Super Bowl 2019 Highlights: Examining Pivotal Moments from Patriots vs. RamsFebruary 4, 2019
No one will be able to say that Super Bowl LIII was the offensive showdown we expected it to be.
The New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams led their respective conferences in points during the postseason, with 39 and 28 per game, respectively.
But you wouldn't have known it from watching the action on Sunday, which saw the two teams last until late in the third quarter with a score of 3-0, New England. After that, the Rams evened things up 3-3 with a field goal of their own.
Super Bowl LIII was all about finding clutch players in unexpected places. By far the MVP of the game for the Rams was punter Johnny Hekker, who set a new record for longest-ever punt in the Super Bowl and generally kept them alive even when the offense left a lot to be desired.
When all was said and done, it was the first Super Bowl ever without a touchdown on the board going into the fourth quarter, and the six total points between the two teams were the fewest through three quarters in Super Bowl history, per ESPN Stats & Info.
As the score suggested, there were some defensive standouts on both teams. For the Patriots, Dont'a Hightower netted two sacks on Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
Ultimately, the Patriots triumphed 13-3. Here's a look back at the big plays of the night, which were, admittedly, few and far between.
Super Bowl LIII Highlights
The Rams defense got things off to a hot start in the best way possible, when Nickell Robey-Coleman tipped Tom Brady's very first pass of the game into Cory Littleton's hands.
Robey-Coleman had been talking a big game leading up to the Super Bowl, so it was encouraging to see him put some walk behind his talk.
The Patriots had an opportunity to get on the board near the end of the first quarter, when kicker Stephen Gostkowski attempted a 46-yard field goal. But unfortunately for both the Patriots and for anyone who bet the over on the total points scored tonight, Gostkowski shockingly missed the kick.
As ESPN's Mike Sando pointed out, Gostkowski has rarely missed attempts from that distance in his career. What's more, no kicker had missed at Mercedes-Benz Stadium so far this season.
Patrick Chung left the game in the third quarter with his arm in an air cast. Even though the cart came out for him, he declined to get in and walked off the field. He was later ruled out.
Punting, sadly, was the main storyline throughout the game. Rams punter Hekker set a new record for longest punt in a Super Bowl in the third quarter, with a beautiful 65-yarder.
That's right; the play of the game was a punt.
The action finally started to pick up in the fourth quarter.
Ironically, it was a holding penalty by the Patriots, New England's first defensive penalty in the game, that really got things going. The Rams faced a 3rd-and-11 when Stephon Gilmore's hold gave them a fresh set of downs at their own 27-yard line.
Goff connected with Brandin Cooks for 16 yards, and Todd Gurley followed it up with a 13-yard run that was called back because of offensive holding. The Rams ultimately punted.
On the very next drive, Brady seemed to wake up, connecting with Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Gronkowski again for passes of 18, 13 and 29 yards, respectively. The latter Gronkowski catch set up Sony Michel's two-yard rushing touchdown, the first of the game.
The Rams woke up on the next drive, when Goff connected with Robert Woods for 17 yards to get to the New England 27. Goff went deep for Cooks in the end zone on the next play, and when it came up incomplete, he did the same on the following play.
Unfortunately, Gilmore was waiting and picked off the pass at the New England 4-yard line.
Things never got better for the Rams from there, and New England won its sixth Lombardi Trophy.