NFL: Patriots produce defensive masterclass to beat Rams 13-3
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 game plan in Atlanta as the Patriots stifled a Rams offence that averaged 32.9 points per game in the regular season.
The defensive strength of both sides resulted in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl of all time, with the 16 total points scored comfortably below the previous record of 21, set as Miami defeated Washington 14-7 in 1973.
The score was just 3-0 until late in the third quarter through Stephen Gostkowski’s 42-yard field goal.
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.”
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. (BBC Sport)