Patriots Shut Down High-Powered Rams to Win #6

Abrahim Karzai, Staff Writer

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It was not pretty, but there’s no such thing as style points in the NFL.

Super Bowl 53 was a clash of polar opposites: the 66 year old head coach and 41 year old quarterback against the 33 year old head coach and his 24 year old quarterback. One pair was playing in the big game for the 9th time, while the other was playing on the big stage for the first time ever. It’s the greatest dynasty in the history of the game versus the hip new kids on the block. Two eras clashing for the right to raise the Vince Lombardi trophy.

With two top five scoring offenses battling, no one expected this game to be the  low-scoring affair it was, but the two defenses refused to budge throughout the game, especially the first half. The Patriots started the game off with a good drive, marching downfield with four straight runs to the LA 34 yard line. The fifth play was the game’s first pass, an out by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and it did not turn out well for New England. The pass was picked off by Rams linebacker Cory Littleton, who caught the ball off a deflection by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. Robey-Coleman, who helped the Rams steal the NFC Championship from New Orleans on a missed pass interference call, referred to Brady earlier in the week as “Not the same quarterback he was.” On this play, it seemed as though Robey-Coleman was right, as Brady was fooled by the defense and forced the ball into coverage. It would, however, be Brady and the Patriot offense’s only turnover on the day.

The Rams offense could not get much going off the pick, which turned out to be the norm throughout the entire game. Following a quick three and out, the Patriots marched 60 yards down the field, finding their way into Rams territory again. When it looked like New England was going to be the first to put numbers on the scoreboard, kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 42 yard field goal.

With the offenses sputtering,the two defenses refused to give up anything, and  the first quarter was a scoreless affair. Early in the second, Gostkowski would get a second chance and he delivered to put the Patriots up 3-0. Keeping a 3 point lead is not a good way to win a Super Bowl, but the Patriot  defense stifled the Rams offense with three straight punts to close out the first half.

Along came the second half and… more of the same. The 3rd quarter featured four straight punts, until the Rams finally got something rolling. In the third, the Rams put together a tenplay, 42 yard drive that was capped off by the leg of Greg Zuerlein, who booted a 57 yarder in overtime 2 weeks prior, to bring LA into this game at 3-3.

Just as everyone predicted, the game was tight. Though most did not see it being tied at 3-3 to start the fourth quarter. After the Patriots kept up more of the same on offense, a fifth punt by Ryan Allen pinned the Rams at their own 7 yard line. With the tough field position, the Rams went on a 9 play drive that took almost five minutes off the board. The result? They could not even reach midfield.

That is when Brady and Co. came back onto the field and did what they do. Fourth  quarter. Tied up. Time to roll. A quick throw to tight end Rob Gronkowski for 18 yards placed the Pats near midfield. Brady followed with a 13 yarder to eventual game MVP Julian Edelman, his 10th catch of the game for a grand total of 141 yards. After a quick 7 yard dump off to running back Rex Burkhead, Brady found Gronk for 29 yards to the Rams’ one yard line. It would be the longest play of the night.

Then it happened. EUREKA! A team reached the redzone! The play inside the 20 for either team was Patriot rookie running back Sony Michel powering his way into the end zone to give the Patriots a 7 point lead with 7 minutes left.

Along came the Patriots defense, and they refused to nudge. The Rams drove down to the New England 27 yard line and looked like they may tie the game. However, Ram quarterback  Jared Goff lofted a pass to former Patriot wideout Brandin Cooks and, just when it looked like the Rams were finally going to reach the end zone, Cooks could not hold onto the ball. On the next play, Patriots defensive coach, and the future head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Brian Flores, brought the house on young Goff. Facing immense pressure in his face, Goff  lobbed a pass in the direction of the goaline, but it was cornerback Stephon Gilmore waiting for the biggest interception of his career.

The Patriot offense refused to let this opportunity to seal the game get away from them and after 9 straight runs that took over 3 minutes off the clock,  Gostkowski iced the game with a 42 yarder that flirted with the upright just a tad too close for comfort for New Englanders. As the final minute ticked down, the Patriots held on to win, 13-3,the lowest scoring Super Bowl in history.  

Craziness defined the Patriots season. From shaky loses to the Jaguars, Lions, Titans, and Steelers, to a last second defeat at the hands of the Miami Miracle, the Patriots had some moments that rocked their world. They had to travel to Kansas City for the AFC title game this year as the number 2 seed. However, none of that mattered on this night when Patriot-colored confetti cascaded from the sky.  

This win adds to the legendary run of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.  Their 6th Super Bowl win ties the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most in league history.

It’s a run that may never be duplicated and the truth is, you don’t have to like them, but if any team ever deserves the public’s respect, it’s this one.

The kings of the football world, again.

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Patriots Shut Down High-Powered Rams to Win #6