Tue, Feb 05, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Patriots win lowest-scoring Super Bowl

CLASSIC DRIVE:Tom Brady threw two perfect passes to Rob Gronkowski to set up rookie Sony Michel’s two-yard score — the only touchdown in the game

AP, ATLANTA, Georgia

Sony Michel of the New England Patriots, center, scores the winning touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

That super shoot-out everyone expected turned into a defensive standoff. The New England Patriots showed they can win that type of championship game, too.

So after Tom Brady on Sunday led one classic drive to win the Patriots their record-tying sixth Super Bowl, he perfectly summed up the 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

“Finally got a touchdown and the defense played the best game of the year,” Brady said.

In a season in which all sorts of offensive records were set, this Super Bowl rewrote the defensive record book.

“How about our defense? How about our defense?” he said. “They played unbelievable.”

So well that their leader, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, joked they had extra incentive.

“I’m tired of hearing about Brady,” he said with a laugh. “I won one today — we all got one. It feels good for us to get it all. Shout out to him getting his, but this is a team game and it feels good to win.”

However, the defense still needed vintage Brady for one drive.

He threw two perfect passes to Rob Gronkowski to set up rookie Sony Michel’s two-yard score — the only touchdown in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever.

That put New England up 10-3. A late field goal clinched it 13-3.

No Super Bowl had gone into the fourth quarter without a touchdown. This one did, tied 3-3 — even though these teams had combined to average more than 60 points a game.

When the Patriots needed a score, Brady, the oldest winning quarterback in a Super Bowl at 41, completed four straight passes, including a pair covering 47 yards to Gronkowski.

The second, on which the star tight end beat two defenders, ended at the Los Angeles two, the only time either team was inside the 20-yard line.

Michel ran off left tackle for his sixth post-season touchdown.

“He knows to trust in me and throw that ball, and I’m going to grab it,” Gronkowski said.

Julian Edelman, the outstanding receiver who missed last season with a knee injury, was the game’s Most Valuable Player with 10 receptions for 141 yards.

With 4 minutes, 17 seconds left, All-Pro Stephon Gilmore picked off an ill-advised pass by Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who seemed overwhelmed by the big stage all night, at the New England two.

Stephen Gostkowski made a 41-yard field goal with 1:12 remaining, completing a 72-yard march that took more than three minutes off the clock, and included 26-yard runs by Michel and Rex Burkhead.

It was a workmanlike conclusion for the Patriots (14-5), whose losses all came away from New England.

They beat the top two offenses in the Chiefs and Rams (15-4) in the post-season, and tied Pittsburgh for the most Super Bowl titles.

“We’re a relentless team,” Hightower said after New England allowed the fewest points in a Super Bowl (tied with Dallas in 1972 against Miami). “We didn’t give up. A lot was thrown at us. When we play like we did tonight, we can’t be beat.”

The Rams, who reached the championship game with the aid of a major officiating error in the conference title victory at New Orleans, never really threatened to reach the end zone.

“Last time I checked, defense wins championships,” Rams running back C.J. Anderson said.

At 66, Bill Belichick became the oldest winning Super Bowl coach.

The Patriots beat the Rams, then representing St Louis, to begin their dynastic run in the 2002 game. They have also beaten Carolina and Philadelphia (2004 and 2005, the last back-to-back championships); the Seahawks in 2015; and the Falcons in 2017 in the only overtime in Super Bowl history.

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