After a scoreless first quarter, Stephen Gostkowski's 42-yard field goal with 10:29 remaining in the second quarter gave the New England Patriots a 3-0 lead against the listless Los Angeles Rams at halftime of Super Bowl LIII on Sunday in Atlanta.
The Rams punted on all six of their first-half possessions, picking up just two first downs. The NFL's No. 2 offense in both scoring and yards during the regular season, Los Angeles reached intermission with 57 total yards.
After missing from 46 yards in the opening quarter, Gostkowski converted his second attempt to cap a seven-play, 39-yard drive. The Patriots tallied 12 first downs and gained 195 yards in the half, as 41-year-old Tom Brady completed 15 of 25 passes for 160 yards with one interception. Julian Edelman had seven catches for 93 yards.
The Rams crossed midfield three times -- but only barely. They were stopped at the New England 49 once and the 47 twice, the second time with about four minutes left in the half. Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy sacked Jared Goff for a 14-yard loss on third-and-2 to force another Rams three-and-out.
Los Angeles star Todd Gurley started and rushed for 2 yards on the Rams' first play from scrimmage, but had only two more touches in the half. Dealing with knee inflammation, Gurley missed the last two regular-season games and had only five touches in the NFC Championship at New Orleans.
After the Rams won the coin toss and deferred, the Patriots opened the action with a 38-yard kickoff return by Cordarrelle Patterson. Following four straight running plays, Brady was intercepted on his first pass attempt of the game. Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman deflected a throw intended for Chris Hogan, and linebacker Cory Littleton cradled it before it hit the ground at the 27-yard line.
Los Angeles couldn't take advantage of the takeaway and gave it right back with a three-and-out.
Starting from its own 12, New England drove 60 yards in 11 plays but came up empty when Gostkowski's 46-yard attempt missed wide left. Patriots coach Bill Belichick used two timeouts on the drive, the second with 6:17 remaining in the first quarter. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had his first catch on the drive, a 19-yard gain that took the Pats into Rams territory.
The Rams crossed midfield on their second possession before Johnny Hekker came on to punt for the second time. L.A. tried to draw New England offsides on fourth-and-3 at the Patriots' 42-yard line with no luck, taking a delay of game penalty.
Despite getting inside the Rams' 35-yard line on each of their first two possessions, the Patriots failed to score a first-quarter touchdown for the ninth time in nine Brady-Belichick Super Bowl appearances. After a failure on fourth-and-1 late in the half, New England had just three points to show on four trips inside the Los Angeles 35.
New England's third possession stalled after John Franklin-Myers sacked and stripped Brady near midfield, with center David Andrews recovering the loose ball. It was the first sack allowed by the Patriots this postseason.
It was the ninth scoreless first quarter in Super Bowl history, with the Patriots now involved in five of them (they won the previous four).
--Field Level Media