The big game opened with two former #1 overall picks, both wearing #9 starting on opposing sidelines for coaches who ran similar offensive schemes.
A very interesting set of coincidences, to be sure.
The festivities started with a coin toss that did NOT go in favor of the underdog Bengals with it landing Heads after the Bengals called Tails.
Cincinnati won the toss….and now will try to snap this streak. https://t.co/xcYbV7QP8W— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 13, 2022
The Rams drew up some solid plays but the Bengals forced a punt and despite good field position, were not able to convert in 3rd or 4th and short and the Rams took over at the 50 yard line.
The game opened with a TD score on 3rd down to OBJ after a long catch & run by Kupp:
It was an early lead for the Rams, who have had a lot of success
The Bengals were able to answer following maybe the early contender for catch of the game by rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase, but only for a Field Goal:
The Rams and Bengals worked down and then a long pass from Stafford to Darrell Henderson paid off with a wide open Cooper Kupp in the endzone.
However, a missed extra point (dropped by Hekker) turned it into momentum for the Bengals, who rode RB Joe Mixon all the way down to the redzone and then....the trickeration from Cincy!
A halfback pass for a touchdown!
Call it luck, call it momentum, but the Bengals found some life and some ability on defense.
One of the biggest turning points in the game happened halfway through the second quarter with a non-contact injury to Odell Beckham Jr.
We won’t show it due to the graphic nature of injuries but it was a left knee injury and with non-contact...let’s hope all the best for his recovery.
He went to the locker room after going to the blue tent and walked off under his own power.
To close out the half, Stafford had the Rams driving and was beating the blitz. And then...the Bengals dropped 8 and Stafford decided to go for it all...
Is he about to get paid? Yes. Yes he is.
The Rams led at the half, and of course as almost everyone knows, Sean McVay’s Rams when leading at halftime have only lost ONCE: this past season in Week 18 to the San Francisco 49ers.
A few Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige songs later...
The second half began.
Cincinnati, however, decided to try to put a dent into that by opening the second half with a bang. A HUGE 75 yard strike to Tee Higgins (with a facemask non-call that surely won’t be controversial)
Tee Higgins with his second touchdown of the day.
And after that, the Bengals took it right back off of a pass that was dropped by the WR because, of course, no Odell Beckham Jr.
The Rams, of course, wouldn’t go away because Aaron Donald is inevitable.
The all-world defensive tackle got into a bit of a sideline scrum and ended up sacking Joe Burrow to force a field goal and keep it a one score game.
Rams get home on third down, Aaron Donald. Bear got poked.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) February 14, 2022
The Rams were able to move the ball, but a trick play with a pass to a wide open Matthew Stafford by Cooper Kupp...ooh just missed. It forced a Rams FG to make it a 20-16 Bengals lead in the 3rd quarter.
As the 3rd quarter came to a close, the Rams were working to hurry up but the Bengals were still getting pressure.
But so were the Rams. And Joe Burrow took a beating and a hit to the knee that had him yelping in pain.
The story of the 4th quarter was...the Rams inability to run the ball & issues on offense...
the rams should trying running it again it’ll probably work next time— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) February 14, 2022
...And the Bengals doing the same but with their offensive line.
Joe Burrow has suddenly been sacked six times.— Marc Sessler (@MarcSessler) February 14, 2022
In the end, the referees had a few flags that went out that put the Rams right into the redzone and Cooper Kupp caught the go-ahead touchdown.
Just what a season he’s had.
Cooper Kupp had 6 targets before that drive started.— Robert Mays (@robertmays) February 14, 2022
They just threw him the ball 6 times on that DRIVE.
In the end, the missed extra point mattered but the game came down to just two plays.
3rd and 1? Aaron Donald.
4th and 1? Aaron Donald again.
Arguably the best player in the NFL (not just best defensive player) stepped up when the game counted the most and secured a Super Bowl for Los Angeles.
Tears of joy from OBJ and Aaron Donald pic.twitter.com/pDTZZ8JMUH— SB Nation (@SBNation) February 14, 2022
Sadly the legend of Joe Burrow came to an end on that final play. Cooper Kupp was named MVP and Stafford, Donald, OBJ, Head Coach Sean McVay and more all have Super Bowl Rings.
Congrats to the Rams, best of luck next season, Bengals.
That’s now two teams in a row that have won Super Bowls in their home stadium...could the Arizona Cardinals make it 3 in a row next season?
Time will tell.