It is the Patriots’ second Super Bowl title in three years and sixth title overall, all during the Brady-Belichick era. The Patriots are now tied with the Steelers for the most Super Bowl championships.
New England’s defense held the upper hand, carrying the Patriots to a 13-3 victory. It’s the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history, topping Super Bowl 7, when the Dolphins beat the Redskins 14-7. Patriots receiver Julian Edelman picked up the MVP award and Tom Brady ended up with OK stats (21-of-35 for 262 yards) but this night belonged to Dont’a Hightower, Stephon Gilmore and the rest of the Patriots defenders, who frustrated Rams quarterback Jared Goff, made Todd Gurley a non-factor, and made one big play after another. Here are three takeaways from the latest Patriots Super Bowl victory.
Stephon Gilmore comes down with the big INT of Jared Goff.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) February 4, 2019
Aaron Donald is the one who knocks pic.twitter.com/7lRrL0tK9M
— Barstool Sports (@barstooltweetss) February 4, 2019
Defenses ruled, and we shouldn’t be surprised
Neither team ran a play in the red zone until midway through the fourth quarter. The Rams punted eight straight times at one point. Given the defensive talent on both teams, maybe we should have seen this defensive battle coming.
The underrated Patriots defense pressured Goff all night and took running backs Gurley and C.J. Anderson out of the game. The pass rush sacked Goff four times, and the secondary was especially great in keeping receivers Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks under control. And when Goff did get the ball away, the Patriots defensive backs made plenty of big plays. Gilmore in particular made two consecutive game-saving plays with around 4 minutes remaining, first knocking away a potential touchdown pass to Cooks, and then picking off Goff.
The ‘Patriot Way’ still works, despite the drama
The Patriots are the greatest dynasty in U.S. sports history. Much has been said and written about the “Patriot Way,” the team-first, machine-like approach that Belichick brought to New England. The approach has now reaped six Super Bowl wins. It still works. This was supposed to be the season it showed cracks. Remember that report from January 2018, that claimed Brady, Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft were feuding behind the scenes over who deserved more credit for the Patriots’ success? And when the Patriots stumbled a bit during the season, naysayers used it as proof the dynasty was cooked.
Julian Edelman has 8 catches for 120 yards.
Robert Woods leads the Rams with 2 catches for 25 yards.pic.twitter.com/u2BYeDFIDf
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) February 4, 2019
That report and those thoughts seem ridiculous in retrospect. The Patriots are still fundamentally sound, execute plays, and minimize their mistakes. From a personnel standpoint, they exemplify the “team-first” approach. You don’t see Patriots stars holding out for big contracts, or causing scenes. The Patriots don’t go out and sign big deals to bring in superstars who often bring a prima-dona attitude with them.
Perhaps no one exemplifies the Patriot Way better than Edelman. The 32-year-old veteran won MVP honors for the game after compiling 10 catches for 141 yards. The Rams tried everything to stop Edelman, but he kept finding seams in the defense. And he racked up some big yards after the catch, as on this key play late in the game.