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Patriots subdue Rams, give credit to defense

JACOB POTTER, Sports Writer

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Doubt and grind defined the 2018 season for the New England Patriots, culminating in a grind-it-out, defensive Super Bowl victory over the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3.

“It’s satisfying, man,” said tight end Rob Gronkowski. “I mean just the way we grinded all year. I mean it wasn’t beautiful.  Our season was up, our season was down.  Our season was up, then it was down.  Then we were eliminated. No one believed in us. No one thought we were ever going to do it.”

Doubters thought that 41-year-old quarterback Tom Brady lost a step, but Brady wasn’t having any of it.

“I guess I take compliments worse than I take [criticism]. I wish [they] would say you’re trash, you’re too old, you’re too slow, you can’t get it done no more and I would say, ‘Thank you very much I’m gonna go prove you wrong,’” Brady said.

The Pats continue to cement their status in history with a sixth Super Bowl victory, tying the Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins in NFL history.

Additionally, Brady broke the record for most Super Bowl wins by a player with six, as well as Bill Belichick putting his name alongside coaching legends George Halas and Curly Lambeau with six championships. 

New England keeps finding ways to win Super Bowls, whether coming back from a 25-point deficit against the Falcons in 2017, or winning with suffocating defense like this year.

“We’ve got one of these teams that they find a way to win,” said Belichick.

The saying “defense wins championships” remained true as the Pats’ blanketing defense held the NFL’s second-highest scoring offense (32.9 points per game) to a minuscule total of three points.

Brady also pulled through in the clutch, delivering a 29-yard dime to Gronkowski, setting up the only touchdown of the game.

“It’s a team game, man. We needed everyone out there. The defense played so well.  We finally helped them out by getting a touchdown there,” Brady said.

Gronkowski shared the same sentiment. “We stuck together. I mean that was the biggest team win that I’ve ever been a part of.”

The Super Bowl MVP went to Julian Edelman, who has essentially perfected the slot receiver role for the Patriots. Edelman racked up 141 yards on 10 receptions similar to Super Bowl XXXIX MVP Deion Branch, who also had over 100 yards in the big game. Branch contributed to a Patriots win in 2004 over the Philadelphia Eagles.

“He played the best game he has all year and [I’m] so proud of him [and] what he’s accomplished coming back from his ACL,” Brady said.

Edelman was even congratulated by former Patriot and Hall of Fame wide receiver, Randy Moss, who said, “Congratulations, boy. Way to ball out, MVP.”

Moss also acknowledged that Edelman accomplished a feat that he never did in winning a Super Bowl MVP, “I’ll tell you what, I’ve never been an MVP let alone a Super Bowl MVP, man.  I am proud of you, bro, way to persevere.” 

Edelman remained humble, deflecting the glory, “You’ve got to tip your hat to our defense. They’re the real MVP to me.  They held that offense to three points. I mean that’s remarkable.”

Jason McCourty, Patriots defensive back, provided insight on how the defense allowed only three points. “Our coaching staff did a great job putting a game plan together. Mixing a lot more zone [coverage] than we have done.  We zoned ‘em, we manned ‘em, we mixed up the looks on [Jared] Goff and [Sean] McVay, and tried to make it tough on them to call the plays.”

“They did a great job. It was a great game plan and you know, [there’s] no other way to say it, but I got out-coached tonight,” the young, talented coach McVay added.

The celebration is just starting for the Patriots, including an unsuspecting participant.

“Bill [Belichick] said he’s partying tonight and I ain’t gonna let him out party me,” Gronkowski said.

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Patriots subdue Rams, give credit to defense