Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Patriots surprise Rams with last-second win

NEW ORLEANS (REUTERS) — Adam Vinatieri kicked a 48-yard field goal as time ran out to give the New England Patriots a stunning 20-17 victory Sunday over the heavily favored St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

The winning kick set off raucous celebrations by the Patriots and capped a spectacular worst-to-first turnaround by a team that finished last in the AFC East in 2000 with a woeful 5-11 record.

Despite being 14-point underdogs, the Patriots thoroughly outplayed the Rams for three quarters.

But NFL Most Valuable Player Kurt Warner engineered two fourth-quarter scoring drives to tie the game at 17 with just 90 seconds left.

That’s when New England’s second-year quarterback Tom Brady took over and did his best Warner impression as he completed four passes in five plays to move his team to the St. Louis 30-yard line with seven seconds left, setting up Vinatieri’s game-winning kick.

“We shocked the world, but we didn’t shock ourselves,” said Vinatieri, who also kicked a winning field goal in overtime of New England’s playoff win over Oakland.

Brady named MVP: Brady, 24, became the youngest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl as the Patriots captured their first championship in the third trip to the Big Game in franchise history.

“The fans of New England have been waiting 42 years for this day,” said Patriots owner Bob Kraft after accepting the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Brady, who threw a touchdown pass with 36 seconds left in the first half to give New England a 14-3 halftime lead, was named most valuable player of Super Bowl XXXVI as the Pats finished a dream season on a nine-game winning streak, including upsets of Pittsburgh and St. Louis, the top-ranked teams in each conference.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Brady. “Whenever we’ve had our backs against the wall, all year we responded.”

The game-winning kick avoided what would have been the first overtime in Super Bowl history.

New England nearly avoided the last-second drama, but an apparent 96-yard touchdown return by Patriots safety Tebucky Jones off a Warner fumble was called back by a holding penalty.

Two plays later, Warner scored on a two-yard run to give St. Louis its first touchdown with 9:33 to play.

The New England defense played a tremendous game, keeping the much-vaunted St. Louis attack, billed as “the greatest show on Earth,” from getting in gear until the fourth quarter.

The first three New England scores all came off St. Louis turnovers, including a second quarter interception returned 47 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Ty Law that put the Patriots in front for the first time.

“I made some mistakes, and it’s tough to swallow,” said Warner. “It was our mistakes that really did us in today.”

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