By Jamie Belfer || Layout Assistant
Super Bowl LIII was a game of the experienced versus the inexperienced. On Sunday, February 3, the New England Patriots battled the Las Angeles Rams at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Bill Belichick, the second oldest coach in the NFL (age 66), and his quarterback, Tom Brady, the oldest quarterback in the league (age 41) were ready to take on their ninth Super Bowl together. Meanwhile Sean McVay, the youngest head coach in the NFL (age 33), and his quarterback Jared Goff (age 24), among the youngest in the league, were hoping to share the feeling of winning their first Super Bowl.
Both the Patriots and the Rams fought hard on their way to the Super Bowl. In the first game of the postseason, the Patriots defeated the Chargers with ease in a 41-28 victory. However, in a close game, New England barely got past the Kansas City Chiefs as they defeated them in overtime. The Rams were able to defeat the Cowboys in their first postseason game 30-22.
However, they also went into overtime against the New Orleans Saints in order to clutch the NFC Championship and move on to the Super Bowl.
The first half of the Super Bowl was controlled by each team’s defense. The Rams won the coin toss and deferred in order to start with the ball in the second half. After a 38-yard return, the Patriots started their first drive on their 39-yard line. After four straight runs, Tom Brady threw his first pass of the game which was intercepted by Cory Littleton at the Ram’s 27-yard line.
The Rams did not take advantage of this opportunity as they went three and out on their first drive. In their following drive, the Patriots marched their way down the field and Stephen Gostkowski missed a 46-yard field goal. The first quarter ended with a score of 0-0 as neither team was able to get close to the red zone.
The Rams started the second quarter with another three and out. With two completions to Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski apiece, the Patriots were able to march to the Rams’ 24-yard line. Gostkowski was able to knock down a 42-yard field goal, putting New England up 3-0. Jared Goff tried to comeback with a score in the next drive. He threw a successful pass to Robert Woods for 18 yards. However, the Rams were ultimately stopped by the Patriots’ defense. The second half ended without another score from either team. The Rams only had two first downs in the entire half.
The second half was only slightly more eventful than the first. To start the third quarter the Rams had a short drive, only getting to their 46-yard line. Because the Patriots were able to stop the Rams’ main run threat, Todd Gurley, the Rams struggled to put the ball on the ground.
The Rams were able to put together their longest driving of 10 plays at the end of the third quarter. The Rams neared the red zone with a series of complete passes and runs. However, on a third down at the 26-yard line Patriots’ Dont’a Hightower sacked Goff, pushing the Rams back to the 35-yard line, forcing them to settle for a 53-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein. The third quarter ended with a score of 3-3.
With ten minutes left in the game, the Patriots put together a scoring drive. With a 29-yard pass to Gronkowski, the Patriots marched their way to the Rams’ 2-yard line. Sony Michel ran in for the touchdown, putting the Patriots up 10-3. On the following drive, the Rams were able to make it to New England’s 27-yard line. However, Stephon Gilmore intercepted Goff’s pass intended for Brandin Cooks. The Patriots drove down the field with the help of some big run gains by Michel and Rex Burkhead (over 25 yards each). The Patriots ended their drive with a 41-yard field goal, putting them up 13-3 with one minute left. The Rams were unable to score, making the New England Patriots Super Bowl LIII Champions.
Julian Edelman of the Patriots was named MVP. This was the second lowest-scoring Super Bowl in the history of the NFL. Teams are now preparing for next season. The NFL draft starts April 25.
First-Year Jamie Belfer is a Layout Assistant. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.