ATLANTA -- So much for a shootout in Super Bowl LIII.
The previous mark of 21 combined points, set by the undefeated Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins at Super Bowl VII, had stood for 46 years. The Patriots' winning total was also one fewer point than the previous low, set by the Dolphins in their 14-7 win in 1973.
The Rams tied the Dolphins' record-low total from their 24-3 loss in Super Bowl VI, and they also joined that Miami team as the only ones not to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl.
The over/under for this year's Super Bowl closed at 56, the third-highest in the game's history, but that mark was doubtful after the Patriots entered halftime with a mere 3-0 lead.
The three points combined for the second-lowest-scoring half in a Super Bowl, just shy of the record set in Super Bowl IX in 1975, when the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings combined for two points.
During the regular season, the Chiefs (18.6 points per half) and the Rams (17.4 points per half) were the two highest-scoring first-half offenses in the league. But early on, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was uncharacteristically shaky, going 15-of-25 for 160 yards in the first half while throwing an interception on his first pass attempt. Rams quarterback Jared Goff also struggled, completing 5 of 12 passes for 52 yards before the half.
The Rams became the 13th team to be shut out in the first half of the Super Bowl. None went on to win. The Patriots are the third team to shut out their opponent in the first half of both the conference championship and Super Bowl, along with the 1973 Dolphins and 2000 Baltimore Ravens. All three teams won the Super Bowl.
This was only the second playoff game since 2001 that had three or fewer combined first-half points. The Vikings and Seattle Seahawks combined for three in the 2015 wild-card round.
Hasselbeck: Goff, Rams offense were 'inept.'
Tim Hasselbeck says that the Rams' poor offense is the reason that they lost the Super Bowl.
The Patriots' defense also sizzled in the first half of its past two games -- against the Kansas City Chiefs and Rams. The unit did not allow any points in those games, while opponents ran 38 plays for 89 yards.
To break through against the Rams, the Patriots' offense made an adjustment and went big in the fourth quarter. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, New England ran its first play with two running backs and two tight ends with 8:50 left, during the drive that led to the game-winning touchdown. From there, New England used two running backs and two tight ends on seven of their final 14 offensive plays and averaged 11.9 yards.
On the night, 45 percent of the Rams' 60 plays went for zero or negative yards -- the second highest percentage for the Rams in a game this season, after their 15-6 loss to the Bears in Week 14.
Los Angeles failed on its first eight third-down opportunities, and Goff finished 3-of-10 passing on third down for the worst percentage in his career. Goff also went 0-for-5 with an interception on passes thrown 20 yards or more downfield, tied for his most attempts without a completion on those passes in his career.
The Patriots' defense pressured Goff on 38 percent of his dropbacks, and the young quarterback finished 3-of-12 when under duress. That's tied for the worst completion percentage for any QB that threw at least 10 passes under pressure in a Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Rams only pressured Brady on 14 percent of his dropbacks.
One of the few bright spots for the Rams came in the third quarter as punter Johnny Hekker set a Super Bowl record with a 65-yard punt, narrowly eclipsing a 64-yarder from Patriots punter Ryan Allen four years ago.
Hekker had plenty of practice. His seven first-half punts were the most before the half in his seven-year career. He finished with nine punts, two shy of the record set by the New York Giants' Brad Maynard in 2001.
When the Rams did finally put some points on the board in the third quarter, they needed Greg Zuerlein to kick a 53-yard field goal -- 1 yard short of the longest ever in a Super Bowl, set by Buffalo's Steve Christie at Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994.