It may have been a super bore, but the New England Patriots are Super Bowl champions again.
Sony Michel scored the game's only touchdown and Julian Edelman caught 10 passes for 141 yards in the Patriots' 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
The victory gives the Patriots a record-tying six Super Bowl titles.
It was a defensive duel for much of the game, the lowest scoring Super Bowl in NFL history. The Patriots led 3-0 at the half. The Rams tied the game in the third quarter on Greg Zuerlein's 53-yard field goal, the second-longest field goal in Super Bowl history.
The Patriots broke through midway through the fourth quarter with a quick scoring drive. Quarterback Tom Brady connected with tight end Rob Gronkowski for an 18-yard gain, then found Julian Edelman to get into Rams' territory. Two plays later, Brady threw a 29-yard pass to Gronkowski. On the next play, Michel scored on a 2-yard run to give the Patriots a 10-3 lead.
The Rams responded by driving down the field to the Patriots' 27-yard-line. Quarterback Jared Goff nearly threw a touchdown to wide receiver Brandin Cooks, but the pass was broken up by Stephon Gilmore. The Rams tried an identical play, but Goff's pass was short and Gilmore intercepted the throw.
On the ensuing drive, the Patriots padded their lead. Stephen Gostkowski capped of a 72-yard drive with a 41-yard field goal to put the Patriots ahead 13-3.
The Rams attempted to kick a field goal, which would set up an onside kick attempt. But Zuerlein's field goal attempt missed wide to the left.
Edelman was named Super Bowl MVP. Gronkowski, in what could've been his final NFL game, caught six passes for 87 yards. Brady, who won his sixth ring, finished with 262 passing yards.
Here are the grades for Super Bowl LIII:
Patriots: Look, it wasn't pretty for either team. However, the Patriots did enough to win. They were in position to score four times (Gostkowski missed a field goal attempt earlier in the game) and had a more consistent offensive performance. Edelman and Gronkowski had great games. Michel's performance shouldn't be overlooked. He chipped in with 94 rushing yards and a touchdown in his Super Bowl debut. It wasn't Brady's best effort, but he did enough to win. That's all that matters. Grade: C
Rams: It will be difficult for Sean McVay and Jared Goff to forget this game. There was a lot of talk about McVay's genius and innovative offense heading into Super Bowl LIII. We didn't see any of that against the Patriots. The Rams' offense wasn't itself. We may never know the full story with Todd Gurley, but his limited action hurt the offense. He is the Rams' best weapon. At 100 percent, maybe they could win this game. But with Goff having a bad game and the Rams unable to sustain drives, it was a recipe for disaster. Grade: F
Patriots: Bill Belichick does it again. After the Eagles lit up the Patriots' defense for 41 points in Super Bowl LII in the second-highest scoring Super Bowl in NFL history, the Patriots' D rebounded by allowing three points in the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever. What's impressive about this performance is how terrible the Patriots' defense made the Rams look. The Rams were No. 2 in scoring offense during the regular season. The Patriots dominated the Rams. Gilmore's interception was among the key plays made by the New England secondary. Simply put, Belichick out-coached McVay. Grade: A
Rams: The touchdown drive aside, the Rams' defense contained Brady and the Patriots' attack. Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips deserves credit. He had a great game plan to limit the Patriots. It worked! The problem was they didn't get any help on the offensive side of the ball. The Rams' defense did give up a few big plays down the stretch, though. The Patriots were able to essentially ice the game after big runs into Rams' territory. That was the ballgame. Grade: A-
Patriots: Gostkowski kicked two field goals and Ryan Allen pinned the Rams inside the 20 three times. Matthew Slater, the Patriots' main special teams guy, was a force. For a while, it seemed the MVP would be a kicker or a punter. Sadly, that didn't happen. But the Patriots still put together a solid effort in the kicking game and covering kicks. Grade: B+
Rams: There's a good case to be made that Johnny Hekker was the best player on the field not named Julian Edelman. Hekker, the Rams' punter, punted nine times and averaged 46.3 yards per kick. He pinned the Patriots inside the 20 five times. His longest punt went for 65 yards, a Super Bowl record. His teammate in the kicking game, Zuerlein, had a 53-yarder which nearly set a Super Bowl record. (It's the second-longest field goal in Super Bowl history.) Zuerlein did miss a field goal late in the game. Grade: A-
Patriots: This was a game for a defensive mastermind like Bill Belichick. He rose to the occasion. He developed a game plan to stymie the Rams' potent offense. It worked. He's the greatest coach in NFL history for a reason. You could argue he was out-coached in Super Bowl LII. History wasn't going to repeat itself. He returned the favor to one of the NFL's bright offensive minds. It was a masterful job. Grade: A
Rams: Despite the great job by defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, the story of this game for the Rams is the offense's woes. Sean McVay won't forget this game. His offense was a mess. Jared Goff wasn't consistent. Todd Gurley was limited. McVay might get another crack at the Super Bowl down the road. The Rams have a lot of talent. But his first appearance was bad. If Belichick is a mastermind, McVay looked like an intern. Grade: F
Offensive player of the game: Rob Gronkowski. Edelman was the Super Bowl MVP because he was the most productive offensive player on the field. However, Gronkowski made two of the biggest plays in the game on the Patriots' lone touchdown drive. He caught the 18-yard pass to get momentum going on the drive's opening play. A few plays later, he caught a 29-yard pass to set up Michel's touchdown run. Gronkowski finished with six catches for 87 yards in what could be his final game. One of the NFL's greatest tight ends came up big when his team needed him most.
Defensive player of the game: Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore was phenomenal. Five tackles, three passes defensed and an interception. His back-to-back plays on deep throws to Brandin Cooks preserved the Patriots' lead. He is a true lock-down cornerback in this league.
BY THE NUMBERS
16. The total number of points scored in Super Bowl LIII. It's the lowest scoring Super Bowl in NFL history. Consider this: The Patriots hold the record for most points by a losing team in a Super Bowl (33 in last year's game) and the mark for fewest points by a winning Super Bowl team (13 in Sunday's game).
11. Todd Gurley's total touches in Super Bowl LIII. There is talk he was injured, but the Rams said Gurley would be a big part of the offense against the Patriots. He wasn't. Gurley averaged about 20 touches during the regular season. He fell short of that in the Super Bowl.
9. Rams punter Johnny Hekker punted the ball nine times in Super Bowl LIII. He averaged just shy of three punts per game in the regular season and only had more than four in a game once.
24. Julian Edelman's career receptions in four Super Bowl games. He had a 10-catch, 140-yard performance against the Rams to earn Super Bowl MVP honors. He's within striking distance of Jerry Rice's 33 career receptions in the Super Bowl, which is the record. If the Patriots get back to the Super Bowl again (likely), he will have a great opportunity to break that record.
6. Tom Brady adds to his record, winning a sixth Super Bowl ring. He stands alone as the greatest champion the NFL has seen.
The 2019 NFL Draft runs from April 25 through April 27. The 2019 NFL season, the league's 100th anniversary campaign, begins Sept. 5.