together, the Pats have scored just three first-quarter points – and once he made the required adjustments, the improvements came.
And after Brady picked out a 25-yard pass to Julian Edelman, later named the game’s most valuable player, Gostkowski’s field goal from 42 yards opened the scoring.
Indeed, if it was not for the safe hands of Edelman there would barely have been any offence to speak of in the first half, with Brady repeatedly hitting his go-to guy as the wide receiver moved into second place on the all-time list of post-season NFL receiving yards.
And although the Rams finally got a foothold in the game thanks to Zuerlein’s field goal, Brady took control when it mattered most, orchestrating the game-winning drive midway through the final quarter.
He found Edelman once and Gronkowski twice – the reliable pair en route to combining for 228 of New England’s 262 receiving yards – before rookie running back Michel punched in his sixth touchdown of the post-season.
Super Bowl MVP – Julian Edelman (Patriots)
More to follow.