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Super Bowl 53: Three reasons why the Patriots won

Sporting News logo Sporting News 2/4/2019 Gabrielle McMillen
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Super Bowl 53 was one for the record books, but not in an explosive way.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Patriots and Rams were tied at 3-3, making it the first Super Bowl to go through three quarters without a touchdown. It wasn't until Patriots running back Sony Michel rushed for two yards with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter that a touchdown was scored.

However, the Patriots pulled off the 13-3 victory in the end when Rams quarterback Jared Goff's errant pass toward their endzone ended up as a Patriots interception, thanks to Stephon Gilmore.

After eating the clock, several more first downs, a Stephen Gostkowski field goal, and a missed Greg Zuerlein field goal, the Patriots won their second Super Bowl in three years.

Here are three reasons why New England won Super Bowl 53:

Defense really does win championships

The Patriots held the Rams to just 260 offensive yards. To the Rams' credit, they also held the Patriots to a below-average yards total (407). Twenty seven of the Rams' 60 snaps went for zero or negative yards, which is 45 percent of the plays.

In the end, New England's defense kept the Rams to just 14 first downs and limited the rushing game to 62 yards. While the Rams' defense put up a fight — it held the Pats to 22 first downs and 3 of 12 third down conversions — Los Angeles seemed to run out of steam in the fourth quarter.

Goff's struggles are the Patriots' gain

Rams quarterback Jared Goff didn't look like a franchise quarterback Sunday night. He threw for 229 yards, completed 19 of 38 passes, no touchdowns and one interception. On top of that, his passer rating was just 57.9 percent, his second lowest of the season.

He was 0-for-6 on third down passing conversions and was a large reason why Los Angeles' punter spent so much time on the field.

The aforementioned interception with four minutes left in the game seemed to be the final nail in the coffin for Goff.

The Edelman effect

Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was named MVP for the game, and deservedly so. Even though he didn't score, he was quarterback Tom Brady's favorite target throughout the night with 10 catches for 141 yards.

Edelman became only the third Patriots player to win a Super Bowl MVP award. Tom Brady and Deion Branch are the others. Interestingly enough, Edelman started the season at home, since he was suspended the first four games of the season after violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

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