It wasn’t pretty, but neither Bill Belichick nor Tom Brady will care.
The New England Patriots sealed a sixth Super Bowl title with an attritional 13-6 win over a strangely subdued Los Angeles Rams.
Brady threw for 262 yards and sealed the game thanks to a two-yard touchdown from Sony Michel, while an overawed Jared Goff was a shadow of the player who lit up the regular season. He passed for 173 yards, was sacked four times and was intercepted as the Rams struggled to do little more than but punt.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick claimed their sixth Super Bowl title together as the New England Patriots beat the LA Rams
Brady was lost for words as he was mobbed by the international media on the pitch immediately after the game had finished
Brady finally got his hands on the Vince Lombardi Trophy alongside daughter Vivian Lake who joined him in the ceremony
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is doused with Gatorade by his players after his team had seen off the LA Rams in Atlanta
Patriots middle linebacker Kyle Van Noy (53) lays in the confetti as he celebrated winning at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium
The game’s first and only touchdown came in the fourth quarter as Sony Michel dived over to give the Patriots a 10-3 lead
Michel (26) could not be stopped as he rushed for a 2-yard touchdown for the Patriots in the fourth quarter against the Rams
Michel was mobbed by his Patriots team-mates as he stood up after scoring as they edged closer to another Super Bowl title
Rams boss Sean McVay cut a frustrated figure on the sideline after seeing his first Super Bowl as head coach end in defeat
The large screen inside the stadium declares the Patriots champions as they celebrate as a team on the field of play
On the plus side, Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman was superb. Always moving, constantly getting separation, his 141 receiving yards continued his astonishing run in the postseason.
It was Edelman’s sixth 100-yard game and the quarterback-receiver combo extended their record to 1,412 yards and 115 receptions in the playoffs. No duo comes close.
Defenses dominated – the Rams were limited to 291 yards of total offense and Brady threw for his third-lowest total in his nine Super Bowls.
Astonishingly, it was the Patriots’ biggest win in a Super Bowl and the victory brings them level with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Todd Gurley did his best impression of the Invisible Man, following his career-low game in the NFC Championship game with 34 yards from 10 carries.
The New England Patriots run out at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and are greeted by fire cannons and a raucous atmosphere
KhaDarel Hodge (11) of the Los Angeles Rams and a number of his team-mates kneel in the end-zone before the game started
Gladys Knight, a seven-time Grammy Award-winner performs the national anthem before the match in Atlanta
The USA flag is displayed on the field as the USA Force Thunderbirds fly over the stadium prior the start of the Super Bowl LIII
Stan Kroenke, owner of the Los Angeles Rams and Arsenal, made his way out of the tunnel and onto the pitch before kick-off
The Rams won the toss and handed possession to their opponents first, giving Tom Brady his first chance to shine
Last year, when the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Patriots in a classic shootout, offensive records galore fell by the wayside.
Most points, both team combined for the most first downs (42), while the Patriots produced 613 yards, the most total yards in a game. There was also a record low for punts, with just one.
That was not the case here as Atlanta played host to the ultimate game for special teams enthusiasts. It went: Interception, punt, missed field goal, punt, punt, punt, field goal, punt, punt, punt, downs, punt, end of half.
Following the warblings of Maroon 5, it continued: Punt, punt, punt, punt, field goal, punt, punt, touchdown, interception, field goal, missed field goal, end of game.
It was an odd, often tense spectacle and by half-time, the Patriots were dominating everything but the scoreboard.
Cory Littleton #58 of the Los Angeles Rams intercepts the ball as the Patriots made their first drive up field of the game
New England Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski (3) misses a field goal as the score remained level at 0-0 during the early stages
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (26) is tackled by Los Angeles Rams strong safety John Johnson (43)
Brady cuts a frustrated figure as he walks off the pitch having failed to have any impact on the scoreline in the first quarter
Gostkowski made amends for his earlier miss by scoring the first points of the game with a field goal in the second quarter
Gostkowski (3) celebrates with defensive tackle Lawrence Guy (93) after kicking a 42-yard field goal to take the lead
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick issues some instructions to his staff and players through his headset during the game
But despite all that, the Patriots only led by three points, Gostkowski making amends for his miss from 45 yards with a 42-yarder in the second quarter. Defenses were on top.
At the Denver Broncos, Wade Phillips plotted the Patriots’ downfall in the AFC Championship three years ago, and inflicted Brady’s first sack this postseason. But there were glimmers of hope for New England, with Edelman and Gronkowski making decent gains. But while the Rams bent, they did not break.
It wasn’t the lowest scoring Super Bowl at half-time, but it was close.
Super Bowl IX holds that accolade, when the Pittsburgh Steelers went in 2-0 up against the Minnesota Vikings at half-time. They would win 16-6 for their first of six titles, which the Patriots echoed here.
It was more of the same after the half. The lesser spotted Gurley made an appearance, almost trebling his first-half output with a 19 yard gain.
Jason McCourty (30) of the New England Patriots defends a pass against Josh Reynolds (83) as the Rams try to respond
LA Rams head coach Sean McVay patrols the sideline as he looks to orchestrate a way back into the match for his team
Brady hands the ball of to James White as the Patriots took a three-point lead into the half-time break in Atlanta
Maroon 5 were the headline act during the half-time show as Adam Levine performed a number of the band’s hit songs
Fire cannons blast flames into the air around the star as hundreds of fans were allowed onto the pitch to witness the show
An aerial view of the pitch as the band’s gigantic ‘M’ fills a large part of the pitch during the colourful half-time show
Fireworks explode inside the closed stadium as players refueled inside the dressing rooms before the second-half started
On the next possession he carried for and crunched into Patriots safety Patrick Chung, who suffered a suspected fractured arm.
More possessions, more points. Last year, offensive records galore were shattered. This time the LA Rams became the first team in NFL history to punt on eight consecutive possessions.
At one point, Johnny Hekker had as many touches as Gurley. Just as Goff looked to be finding his mojo – the quarterback moved the Rams into Patriots territory after a 19-yard gain from Woods – the Patriots took the wind out of his sails.
In scenes similar to those in Houston, Dont’a Hightower burst through the offensive line and sacked Goff for a loss of nine yards.
Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise (91) looks on as strong safety Patrick Chung (23) lays on the field injured after a collision
Rams quarterback Jared Goff attempts to evade the Patriots defence as he struggled to have any major impact in the contest
Patriots’ Julian Edelman runs away from a trio of Rams defenders as he continued to pose a threat throughout the game
Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein kicks a 53-yard field goal to level the score against the Patriots during the second half of action
The Rams cheerleaders perform during the third quarter after watching their team level the score in the Super Bowl
But, just as he did in the NFC Championship game, Greg Zuerlein held his nerve with a 53-yard kick to level at 3-3.
More punts took the tally to before the ball was back with Brady. Sensing their moment, the crowd began to chant.
It was simple, but effective. ‘Brady, Brady’. On it went. He rewarded them with a glorious pass to Gronkowski, the touch lifting the ball over Samson Ebukam.
Another completion, this time to Edelman and the Patriots looked like the Patriots. After finding Burkhead for a gain of seven it was Gronkowski’s turn again, the giant tight end for 29 yards, the biggest gain of the day.
Perched on the two-yard line, there was no stopping Michel, who trampled over.
Gostkowski converted the PAT and there was daylight between the teams. It felt like a chasm.
After a good passage of play from Brady, the quarterback handed the ball to Michel who ran up the middle and dived over
Patriots’ David Andrews (60) picks up quarterback Brady (12) after they had just moved into the lead in the closing stages
As the Rams attempted to mount a comeback, Stephon Gilmore (24) intercepted a pass intended for Brandin Cooks
Rams quarterback Goff (16) reacts after seeing his pass intercepted as the clock ran down on any potential comeback
Brady roars with delight after he claimed yet another Super Bowl title and cementing his legacy as one of the game’s greats
Brady celebrates with Super Bowl MVP Edelman after the two were pivotal in scoring the touchdown that won the game
Brady kisses wife Gisele Bundchen as his family joined him on the pitch for celebrations after securing the title
Confetti falls from the top of the stadium as the celebrations spilled over onto the pitch at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mysteriously energised, Goff took the Rams upfield but could only find Gilmore with a misplaced throw.
All the Patriots had to do was control the clock and Michel helped the cause with a 26-yard dart through the middle.
Burkhead continued the theme with another 26-yard run to put the Patriots on the Rams 33. Gostkowski split the posts to put the Patriots out of reach.
Zuerlein missed with a field goal to sum up the Rams evening, and the game, which will not be remembered long in the annals, goes down as the lowest-scoring Super Bowl, beating Super Bowl VII, when the Miami Dolphins beat the Washington Redskins 14-7.
But that won’t matter in Boston. They will celebrate this long and hard.