The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in this year’s Super Bowl on February 13th. The Rams became the 2nd team ever, and in a row to play in a Super Bowl in their home stadium, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The Rams won the game late in the fourth quarter by going on a 15-play drive that ended with Matthew Stafford’s 1-yard touchdown pass to eventual Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp. The star wide receiver put on an impressive display having 92 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions.
Kupp capped off a record-breaking individual season by winning the Super Bowl MVP. This season, he was able to win both the receiving triple crown and Offensive Player of the Year. The only other player in NFL history to win those three awards in their entire career was Jerry Rice, but Kupp managed to win them in just one season.
The biggest narrative of the Rams’ entire season was Matthew Stafford. The 34-year-old QB spent 12 years with the Detroit Lions until being traded to L.A. in March 2021 and was a major factor in the Rams’ success. Stafford ended the game completing 26 of his 40 passes for 283 yards for 3 touchdowns, with the first touchdown of the game landing in the hands of WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham Jr. was then forced out of the game with a torn ACL with about four minutes until halftime. This shifted a vast majority of the Bengals’ defensive coverage over to Kupp since the Rams’ running game was poor, only averaging just under two yards per carry throughout the game.
At the start of the second quarter, the Rams marched down the field where Stafford threw to Kupp for 11 yards and for MVP’s first touchdown catch of the game. The Rams lined up for the extra point, but the snap was botched and instead, they went for a two-point conversion, but the pass was picked off by Linebacker Germaine Pratt. This gave the Bengals some momentum as they then drove down the field and scored their first touchdown all night thrown by Running Back Joe Mixon to WR Tee Higgins on a trick play.
The Bengals started to feel more confident as Safety Jessie Bates III picked off a long pass by Stafford, followed up by stopping the Rams’ offense just before the half. Burrow then threw a 75-yard bomb to Higgins for the teams’ second touchdown just 12 seconds into the third quarter to put the Bengals ahead 17-13, but the play was highly controversial. Higgins grabbed the facemask of Cornerback Jalen Ramsey but no flags were thrown. The Rams defense responded in a big way by sacking Burrow four times afterward and keeping Cincinnati to three points.
The question now is, how do both teams respond?