With stars and unsung heroes, the New England Patriots enjoyed another Super Bowl triumph, this time over the Los Angeles Rams.
Over the past 18 years, no team has dominated the NFL like the New England Patriots. On Sunday, New England won its sixth Super Bowl with a 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams. NE receiver Julian Edelman was named Super Bowl MVP after finishing with 10 catches and 141 yards.
Quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have been together for all Six Super Bowl titles. With this win, the Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers are now leveled with an NFL-best six Super Bowl titles.
Here are five men who made a huge impact in the game, who may have gone a bit unnoticed.
In a game where points were hard to come by, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski proved to be a difference maker in the win. Despite missing a 46-yard kick, Gostkowski booted the game’s first three points with a 42-yarder in the second-quarter. With 1:12 left in the game, and the Patriots up by seven points, New England had trust in its kicker with a 42-yard strike to make a 13-3 score.
Kyle Van Noy
While New England’s defensive line and secondary were enormous in containing the Rams offense, Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy made important plays throughout the game. In a career-high 92-tackle season, Van Noy picked up four more tackles, three quarterback hits and a sack in the win. With Van Noy’s help, New England’s defense allowed 62 rushing yards to the NFL’s No. 3 rushing offense in the regular season.
While Sony Michel scored the game’s only touchdown, Rex Burkhead proved his importance in the playoffs. Burkhead scored twice, including the game-winning touchdown in the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Sunday’s stat line of 43 rushing yards and two receptions for 15 yards may not be flashy, but Burkhead’s 26-yard run carried the Pats to the Los Angeles 33-yard line and basically sealed the win.
While twin Devin McCourty has been a mainstay in the Patriots secondary for years, Jason McCourty showed his impact in his first Super Bowl with five tackles. His biggest play prevented a touchdown pass to Rams receiver Brandin Cooks that would have given Los Angeles a lead. Instead, L.A. picked up its only points on the field goal. The Patriots ended up scoring the final 10 points.
Over the years, Bill Belichick has proven to be a defensive master. This year, Patriots linebacker coach Brian Flores became the new defensive signal caller. Throughout the regular season, New England’s defense allowed 359.1 yards per game. In back-to-back games against two of the NFL’s best offenses, Flores’ defense gave up only 290 yards to the Chiefs. Against the Rams, the Pats only gave up 260 total yards and allowed just three successful third-down conversions.