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Rams Win Super Bowl LVI; Beating Bengals 23-20 in Los Angeles, Kupp Earns MVP
By Jarred Davis, Contributing Writer
Published February 14, 2022

Rams celebrate while holding the Vince Lombardi trophy in a 23-20 win over Bengals in Super Bowl LVI (Courtesy Photo)

Relying on its defensive front all season, All-Pro lineman Aaron Donald delivered when it mattered most for the Los Angeles Rams and NFL Offensive Player of the Year, Cooper Kupp capped a dramatic drive in the final moments.

Rams linebacker Von Miller (40) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Donald pressured Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow into an incomplete pass on fourth and one with 39 seconds left, enabling the Rams to seal the 23-20 victory to claim Super Bowl LVI on Sunday night at So-Fi stadium in front of 70,048 fans.

“Mission completed,” said Donald, who had two of Los Angeles’ seven sacks and helped the Rams win its first NFL title since 1999 and their first representing L.A. since 1951.

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“I wanted it so bad. I dreamed this,” Donald added.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford engineered a 15-play, 79-yard drive that ended with him finding his go-to wideout in Kupp, who scored a one-yard touchdown with 1:25 left to take a 23-20 advantage.

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) makes the touchdown catches that gave the Rams the 23-20 advantage. Bengals cornerback Eli Apple (20) defends him(E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

“For the offense to be able to find a way, and then Aaron to be able to finish it off,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “It’s poetic.” McVay became the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl at 36 years and 20 days old.

For a second straight year, the hometown team left hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Los Angeles became the second team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl in its home stadium after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won at home in Raymond James Stadium just last season.

Kupp finished his playoff run catching 33 passes for 478 yards and six touchdowns, earning Super Bowl MVP for the Rams. Kupp had eight receptions for 92 yards and two scores.

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“I don’t feel deserving of this,” said Kupp, who also converted a fourth-down attempt with a run. “The guys standing here challenged me, they pushed me.

Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr (3) makes the first touchdown for the Rams during the Super Bowl (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

“I am just so grateful.” It just comes down to this team and the way we prepared, the way we loved on each other, trusted each other,” Kupp added.

Stafford finished 26-of-40 for 283 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Even after throwing interceptions to end the second period and to start the third, there was no doubt from his coaches and teammates that he would still deliver.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) forces Joe Burrow to throw game sealing incompletion on fourth-and-one in the fourth period in a 23-20 victory over Bengals. (Courtesy Photo)

“You put the ball in your best players’ hands…and now he’s a World Champion,” McVay said of Stafford, who completed his first nine of 10 passes for 127 yards and two scores in the first half.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr caught a 17-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter to give the Rams a 7-0 lead before heading to the locker room with an apparent non-contact injury to his left knee near the end of the second quarter, being ruled out for the rest of the game.

Confetti falls as the Rams become Super Bowl champions (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

With the score, the veteran wide receiver recorded his seventh score as a Ram in 11 games, tying the mark he had his entire career as a Cleveland Brown. Kupp scored in the second period on an 11-yard TD to earn a 10-point advantage, 13-3 with 12:51 remaining.

“World Champion, God is good. It was all a part of the plan,” Beckham Jr. said.

“We wanted to be in attack mode and pressure them as much as possible,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.”

Cincinnati quickly responded when Bengals tailback Joe Mixon threw a perfectly placed pass to Tee Higgins on a trick play for a six-yard score, cutting their halftime deficit to three, 13-10.

The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Arizona Cardinals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals to become Super Bowl Champions (E. Mesiyah McGinnis)

“I was disappointed in my performance overall,” said Burrow, who was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year this season after tearing his ACL and MCL in 2020. “That’s going to propel us into next year … we’re not satisfied with what we did this year.”

The 25-year-old completed 22 of 33 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown but was unable to avoid the Rams ferocious defensive line being sacked seven times.

The Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show included performances by Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar,
and Eminem with a surprise performance by 50 Cent (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

The Bengals scored 10 unanswered points less than five minutes into the second half to take a 20-13 lead. Burrow connected with Higgins on a 75-yard strike, his second receiving score of the night which came on hauling in a contested ball over the outstretched hands of Rams star defensive back Jalen Ramsey.

On the next possession, Stafford was picked off for the second time of the evening as Chidobe Awuzie picked off a pass intended for Ben Skowronek, which then led to a field goal for Cincinnati.

Rams wideout Odell Beckham Jr. scored a 17-yard touchdown in the first period during a 23-20 win at Super Bowl LVI (Courtesy Photo)

Bengals rookie kicker Evan McPherson converted field goals in the first and third period, making 14 FGs this postseason, tying Adam Vinatieri for the most ever in a single postseason.

“A lot of teams would have folded,” McVay said, once his team trailed mostly through the second half. Rams kicker Matt Gay converted a 41-yard field goal with less than six minutes left in the fourth, cutting their deficit to four, 20-16.

Los Angeles then put the game away when Kupp found the endzone on a lengthy near five-minute drive that ended with a one-yard score with 1:25 left in the game and the Bengals were unable to complete a winning stretch thanks to Donald providing pressure on Burrow on the final possession.

Bengals wide reciever Tee Higgins (85) makes the first touchdown catch for Cincinnati (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Midseason acquisitions of Von Miller and Beckham Jr. paid off in a huge way, as both players complemented an already strong roster that was put together by Rams General Manager Les Snead.

“Man, it just doesn’t seem real. God is good, man,” Miller said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be here with all of these guys. Great coaching here, great city. I got great teammates.”

Rams head coach Sean McVay poses with the Vince Lombardi trophy (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Miller recorded two sacks on Burrow in the second half and tied Charles Haley for the most career sacks in a Super Bowl with (4.5). The veteran star pass rusher had 2.5 sacks as Super Bowl 50 MVP against the Panthers in 2015.

“That’s what I do better than anything else in the world, I’m a great dad, I’m a great brother, I’m a great son, a great teammate,” Miller added, “but rushing the passer in those moments, that’s what I do better than anything else in the world, man, and it feels good to come out on top.”

Rams wide reciever Cooper Kupp poses with the Super Bowl MVP trophy (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

R&B Superstar Mary J. Blige performing during the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Iconic rapper Snoop Dogg performs during the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Rams owner Stan Kroenke hold Lombardi trophy during championship ceremony (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Inglewood Mayor James Butts speaks at press conference after the Super Bowl (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Ads about the Rams play in downtown Los Angeles (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Categories: Football | Local | Sports
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