The football season is officially over as one team stands alone. The Los Angeles Rams completed their Hollywood story with a 23-20 Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Star receiver Cooper Kupp went home with the MVP honors as he racked up 92 receiving yards to go with 2TDs. This is the Rams second Super Bowl title in their franchise’s history. It’s the first title in LA as their other title occurred when they were the St. Louis Rams. So, let’s jump into how it all happened.
The festivities got started with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson making an inspiring speech just before kickoff. After both teams failed to score with their first possession the Rams drew blood first on an Odell Beckham touchdown. The Bengals immediately answered thanks to a 46-yard catch by Ja’Marr Chase. Unfortunately for the Bengals the drive stalled in the red zone, and they were only able to kick a FG. With the score being 7-3 the Rams once again drove down the field. This time Cooper Kupp would be the one to catch a TD. Despite a botched snap on the extra point try, the Rams increased their lead to the score of 13-3.
Not willing to be outgunned, the Bengals answered the Rams touchdown with one of their own. This time by virtue of a trick play which saw their RB Joe Mixon throw a TD pass to a wide-open Tee Higgins. Unfortunately for the Rams a game-changing play happened that significantly hurt their chances of winning. Odell Beckham suffered a non-contact injury during a play. The injury, now believed to be a torn ACL, took him out for the rest of the game. With Beckham out, the Rams offense suffered tremendously. Despite the setback the Rams still led the game 13-10 going into halftime.
After halftime, the Bengals immediately took the lead with a 75-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins. The touchdown was controversial – Higgins fouled Rams defender Jalen Ramsey which allowed him to score. Unfortunately for the Rams faithful the foul went uncalled, and the Bengals took a 17-13 lead. In the very next play Rams QB Matthew Stafford threw his second interception of the game. This turnover gave the Bengals a glorious opportunity to blow this game wide open. With the ball in the Rams red zone the Bengals were unable to fully capitalize, settling for a FG. The Rams answered that FG with one of their own to cut into the Bengals lead.
After the pair of FGs the game settled into a defensive struggle as neither team could produce much offense, locking the score at 20-16. As the fourth quarter started winding down it became clear that this would come down to the final moments. A crucial dropped pass by the Bengals gave the Rams the ball back with little over 6 minutes left to go in the game. That’s when Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp combined for the drive of the season. Working their way down the field those two hooked up three times to get the Rams into the red zone. Then the Rams benefitted from a controversial call themselves.
On third down and goal Stafford threw an incomplete pass to Kupp, but the play was flagged for defensive holding. When looking at the replay it appeared the defender did nothing wrong. But alas the penalty was given and that gave the Rams a first down. Three plays and another penalty later the Rams scored a touchdown thanks to another Kupp catch. The score gave the Rams a 23-20 lead with 1:30 left to go in the game. With two timeouts and a chance to win the Super Bowl the stage was set for Joe Burrow.
The first play of the drive was a huge success as Burrow found Chase for a 17-yard gain. In the next play Burrow completed another pass for nine yards. The Bengals were already at midfield with a minute left to go and still had two of their timeouts. On second down Burrow threw an incomplete pass out of bounds. Third down saw a run play that was stuffed by Aaron Donald, making it a do or die fourth down. On the biggest play of the Super Bowl, Donald once again wrecked the Bengals, spinning Burrow down. As he was falling Burrow managed a last grasp throw that unfortunately for the Cincinnati faithful landed incomplete. The Rams took over the ball and kneeled to end the game.
Some interesting stats popped up after the game. Stafford finished the game with 283 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Burrow threw for 263 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t make a turnover but was sacked a record seven times in the Super Bowl. After going up 20-13 the Bengals only managed 70 yards in the remaining 25 minutes of the game. This is the 8th straight Super Bowl in which the team that won the coin toss (Cincinnati) lost the game. Last but certainly not least, the team that wears white in the Super Bowl has gone on to win 18 of the last 21 times.
Last Week: 1-0