LA Rams Beat Bengals, Wins Super Bowl LVI

LA Rams win Super Bowl at home in front of West Coast audience./LA Rams

By Johan Abdu


   The Los Angeles Rams won Super Bowl LVI against the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20, with ginormous support from their home crowd in California.

   “I’m just so proud of this team. There’s so many guys on our team that deserved this,” said Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford. “Guys that have given their heart and soul to this team, guys that are either playing in this game or not…that game today was the story of our season.”

   There was a lot of pressure on the Rams to qualify for the playoffs, as the team previously reached the Super Bowl with quarterback Jared Goff, who was sent to the Detroit Lions for Stafford in Oct. 2021.

   Stafford played a lot of meaningless games for the Detroit Lions, but all six of LA’s games against their NFC West opponents were on primetime television and had the feel of playoff games. Stafford adjusted well to his new team, with Coach Sean McVay calling him “a bad motherf—.”

   Even before their new look, and a shiny new stadium, the Rams have been a consistent playoff team since 2017. They have what is considered to be the best defensive lineman in Aaron Donald and the league’s best cornerback in Jalen Ramsey, despite losing three key players on their defense in John Johnson III, Troy Hill, and Michael Brockers. With an upgraded quarterback, a top-five defense, and one of the smartest head coaches in the NFL, this team had the pieces to lift the Lombardi Trophy.

   Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. scored the first touchdown of the night early into the first quarter, and from that point on, Los Angeles was in the driving seat. The Rams, however, were dealt a major blow to their offense when Beckham suffered a left knee injury and was eventually ruled out in the third quarter. The injury, coupled with the Rams struggling in the run game, placed wide receiver Cooper Kupp under more pressure.

   The Bengals, making their first Super Bowl appearance since 1988, had bragging rights going into this encounter with an 8-6 record over the Rams in all competitions. The Bengals weren’t even likely to end up on the losing end after having the league’s worst record two years earlier.

    Halftime began in favor of the Rams, 13 – 10. The Pepsi Halftime Show was headlined by a quintet of hip-hop and R&B heavyweights: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, and Eminem. With a surprise appearance by 50 Cent, they played some of their chart-topping hits, such as “Lose Yourself,” “No More Pain,” “Still D.R.E,” and more to a roaring West Coast crowd with celebs like Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, and LeBron James. 

   After the performance, the Rams couldn’t handle the Bengals going into the third quarter but quickly played them at their own high offensive game. And as he had done all season, Kupp made a massive timely catch, making the go-ahead touchdown from Stafford with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter as part of a MVP comeback effort. Kupp finished with eight catches for 92 yards and two scores.

   The game would finish 23-20 and proved to be a big example of this new Rams look with McVay being the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl at 36 years old. As for Stafford, winning the big one was all just hard work with Kupp behind him. 

   “I mean — that’s hard work, it’s hours together. I just thank Coach for putting it: ‘Hey, you and Kuppo get this thing done,’ ” said Stafford. “He kept calling plays for him, kept finding ways to get him the ball, he made unbelievable plays, that’s what he does.”

   With their victory, the Rams won their first Super Bowl since 1999 when they were still based in St. Louis, Missouri. As for the Bengals, the team remains without a Super Bowl victory in only three appearances for the franchise.

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