Missed this year’s Super Bowl? No worries! Junior Reporter Neel N. shares a detailed summary of what happened and why this year’s championship game was so special. Check out his report below!
Junior Reporter: A Summary of Super Bowl LIII
By Neel N.
On Sunday, February 3rd, the day of Super Bowl LIII, football fans were getting ready to see the dynasty in its decline versus the future of football. Everyone thought they were going to see a modern offensive clash between the two quarterbacks with the biggest age difference in Super Bowl history. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
The game kicked off at 3:30PT, with the New England Patriots receiving the kickoff. On quarterback Tom Brady’s first pass of the game, he threw an interception. That was just the start of the best defensive Super Bowl ever. Only on the seventh drive of the game were the first points scored, a Stephen Gostkowski field goal to put the Patriots up 3-0. No drive lasted more than eight plays after that. It was the first time Sean McVay’s Los Angeles Rams went scoreless in a half. All six of their first-half drives ended in punts. In the first half, Johnny Hekker, the Rams’ punter, had more touches (six) than the 2018 Offensive Player of the Year, running back Todd Gurley, and star receiver Brandin Cooks combined (a total of five). The Rams’ defense was playing well too. They allowed just three points, making it the lowest-scoring Super Bowl since 1975. There was also not a single play in the red zone during the first half. With the score 3-0, both teams walked toward their locker rooms knowing that they had a chance to win Super Bowl LIII. But only one team could.
After a half-time show featuring Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi, both teams were pumped for the second half. The second half started much like the first, with the first four drives ending in punts. But with two big plays by star receivers Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, they were able to set up a fifty-three-yard field goal for Greg Zuerlein with two minutes and eleven seconds left on the clock in the third quarter. Fourteen plays later, the Patriots got the ball at their own thirty-one-yard line. On the first play of that drive, Brady threw an eighteen-yard pass to Gronkowski, who had been quiet for most of the game before that. On the next play, Edelman, who the Rams had been struggling to defend all game, caught the ball for a gain of thirteen yards. Two plays later, Gronkowski made one of the biggest catches in the game, catching the ball over two defenders for a twenty-eight-yard gain all the way to the Rams’ two-yard line to set up the first (and only) red-zone play of the game. Thirty-six seconds later, rookie running back Sony Michel ran in for the game’s only touchdown. On their next possession, the Rams started off just as well, with Goff throwing a nineteen-yard pass to Brandin Cooks. On third down and nine, at the Rams’ forty-five-yard line, Goff connected with Reynolds for eleven yards. On the next play, Goff found Woods for a seventeen-yard pass. The Rams were finally finding their rhythm. The next pass was a long throw that landed in the hands of Cooks, but he couldn’t keep hold of it.
One play later, backup safety Duron Harmon got past the Rams’ offensive line and was about to hit Goff when he threw it. The ball was underthrown and Stephon Gilmore, the Patriots All-Pro cornerback, caught it at the Patriots’ four-yard line. The Patriots were able to move the ball into field goal range with little difficulty, with Michel and Burkhead each having a twenty-six-yard run. Then, on fourth down with one yard to go, Gostkowski hit a forty-one-yard field goal to make it a two-possession game. With very little time left on the clock, the Rams weren’t able to come back, making the Patriots the Super Bowl LIII champions. The winner of the Pete Rozelle Trophy (or the Super Bowl MVP) was Julian Edelman, with ten receptions and 141 yards. With that win, the Patriots tied the Steelers for the most wins in the big game. Brady became the single-highest person with the most Super Bowl wins, and Belichick became the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl, beating Tom Coughlin, the New York Giants’ head coach, when they beat the Patriots in 2012. We learned that defense wins championships, and the defense that won this championship had their opponents scoring a mere 9.1 percent of their regular season average, held their quarterback to a fifty percent pass completion rate, and held Pro Bowler Todd Gurley to just eleven touches and thirty-four yards. This unstoppable defense was led by Stephon Gilmore, Kyle Van Noy, and the McCourty twins, who played every snap on defense.
Though many thought it was boring, February 3rd was a special night.