Recap of Rams vs Bengals Super Bowl LVI

Recap of Rams vs Bengals Super Bowl LVI

Photo Via Creative Commons

Spencer Saltz, sports editor/staff writer

It took 22 years, but the Los Angeles Rams have won Super Bowl 56. Led by superstars Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald, the Rams defeated the underdog Cincinnati Bengals in a wild game that finished 23-20. 

The Rams took an early lead, thanks to Quarterback Matthew Stafford finding Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the corner of the endzone to put the Rams up in the first quarter. After both teams exchanged punts, a solid Bengals drive, highlighted by a Ja’Marr Chase diving and one-handed catch, kicker Evan McPherson made it 7-3 at the end of the first.

The second quarter saw a Rams drive headlined by two large plays by Beckham and Running back Darrell Henderson, result in an eleven-yard touchdown to Kupp, where Stafford found him in the back of the endzone to make the game two scores. A fumbled snap on the extra-point kept the game at 13-3, which had implications later in the game. The Bengals responded, with Running back Joe Mixon, who had never thrown a pass in his NFL career, throw a touchdown to Tee Higgins, making it 13-10. Tragedy struck the Rams on their next possession, when Beckham came down awkwardly on his right knee, and he was ruled out of the game. He was later diagnosed with a torn ACL. On the very same drive, Stafford launched a ball into the endzone, which was subsequently intercepted by safety Jessie Bates III. The Bengals made nothing of it, thanks in large part to inactive corner Vernon Hargreaves III running onto the field during the celebration of the interception, costing the Bengals 10 yards. The half ended 13-10.

The Bengals got off to a hot start, when Joe Burrow found Higgins on a wheel route down the sideline, and Higgins, with a pretty large push-off, grabbed the ball over Jalen Ramsey, and put the Bengals ahead. Things seemed to get worse for the Rams when Stafford threw an interception to corner Chidibo Awuzie, and gave the Bengals the ball back immediately. The Rams defense held this time, and the Bengals settled for 3. The Rams would kick a field goal and put the game at 20-16 at the end of the third quarter, putting the Bengals 15 minutes from glory.

However, the Bengals offensive line didn’t hold up for Burrow, who was sacked 7 times on the day. With little action except for Burrow getting demolished by a brutal Rams pass rush, led by Donald and Von Miller, it took until about 6 minutes remained for the drama to start. Stafford looked for his best player, Kupp, numerous times on the drive, including an end-around on a 4th and 1 that saved the game. At the one-yard line and a minute and a half remaining, Stafford found Kupp, who went over Eli Apple to secure the ball, giving the Rams the lead. Joe Burrow was tasked with bringing the Bengals down the field to tie the game with just a field goal. A quick pass to Chase and a Tyler Boyd 9-yard grab put the Bengals at midfield. An incompletion on second down made it 3rd and 1, when coach Zac Taylor dialed up a draw play for Samaje Perine, who was stuffed at the line by Aaron Donald. 4th and 1 saw a Burrow scramble nearly result in a completion, but Donald burst through the offensive line and wrapped up Burrow, who threw up a prayer that just fell short. A kneel by Stafford sent the Rams and So-Fi stadium into a frenzy, winning the Super Bowl and ending the greatest postseason in NFL history. Cooper Kupp was named MVP of the game, amassing 8 receptions for 92 yards and 2 Touchdowns.