ATLANTA, United States, Feb 4 – Tom Brady wrote his name into the record books here Sunday, winning the Super Bowl for a sixth time as the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in the lowest scoring NFL championship game in history.
Brady, 41, became the first player ever to win six Super Bowls, 17 years after leading the Patriots to his first title way back in 2002.
The total of 16 points scored in the game was the lowest ever in a Super Bowl, surpassing Miami’s 14-7 win over Washington in 1973. The attritional season-finale was swiftly dubbed the “SuperBore” by critics on social media.
“We’ve been this far and lost which is really tough,” a jubilant Brady said.
“We had a lot of resolve the last couple of weeks I wish we played a little better on offense but we won. Super bowl champs.”
Brady also re-stated his desire to play at least another season.
“How could this not motivate you? It’s what it’s all about,” he said.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick meanwhile said the team had been determined to dispel suggestions they were a dynasty in decline.
“It’s sweet,” Belichick said. “Everybody counted us out from the beginning of the season, mid-season, but we’re still here.”
Brady – already widely regarded as the greatest quarterback the National Football League has ever seen — provided the decisive moment to break open the game midway through the fourth quarter at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
With the score finely balanced at 3-3, Brady picked out tight end Rob Gronkowski for a 29-yard completion that left the Patriots just two yards from the line.
It was the first time in the game that either side had advanced to 1st and goal in a defense-dominated game that failed to live up to its billing.
The Patriots were in no mood to waste the hard-fought opportunity, and rookie running back Sony Michel crashed over for what turned out to be the crucial score.
The Rams looked to have finally found some fluency as they chased a touchdown to level, but quarterback Jared Goff was picked off by corner Stephon Gilmore to leave the Patriots in sight of victory.
The Patriots marched up field on the subsequent possession and Stephen Gostkowski’s second field goal with 1min 16sec remaining made it a two-score game.
The Patriots’ triumph saw them join the Pittsburgh Steelers with six Super Bowl titles, the most by any franchise.
Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was named Super Bowl MVP for a series of crucial receptions that kept the Patriots on the front foot at critical moments.
– Missed chances –
The Rams meanwhile were left reflecting on what might have been, with receiver Brandin Cooks twice having what looked like certain touchdowns denied by last-ditch defensive plays from New England in the second half.
It was a bitter end to the season for Rams coach Sean McVay, who at 33 would have been the youngest winner of the Super Bowl.
Instead McVay was outfoxed by Patriots counterpart Belichick, whose defensive gameplan choked the life out of the Rams, the second most potent offense in the NFL this season who had averaged more than 30 points a game.
Belichick, 66, becomes the oldest head coach to win the Super Bowl.
An attritional first half had seen defense dominate, with the Rams — the second most potent offense in the league this season — restricted to a meagre 57 yards.
The Patriots meanwhile looked the more composed with their run game making good yardage early on.
Although Brady suffered the indignity of throwing an interception with his first pass attempt, the Rams were unable to escape the Patriots defense.
Gostkowski missed an early field goal attempt from 46 yards but the Patriots finally got on the board early in the second quarter through the veteran kicker’s 42-yard effort.
The Rams meanwhile mysteriously left star running back Todd Gurley on the sidelines for long periods, with doubts swirling about his fitness.
There was little improvement in the opening exchanges of the second half. Goff almost gave up a pick with his first attempt, but Dont’a Hightower was unable to haul the ball in.
Gurley raised Rams hopes with a 16-yard run but the drive fizzled once more.
Cooks was denied a certain touchdown after hauling in the ball in the end zone only for Jason McCourty to bat the ball out of his control.
Goff suffered a sack on third down to leave Greg Zuerlein with a 53-yard effort but the Rams kicker stroked it over to level at 3-3 with just over two minutes remaining in the third.
But that was as good as it got for the Rams, who also saw Cooks denied a game-tying touchdown after he fumbled near the end zone.