Patriots, Tom Brady grind out Rams to claim sixth title in lackluster Super Bowl

ATLANTA – In what is likely the final game of his future Hall of Fame career, Rob Gronkowski came up big in the moments that mattered. The New England tight end sparked a stalled offense during a critical fourth quarter drive, catching two passes for 47 yards leading to a 2-yard touchdown run by Sony Michel. It was the Pats only trip to the end zone.

It was enough to give the Patriots their sixth Super Bowl via a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in a game that was offensively challenged and aesthetically displeasing.

The game was going almost nowhere, stuck at 3-3, deep into the fourth quarter when Tom Brady, who won his record sixth, finally got heated up. The two big strikes though were classic Gronk, a bruising over the shoulder catch and run for 18 and then another for 29 that put the Pats on the goalline.

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Super Bowl LIII: Patriots vs. Rams
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Super Bowl LIII: Patriots vs. Rams
Tom Brady (12) de los Patriots de Nueva Inglaterra festeja tras un touchdown ante los Rams de Los Ángeles durante la segunda mitad del Super Bowl, el domingo 3 de febrero de 2019, en Atlanta. (AP Foto/Jeff Roberson)
New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski (87) catches a pass in front of Los Angeles Rams' Marcus Peters (22) and Cory Littleton (58) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
New England Patriots' Stephon Gilmore, right, intercepts a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams' Brandin Cooks (12) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
New England Patriots' Kyle Van Noy (53) sacks Los Angeles Rams' Jared Goff (16) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
New England Patriots' Jason McCourty (30) breaks up pass intended Los Angeles Rams' Josh Reynolds (83), during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Los Angeles Rams' Aaron Donald (99) hits New England Patriots' Tom Brady (12) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
New England Patriots' Stephen Gostkowski (3) gestures after scoring a field goal, during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. The Patriots defeated the Rams 13-3.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Los Angeles Rams' Robert Woods (17) breaks a tackle by New England Patriots' Jonathan Jones (31) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
New England Patriots' Tom Brady (12) throws the ball as Los Angeles Rams' Ndamukong Suh (93) rushes during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Los Angeles Rams' Jared Goff (16) throws a pass during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Los Angeles Rams' Greg Zuerlein (4) watches his field goal during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
New England Patriots' Jason McCourty (30) breaks up a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams' Brandin Cooks (12) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots runs the ball against John Johnson #43 of the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Sony Michel #26 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots is interviewed after his teams 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots and teammate Tom Brady #12 celebrate at the end of the Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: James Develin #46 of the New England Patriots celebrates with his son William Robert Develin after the Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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He finished the game with six catches for 87 yards and was instrumental blocking along the offensive line. New England rushed for 155 yards and amassed a 33:05 time of possession, a stat they dominated throughout this postseason. On their final, game-sealing drive, New England rushed seven times for 66 yards. 

Gronk will go down as one of the finest tight end blockers in NFL history, a dying breed as offenses open up in the modern game.

The Patriots hadn’t scored since early in the second quarter, allowing a Rams offense under young QB Jared Goff that was accomplishing little on offense to stick around and eventually tie the game

Gronkowski hasn’t said whether he’ll retire or not this offseason, but he’s given plenty of indication that the physical beating he’s taken on his 6-6, 265 pound frame will cause him to walk away from the game at age 30.

The Rams tried to rally, driving down the field and showing life until Stephon Gilmore picked off Goff on a floater on the Patriots four yard line. It was a poor and dangerous pass.

The first three quarters were a slog, featuring 12 punts and just six points, the lowest through that period in Super Bowl history.

Neither Brady nor Goff was sharp. The Rams didn’t use Todd Gurley much. About the only Patriot who did much was Julian Edelman. While the defenses for both teams were stout, there were also ill-advised timeouts, procedural penalties and just poor play. The teams went a combined 4-20 on third downs.

New England dominated time of possession in the first quarter but had little to show for it. A Brady interception ended one drive while it was in field goal range and kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 46-yarder on another, points the team desperately needed until Gronk helped fire the offense up late

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