The Los Angeles Rams rallied from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 and win Super Bowl 56 on their home turf at SoFi Stadium, meanwhile wide receiver Cooper Kupp won the MVP.
With the victory for the Rams, Sean McVay becomes the youngest head coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl. McVay was the youngest head coach in NFL history when the Rams initially hired him at age 30. The wunderkind became the youngest head coach at age 33 to secure a berth in the Super Bowl 53, but McVay and the Rams fell short of the mark when Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots prevailed. It took him a second trip to the Super Bowl before he finally emerged as a winner at age 36.
“For the offense to be able to find a way, and then Aaron to be able to finish it off, it’s poetic, man,” said McVay.
The Rams made several bold moves and went all-in on a championship this season. That included leveraging the future by trading quarterback Jared Goff and multiple first-round draft picks to acquire Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions. Linebacker Von Miller and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. were late-season addition to the roster, but both transactions paid off.
The Rams won 23-20, but the Bengals covered as a +4.5 underdog. The closing total was 48.5 o/u and the under hit.
First Half: OBJ Goes Down
The Bengals won the coin toss, which has a slight historical significance, because the last seven teams that won the toss ended up losing the Super Bowl.
The Rams jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on a 17-yard touchdown strike from Stafford to Beckham, which capped off a 50-yard drive thanks to great field position.
The Bengals got on the board late in the first quarter with a chip-shot field goal from the red-hot Evan McPherson, and they cut the lead to 7-3.
In the second quarter, Kupp caught his first touchdown on the night on a 11-yard dart from Stafford. It capped off a 75-yard drive, but they botched the extra point, and only led 13-3.
The Bengals strung together their only touchdown drive in the first half thanks to a short touchdown on a trick play in the red zone. Running back Joe Mixon connected with Tee Higgins for a touchdown. They trimmed the deficit to 13-10 heading into halftime.
The Rams incurred a huge hit when they lost Beckham to a non-contact knee injury. He fell to the turf while clutching his knee and needed assistance off the field. Beckham did not return to the game. He finished the night with two catches for 52 yards and one touchdown.
JOE MIXON TD PASS TO TEE HIGGINS 🔥
— ESPN (@espn) February 14, 2022
3Q: Near Implosion
It did not take long before the Bengals seized the lead on the first play of the season half. Burrow and Higgins hooked up on a 75-yard touchdown. Replays showed that Higgins got away with grabbing Jalen Ramsey’s facemask, which officials missed. The Bengals seized the lead 17-13.
On the Rams first possession in the second half, they coughed the ball up. Stafford threw his second interception on the game on a tipped pass. The Rams defense came up big and prevented the Bengals from scoring another touchdown. They held the Bengals to a second McPherson field goal, but the Rams fell behind 20-13.
The Rams answered with three points on the ensuing drive, courtesy of a 41-yard field goal from Matt Gay. Yet, they still trailed 20-16. With the Rams down by four points, the missed extra point looked like it could come back to bite them in the arse.
TEE HIGGINS LONG TD AND GRIDDY ‼️
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 14, 2022
4Q Comeback: ’15 Wanda Now X Fade’
The Rams’ smothering defense shut down the Bengals in the fourth quarter. Aaron Donald and the D-Line had several huge plays, particularly on third downs, to keep the Rams in the game.
The Rams got the ball back with six-plus minutes remaining. Stafford engineered a game-winning touchdown drive thanks to multiple extra chances due to a couple of ticky-tack pass interference calls. With the ball on the 1-yard line, McVay called “15 Wanda Now X Fade” with Kupp running the fade route, which typically would get executed by Beckham. With Beckham sidelined, the Rams ran the play for Kupp. Stafford threw a perfect pass and Kupp scored his second touchdown of the game. The Rams regained the lead 23-20 with 1:25 to go.
The Rams defense slammed the door shut on the comeback and forced the Bengals to turn the ball over on downs. Once again, Donald and the D-Line came up big time and the Rams held on to win 23-20.
The Rams sacked Burrow seven times in Super Bowl 56 for a total loss of 43 yards. Miller and Donald notched two sacks apiece.
“You got to be relentless,” said Donald. “You want something bad enough you’ve got to go get it. All offseason you work, you train, you got camp, you got a long season just for this one game. You know we the last team standing.”
Kupp tallied 99 combined yards from scrimmage in the Super Bowl, including eight catches for 92 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The game-winning grab locked up the MVP for Kupp.
“That’s hard work, that’s hours together,” said Stafford. “I just thank coach. He kept calling plays for Coop, kept finding ways to get him the ball. He made unbelievable plays. That’s what he does.”
Stafford finished the game with 283 yards and three touchdowns.
COOPER KUPP TD TO TAKE THE LEAD 🤯
— ESPN (@espn) February 14, 2022
Bengals Magical Season Dunzo
The Bengals defense shut down the Rams’ running attack in the Super Bowl, and the Rams only mustered up 43 yards on 23 attempts. The Bengals held LA’s Cam Akers to just 21 rushing yards on 13 attempts.
Burrow finished with 263 yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions. Joe Mixon added 72 rushing yards on 15 attempts. He also added a touchdown pass via the trick play in the first half.
“I was disappointed in my performance overall,” said Burrow. “That’s going to propel us into next year. We’re not satisfied with what we did this year.”
Higgins led the Bengals 100 yards and two touchdowns. Ramsey and the Rams secondary kept rookie Ja’Marr Chase in check with just five catches and zero touchdowns, but he still cobbled together 89 yards.
The Bengals are +1200 odds to win Super Bowl 57 next season, and the Rams are +1000 odds to pull off back-to-back championships.