Super Bowl LIII was the lowest scoring in history but Matthew Crist still looks for the positives in Atlanta...
"With both defences dominating it was the 53rd minute of the game before the first TD was scored as the teams exchanged field goals either side of half time in a low scoring yet gripping encounter."
Six of the best
The New England Patriots tied the Pittsburgh Steelers' haul of six Vince Lombardi trophies as they beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta on Sunday night.
Despite much hype ahead of the game the scoreline was the lowest in the game's history, though ironically the Patriots' biggest winning margin in a Super Bowl, as the Rams became only the second team ever to not score a touchdown in the season finale, along with the Miami Dolphins back in 1972.
With both defences dominating it was the 53rd minute of the game before the first TD was scored as the teams exchanged field goals either side of half time in a low-scoring yet gripping encounter.
A game which resembled something of a chess match was notable for the fact that the Rams managed only two first downs in the entire first half and it was the first time they had failed to score in the first half of a game under head coach Sean McVay.
As for the Patriots they once again failed to score an offensive touchdown in the first quarter of a Super Bowl, the ninth time that they have drawn a blank in the opening 15 minutes under Bill Belichick.
With the teams tied at three points each going into the fourth quarter the deadlock was finally broken when Tom Brady, who was 21 for 35 on the night, completed a 29-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski, allowing Sony Michel to run-in from two yards.
Rams QB Jared Goff, who completed just 50 per cent of his 38 throws for 229 yards, tried to take his side down the field to tie things up once more only to be picked-off by Stephon Gilmore as he tried to find Brandin Cooks in the endzone; enabling the Pats to run down the clock and kick three insurance points.
And in a game where offence was at a premium it was perhaps no surprise that with 10 catches for 141 yards, Julian Edelman became only the seventh wide reciever in the history of the Super Bowl to be named MVP.
Seven up for the Pats?
Not surprisingly the win means that New England are already 8/1 favourites to win Super Bowl LIV next year in Miami as Brady and Belichick (assuming they stick around) look to make history with a seventh success while the Rams can be backed at 12/1 to go one better next time.
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, who lost out to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, are 9/1 for Super Bowl glory in 2020 while many people's picks this year, the New Orleans Saints, are also 9/1.
If it's value you are after then the Chicago Bears can be backed at 20/1, the Houtson Texans at 25/1 and the Cleveland Browns, who were rejuvenated in the second half of the season thanks to young QB Baker Mayfield, are a 40/1 chance.
Warriors down LeBron-less Lakers
While the NFL season was coming to a close on Sunday night the action in the NBA was heating up on Saturday with a number of key wins for sides chasing playoff places as the Golden State Warriors took advantage of LeBron James' absence to complete a 115-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Having sat-out 17 games for the Lakers James had made his return last week but was once again missing as LA stormed to a 10 point lead in the third quarter and were 89-88 ahead when Ivica Zubac tipped in with 11 minutes remaining but a late surge, inspired by Andre Igoudala, eventually saw the Warriors home.
The win was the 12th in the last 13 games for the Warriors, after an 11-game winning streak came to an end against Philadelphia on Thursday and can be backed at 1.584/7 to claim the NBA Championship on the Exchange.
Denver keep in touch
The Denver Nuggets were made to hang on for a thrilling win over the Timberwolves in Minnesota to extend their current win streak to six games and improve to 37-15 on the season and are now 7.613/2 to win the Western Conference.
Nikola Jokic had 13 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for his ninth triple-double of the season with the win seeing Denver pull level with the Golden State Warriors at the top of the Western Conference all be it with a better 7-1 divisional record.
In Detroit Lou Williams came off the bench to score 39 points as the Los Angeles Clippers came from 25 points down to defeat the Pistons 111-101.
James Harden recorded his 19th 40-point game of the season as he helped the Houston Rockets 19.5 to snap a two-game losing streak by beating the Utah Jazz 125-98 and Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 37 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Washington Wizards 131-115 for a third win on the trot.
Also on Saturday night Buddy Hield capped a 34-point performance with a pair of late three-pointers as the Sacramento Kings toppled the Philadelphia 76ers 108-115 while John Collins scored 35 points to help the visiting Atlanta Hawks down the Phoenix Suns 118-112.