As the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams faced off in Inglewood, California, all eyes were on the 56th Super Bowl. The big game had built up a lot of anticipation after the close battles of the previous playoff rounds. This game was indeed a tight one up until the final moments.
The game started off well for the Rams and, their defense after they forced a turnover on downs, Matthew Stafford would find Odell Beckham Jr. in the endzone for the first points of the game for the Rams. That would be almost all of the action OBJ would have as he left the game early in the first half with an injury. The Bengals would have a response and trim the Rams lead to only 7-3 after the first quarter of play.
The Rams were able to respond and drive down the length of the field as Matthew Stafford found Offensive Player of The Year Cooper Kupp in the back of the endzone. A special team's miscue on the extra point would keep the Rams lead at 13-3. The Bengals had a stellar drive to respond to the Rams, which was capped off by some trickery that allowed running back Joe Mixon to throw a pass to Tee Higgins in the back of the endzone. After a key interception from Jessie Bates III in the endzone, the Bengals were able to hold the Rams to 13-10 going into the half. While the teams were making halftime adjustments in the locker room, quite the halftime show was going on the field with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, and a special appearance by Anderson Paak on the drums.
The Bengals wasted no time getting back in the game, as Joe Burrow found Tee Higgins for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the 3rd quarter. That play did garner attention as there was a questionable no-call on what appeared to be an offensive penalty by Higgins. The Bengals Defense also got a huge interception on the very next play which set up a short-field and an Evan McPherson chip-shot field goal. As many fans were getting settled in after halftime, the Bengals sprung to a 20-13 lead. The Rams would not falter and were able to tack on 3 more points from the leg of Matt Gay. This cut the Bengals lead to 20-16 going into the final quarter of the NFL season.
Both offenses struggled to find a rhythm to start the 4th quarter, but the ball would be in the hands of Matthew Stafford and the Rams with 6:13 left to play. Matthew Stafford would find Cooper Kupp multiple times in their drive down the field. Cooper Kupp would once again find the ball in the end zone to give the Rams a 3 point lead with just 1:25 seconds remaining. The Bengals started their own drive out well looking to tie or take the lead, but they would reach a critical 4th and 1 at midfield with Super Bowl on the line. 3-time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald was able to rush through the offensive line and force a game-ending incompletion to seal the Super Bowl. The Rams pass rush proved to be a difference--in the game as Joe Burrow was sacked seven times which tied the Super Bowl record.
The Rams were proud to hoist the Lombardi trophy for the second time ever in front of their home crowd. The Rams had not won the big game since Iowa native Kurt Warner lead the greatest show on turf to super bowl glory. The Rams have now brought home Lombardi trophies to two different cities, St. Louis, and now Los Angeles. The Bengals have now fallen to 0-3 in Super Bowls, with all losses coming to California teams. It truly was an unforgettable NFL playoffs that was capped off by a Super Bowl that lived up to the hype, and helped put a bow on this year’s football season.