ATLANTA — A magical season has come to an end, with Los Angeles falling to New England in Super Bowl LIII 13-3.
The Rams offense’ could not get anything going in the first half, and the trend continued in the second to make for a disappointing conclusion to what was a conference championship season.
In a first half that did not feature much offense, the Rams’ defense was able to keep the game at a manageable score with some strong play against quarterback Tom Brady and company. Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman tipped Brady’s first pass up and linebacker Cory Littleton slid in for an interception to end the game’s opening drive.
But Los Angeles failed to capitalize on the opportunity, going three-and-out. In fact, the Rams did not convert one third down in the entire first half and had just two first downs, ending the first 30 minutes of action with just 57 total yards.
Still, the Rams’ defense kept the Patriots off the board through the first quarter, with a missed field goal and a punt closing things out on the last two possessions.
New England was able to score with a 42-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski early in the second quarter. Los Angeles had four more possessions after that in the first half, but got nothing more than five plays and 23 yards on any one drive.
In the second half, running back Todd Gurley got Los Angeles’ first drive going with a 16-yard run up the middle — the Rams’ longest run of the day to that point. But the drive stalled after Gurley’s next run went for five yards, with an incompletion on 3rd-and-5 forcing another punt. That made the Rams 0-of-7 in third-down efficiency.
Cornerback Marcus Peters forced back-to-back punts with pass breakups on two consecutive third downs, and on the second the Rams finally started to get into some rhythm.
L.A. got consecutive first downs for the first time all game when running back C.J. Anderson got through the middle for four yards, and then Goff connected with Cooks on the left side for 16 yards. The Rams also got their first third-down conversion of the day, when Goff hit wideout Robert Woods on a deep crosser over the middle for an 18-yard gain.
The Rams called timeout and dialed up a play that worked as it was called — but not executed properly. Goff had Cooks wide open in the end zone but didn’t see him until it was too late. Cornerback Jason McCourty was able to run back into the paint and break up the high pass from Goff.
The quarterback was then sackeds on third down, but L.A. still got its first points of the game with a 53-yard field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein — the second-longest field goal in Super Bowl history.
Los Angeles and New England were tied at three heading into the fourth quarter — which was the fewest points scored through three periods in Super Bowl history.
The score stayed that way until 7:00 left in the fourth quarter. Brady hit tight end Rob Gronkowski with a 29-yard pass to move New England up to Los Angeles’ two-yard line. Then running back Sony Michel put the ball in the box on the next play, giving the Patriots a 10-3 lead.
The Rams looked like they had a chance to tie on the ensuing drive, getting into scoring position. But on 2nd-and-10 from the New England 27, Goff was pressured and attempted a deep pass down the right sideline to Cooks that was instead intercepted by cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
With a few gash run plays, the Patriots were able to get down the field, and with 1:16 left, Gostkowski kicked a 41-yard field goal to put New England up by 10.
Down 13-3 with just over a minute left, the Rams moved the ball a bit but could not get points before time expired, as Zuerlein missed a 48-yard field goal with eight seconds left.