Super Bowl LIII

Patriots’ defense smothers LA as New England captures another Super Bowl

(Adam Richins/Boston Sports Journal)

ATLANTA — For years, the Patriots have been carried by the likes of Tom Brady, but in Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII, New England’s defense had its day.

Brian Flores’ swan song as de facto defensive coordinator was his masterpiece, as the Patriots held the high-octane Rams to three points and just 205 yards on the way to a 13-3 win Sunday, securing the sixth Super Bowl in franchise history.

Brady finished 21-for-35 for 262 yards with one interception. Julian Edelman was immense on the night with 10 catches for 141 yards to take home the MVP. Sony Michel added 18 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown.

But it was the defense that dominated. Dont’a Hightower had two sacks and Jonathan Jones and Kyle Van Noy had one each. Meanwhile, Stephon Gilmore came away with the key turnover, a pick of Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff (19-for-38, 229 yards, one interception) late in the fourth quarter to help secure the win.

With the victory, the Patriots tie the Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins with six. Brady also becomes the all-time leader when it comes to Super Bowl rings with six. Bill Belichick ties George Halas and Curly Lambeau as coaches with the most NFL titles (six).

It was a slow start for both teams. The Patriots moved the ball early, but their problem was they were unable to punch it in. Stephen Gostkowski missed an early field goal attempt, but answered with a 42-yarder early in the second to get New England on the board.

The Patriots’ defense was more than up to the challenge, as the Rams were unable to get any sort of offensive traction in the early going. The zero L.A. posted at halftime represented the first time Los Angeles had been shut out in one half since their Dec. 9 loss to the Bears, a 15-6 defeat for the Rams.

Los Angeles finally broke through with a 10-play drive that ended with a 53-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein to tie things up with 2:11 remaining in the third quarter.

But the Patriots went ahead for good midway through the fourth as Michel finished off a five-play drive with a two-yard plunge to make it 10-3 with seven minutes remaining in regulation. The Rams answered with an impressive drive of their own, but an all-out blitz on Goff caused a bad throw from the youngster who lofted it toward the end zone, only to see Gilmore come away with the ball with 4:17 left.

Gostkowski added a 41-yarder with 1:12 left in regulation to finish the scoring.