Sony Michel’s second half touchdown was enough to guide the Patriots to victory after a defence-dominated first half left New England leading 3-0 at half-time. The Rams were unable to get any offence going and their defence was worn out by the relentlessness of the Patriots’ run game.
Brady eventually threw the ball after a couple of first downs. He got a quick pass off towards Chris Hogan. Nickell Robey-Coleman leapt with Hogan and tipped the pass. It was intercepted and Jared Goff took the field. Robey-Coleman had criticised Brady this week – he landed the first Super Bowl blow.
Goff’s first drive was a three and out, giving Brady a chance to return.
The Rams got the Patriots to third and nine deep inside their own territory. Julian Edelman came up clutch for Brady, squeaking across for a first down. Los Angeles had the Patriots in trouble again, but a personal foul from Dante Fowler pulled them up the field.
Brady got the Patriots down the field for a chance to score first. Stephen Gostkowski stepped up and hooked the 46-yard field goal wide.
Goff’s second drive was no more successful than his first. Ending in another punt, allowing Brady to return to the field with the scores still level.
The first quarter ended with the Patriots returning the ball to the Rams deep in their own territory after some brilliant defence from Los Angeles’ defensive line.
This was the fifth Super Bowl to go scoreless through the first 15 minutes.
Los Angeles began the second quarter on their own six-yard line. A couple of runs left them in trouble at third and seven. Goff dropped back to pass, his pass was deflected and the Rams were forced to punt again.
Goff’s failure gave Brady another chance. He quickly found Edelman for 25 yards, making their way into the Rams’ half. Some more sturdy Rams defence forced a fourth down.
Gostkowski was back on the field for a 43-yard field goal attempt. Clean as you like this time, though, as the Patriots’ kicker got it between the uprights.
The Rams’ fourth drive ended like their previous three: a punt. New England defended the run well, and Goff was easily panicked in the pocket.
Brady suffered under pressure again, going three and out. Goff had a chance to drive the ball up the field, starting at Los Angeles’ 43-yard line.
Goff did not take the chance. A play action on third and two saw the young quarterback dance out of the pocket, eventually being sacked by a rushing safety. Johnny Hekker returned to the field to punt.
Edelman was the star of the first half, receiving Brady’s first pass with over three minutes left in the second quarter for another first down. The Rams lost Edelman again just two plays later. Again, he got a first down.
A penalty gave Brady a first down with 90 seconds on the clock. More superb defence from the Rams forced a fourth and one after a catch from Cordarrelle Patterson.
New England went for it. Brady went to Gronkowski. He missed. Rams had the ball with just over a minute left in the half.
Goff was pressured immediately again, being sacked by Dont’a Hightower. Goff followed it with a long pass to get third and two but missed on a pass to Robert Woods to end the half.
Los Angeles punted six times in the first half and were shutout. It was the second-lowest scoring half in Super Bowl history.
Having deferred at the coin toss, the Rams received the ball to start the second half. Goff’s first play was very nearly picked off by Hightower. Todd Gurley was back on the field and found a gap in the Patriots defence to rush for a first down.
Patrick Chung was left in pain after a collision and received treatment for several minutes, leaving the field with his arm wrapped up.
When action resumed, the Patriots stopped the Rams on third again, as Stephon Gilmore swatted a long Goff pass, forcing another punt.
A couple of short runs followed for New England, before Edelman delivered again, getting crucial ground up the middle.
The Patriots made it to halfway before being halted by the Rams. An inch-perfect punt put Goff on his own five-yard line.
Two runs got a combined four yards, leaving Goff with a third and six. The second-year quarterback hesitated in the pocket again, quickly being pressured by Hightower. He could only throw it away, bringing Hekker back onto the field.
Hekker delivered a 65-yard punt, the longest in Super Bowl history. It was a highlight in a drab game.
The Patriots responded with a three and out of their own. The game reminded close, but the atmosphere was tedium rather than tension.
Rams got a bit of momentum after a couple of completions. Goff found Brandin Cooks on a comeback route, giving just their fifth first down of the game. Goff followed it with a pass to Woods, getting the Rams inside the 30-yard line.
A timeout followed for the Rams, and they run play action, with Goff gunning for the endzone. Jason McCourty made a monster play to deny the touchdown, leaving the Rams with a crucial third and seven. Hightower got straight through the protection to sack Goff.
The sack pushed the Rams deeper, leaving Greg Zuerlein with a 53-yard field goal. He nailed it to tie the game at 3-3.
The Patriots repeatedly ran the ball on the following drive, with Sony Michel finding gaps in a tiring Rams defence. The third quarter ended with the Patriots on third down inside the Rams half, making it the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever through three quarters, and the first to not have a touchdown after 45 minutes of play.
Brady failed to complete his first pass in the fourth quarter, handing possession back to the Rams.
Goff looked calmer after getting a field goal on his last drive, picking a perfect pass to Cooks for a third-down conversion. Gurley was in and out of the game, and primarily used as a receiver when he was on the field.
New England were not giving Goff an inch, creating a lot of pressure and covering all receivers. He ended up on fourth down again but was pulled out of a hole by a foolish hold from Gilmore that gave the Rams a first down.
As so often seems to be the way, Goff followed the penalty with a quick pass to Cooks for another first down. The drive went nowhere, though, and Hekker was back on the field for his ninth punt of the evening.
Brady started the next drive with a quick pass to Gronkowski for 18 yards. It was Edelman’s turn next on his 10th reception for another first down. Chants of ‘Brady’ belted around the stadium.
An inch-perfect pass to Gronkowski followed, putting the Patriots on the two-yard line. Michel dived straight through for the game’s first touchdown. Gostkowski kicked the PAT to make it 10-3.
Goff got a great catch from Cooks to start the drive on a screen. Pressure came from the Patriots again, rushing Goff to throw it away on second and nine. A crucial third-down conversion pulled the Rams into the Patriots half, then a Woods reception put them inside the 30.
Cooks had a chance of a touchdown. Gilmore made a big play again, forcing the wide receiver to drop it.
His next play was the biggest of the game, intercepting on the three-yard line as Goff went for Cooks again.
The Patriots started near their own goal-line, but quickly escaped the pressure as Michel rushed out to the 30-yard line. With the clock ticking down, the Patriots repeatedly ran the ball, forcing Los Angeles to use their final timeouts. Rex Burkhead ran all the way to the Rams’ 33, breaking tackles along the way.
The Rams got the Patriots to fourth down and inches. Belichick and Brady considered going for it but opted to let Gostkowski kick it for a 10-point lead. He did not disappoint.
Sean McVay’s team had the ball with a little more than a minute left and two scores required. It was extremely improbable, bordering on impossible. Goff completed a few passes, which improved his numbers after a difficult night, setting up a 48-yard field goal for Zuerlein. In keeping with Los Angeles’ performance, he hooked it well wide of the uprights.
Belichick became the oldest Super Bowl winning coach. New England won their sixth Super Bowl, tying them with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most ever.