For five plays, and for 2 minutes, 49 seconds, Tom Brady looked like Tom Brady and the Patriots offense looked like it had most of the season.

Turns out, that’s all they needed.

On a day that knocked two of the NFL’s high-flying scoring machines back into the 1970s, Brady mustered one good drive when it mattered.

He went 4-for-4, including a perfect teardrop nestled into the hands of Rob Gronkowski, to set up the game’s only touchdown on the way to a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. New England won its record-tying sixth Super Bowl title.

“Took us a while, but you’ve got to grind it out and find a way,” Brady said.

This one will be remembered for defense. And kicking. And Julian Edelman, the diminutive receiver who found gaps in the Los Angeles zone and caught a game-high 10 passes for 141 yards. He was named Most Valuable Player.

Brady, who has won that award four times, was fine — but nothing more — until the drive that began with 9:49 remaining and the game tied at 3.

He hit Gronkowski for 18 yards, found Edelman in the zone for 13. He threw a dump-off pass to Rex Burkhead for seven. Then, the best pass of the day — the 29-yard completion to Gronkowski, who was double-covered and had Rams linebacker Cory Littleton practically dragging him to the ground as he made the catch.

“Tom threw it to me and I had to make a play,” Gronkowski said. “I just come through whenever it’s that time. He knows to trust in me.”

Sony Michel took the handoff on the next play for a 2-yard score. Anyone who had only tuned in for that drive might have wondered what all the fuss was.

But even with Edelman’s chain-moving ability, Brady and the Patriots struggled all day and looked nothing like the team that averaged more than 27 points a game this season. Brady finished 21 for 35 for 262 yards and an interception.

The 41-year-old quarterback’s very first pass — after New England started the game with four straight runs that got them to the Rams 34 — got tipped up by receiver Chris Hogan, who collided with Nickell Robey-Coleman, then picked off by Littleton.

After that, the Patriots moved the ball, but ended up with very little to show for it. They outgained Los Angeles 195-57 in the first half but had one Stephen Gostkowski field goal — and another Gostkowski miss — and a paltry 3-0 lead.

The Rams tied it late in the third quarter, and this became the first Super Bowl in the 53-year history to head into the last 15 minutes without a touchdown.

Then, suddenly, Brady looked like Brady again. It didn’t last long. It was all the Patriots needed.

___

New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski (87) catches a pass in front of Los Angeles Rams' Marcus Peters (22) and Cory Littleton (58) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski (87) catches a pass in front of Los Angeles Rams’ Marcus Peters (22) and Cory Littleton (58) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
New England Patriots' Tom Brady (12) gestures to the bench after missing the first down by inches during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
New England Patriots’ Tom Brady (12) gestures to the bench after missing the first down by inches during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates with teammates after the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates with teammates after the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
New England Patriots' Kyle Van Noy, left, and Rob Gronkowski, right, celebrate after the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
New England Patriots’ Kyle Van Noy, left, and Rob Gronkowski, right, celebrate after the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski (87) runs against Los Angeles Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski (87) runs against Los Angeles Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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