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New England Wins its Sixth Title

Patriots outlast Rams 13-3 in defensive battle

Feb+3%2C+2019%3B+Atlanta%2C+GA%2C+USA%3B+New+England+Patriots+cornerback+Stephon+Gilmore+%2824%29+intercepts+a+pass+for+Los+Angeles+Rams+wide+receiver+Brandin+Cooks+%2812%29+during+the+fourth+quarter+in+Super+Bowl+LIII+at+Mercedes-Benz+Stadium.+Mandatory+Credit%3A+Dale+Zanine-USA+TODAY+Sports
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New England Wins its Sixth Title

Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) intercepts a pass for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks (12) during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) intercepts a pass for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks (12) during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) intercepts a pass for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks (12) during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) intercepts a pass for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks (12) during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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No one saw this coming. The matchup between two of the most high-powered offensive teams in the NFL that many expected to be a shootout with the teams scoring around 30 points each turned out to be the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever. The Patriots’ defense, which had been its biggest weakness all year long, turned out to have the greatest defensive performance in Super Bowl history.

The first quarter started with an interception of Tom Brady on his first pass attempt of the game. A lot of punts and a missed Stephen Gostkowski field goal later and the score remained 0-0 at the end of the first quarter. Gostkowski got the first points of the game on the board with a field goal for the Patriots, but the baffled Rams couldn’t manage to get much offense going at all. Kyle Van Noy, Dont’a Hightower, Stephon Gilmore, and the McCourty twins led the shutdown defense throughout the game with timely sacks, tackles and big plays.

After a halftime show that was disliked by many, the Rams finally got points on the board via a Greg Zuerlein field goal. In a game filled with punts (the Rams had 8 in a row at one point) one by Los Angeles set the record for longest punt at 65 yards.

The fourth quarter was by far the most eventful. After a huge defensive stop, New England regained possession again. From about the 40 yard line, Tom Brady unleashed a beauty of a pass which Gronk dove to catch at the two yard line. From there, Sony Michel ran in for a touchdown with 7:00 minutes left in the game, the latest first touchdown of a Super Bowl ever. The Rams answered by marching down the field in an attempt to tie the game, but their drive was halted by a Stephon Gilmore interception at the four yard line. With 1:43 remaining, Gostkowski drilled the game-clinching kick to make the score 13-3. The Rams tried driving down field one last time, but Zuerlein missed a field goal with five seconds left to end the lowest scoring Super Bowl.

Julian Edelman, who made 10 completions for 181 yards and moved into second place all time for receiving yards, rightfully won Super Bowl MVP. Tom Brady was the oldest quarterback to win a ring at age 41, and Belichick became the oldest head coach to win the big game. The Patriots matched the Pittsburgh Steelers as the only franchises to win six Super Bowls. The thing is that Pittsburgh won their six rings over a span of over 30 years. The Patriots have established and maintained their dominance over the past 18 years in an NFL built for parity in the age of free agency and the salary cap.

For those complaining about how “boring” the game was, it is important to realize that a game can be exciting and well played without being a high scoring game. The game was tied with a little over seven minutes in the half. What we witnessed was smart football. Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who will become head coach of the Miami Dolphins this upcoming season, made all the right moves to confuse and stifle one of football’s most efficient offensive attacks. The story heading to the game was the young genius Sean McVay’s revolutionary attack and how Belichick would counter. All year the Patriots used mostly man to man coverage. On Sunday night however, they increased their zone coverage. This forced Rams quarterback Jared Goff to spend more time choosing who to throw to, which in turn gave the defensive line more time to sack him. The result was 4 sacks. The increase in blitzes forced Goff to rush his throws, which caused errant misses like the Gilmore interception. The only way to beat the new game was with the old. The gritty, hard fighting defense stunned Los Angeles, and the brilliance of the Brady-Belichick dynasty and all of the ways they can beat a team was fully displayed in Super Bowl LIII.

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New England Wins its Sixth Title