Five things we learned from Super Bowl LIII

The New England Patriots hammered home their advantage in the fourth quarter to seal a record-equalling sixth Super Bowl title with a 13-3 win against the Los Angeles Rams.

Here, we take a look at five things we learned from the encounter in Atlanta.

Attack isn’t always the best form of defence

While there is no doubting the offensive capabilities of Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski et al, American football is a game of two halves and the defence more than played their part for the Pats.

They forced the Rams to punt on their opening eight drives and only gave up 57 yards in the first half. When Rams quarterback Jared Goff went long for Brandin Cooks, Jason McCourty staged a magnificent end zone save as Los Angeles had to settle for three.

It’s hard to win if you don’t move the ball

Playing the Patriots is a daunting task. Playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl more so. But Jared Goff failed to find the spark which lit up the Rams’ season, completing 19 of 38 for 229 yards.

Nearly half of Los Angeles’ 60 plays went for zero or negative yards, including four sacks against Goff. Getting picked off on their deepest drive drew the game to a close as a contest.

Little things make all the difference

Compared to his teammates, Julian Edelman is relatively diminutive at 1.78m. But the impact he made at Super Bowl LIII made number 11 a worthy MVP.

His 141 yards on 10 receptions were more than half the Patriots’ total and make you wonder whether we would be talking about the seventh title had he not missed the 2017 season through injury.

The Rams struggled without Kupp

One glimmer of hope for the Rams is that they made it this far without wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who tore his ACL during the regular season.

Kupp set a Rams rookie record last season with 869 yards an five touchdowns and had already scored six in eight games this season, having developed a good partnership with Goff. Take the Rams side, add Kupp and an on-form Todd Gurley and they would be a force to be reckoned with.

Never count the Patriots out

When New England fell to 1-2 in the regular season with a 26-10 loss to the Detroit Lions, it was the first time that the side had lost back-to-back games by double digits since 2002 and pundits were already wondering whether the dynasty was over.

At 41 and 66 respectively, quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick knew they could not go on forever, but the Pats ground out the wins to take their 10th AFC East title on the spin and kept the momentum up through the playoffs.

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