The New England Patriots claimed the Lombardi Trophy for a record-tying sixth time, defeating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in a Super Bowl LIII slugfest Sunday in Atlanta.
A clash of generations at quarterback and head coach, this was billed as a battle between 41-year-old Tom Brady and 66-year-old Bill Belichick of New England and 24-year-old Jared Goff and 33-year-old Sean McVay of Los Angeles.
Instead it was the placekickers, punters and the defensive play-callers, Wade Phillips of the Rams and Brian Flores of the Patriots, who controlled much of the action - or lack thereof. It was the first Super Bowl without a touchdown by either team through three quarters, and the lowest-scoring Super Bowl (3-3) entering the fourth.
“It’s sweet,” Belichick said while accepting the Lombardi Trophy. “Everybody counted us out, from the beginning of the season to midseason, but we’re still here.”
Brady being Brady, he came through when it mattered and helped the Patriots match the Pittsburgh Steelers with six Super Bowl rings.
Taking over at their own 31 after the Rams’ ninth punt, the Patriots marched 69 yards in five plays to score the game’s only touchdown and take a 10-3 lead with 7:00 to play. Brady was 4-for-4 for 67 yards on the drive, including a 29-yarder to Rob Gronkowski to set up Sony Michel’s 2-yard touchdown run. It was the rookie’s sixth TD of the postseason.
The Rams roared right back, driving to the New England 27 in five plays. On the sixth play, Stephon Gilmore and Duron Harmon broke up a potential touchdown catch by Brandin Cooks. On the seventh play, Gilmore picked off an errant throw to Cooks with 4:17 left as Goff tried to avoid a Patriots blitz.
“To be honest, I couldn’t believe he threw it,” Gilmore told reporters afterward of the play.