By: Abby Altman
On Sunday night, the Los Angeles Rams became the 2nd team in NFL history to become Super Bowl champs in their home stadium. This rare feat has now been accomplished in consecutive years, last year being won by the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay.
The Rams took an early advantage in the game, stopping the Bengals on 4th and 1 in their first drive, gaining excellent field position at their own 49 yard line. The Rams capitalized with a 17 yard bullet from Matthew Stafford to Odell Beckham Jr. in the end zone.
The Bengals responded with a field goal drive, propelled by Ja’marr Chase’s 30 yard catch at the 15. Evan McPherson’s kick was good from 29 yards, to close out the 1st quarter Rams 7, Bengals 3.
The start of the 2nd quarter began with a Rams touchdown to Cooper Kupp. The extra point was fumbled by Rams placeholder John Hekker, and intercepted by the Bengals, holding the score 13-3. With 5 minutes left in the half, the Bengals charged downfield, capping off their drive with a touchdown pass to Tee Higgins, made by the Bengals RB Joe Mixon.
2 minutes into the Rams drive, Stafford attempted a short pass to Odell Beckham Jr., which resulted in an incomplete pass, and Beckham on the ground with a non contact ACL tear. He walked off the field with assistance, and was eventually ruled out for the remainder of the game.
The Rams were unable to score, ending their drive with an Interception in the endzone just before the 2 minute warning. The Bengals, unable to score, headed into the locker room with a score of Rams 13, Bengals 10.
The Bengals came out of halftime fired up. It took just 12 seconds for the Bengals to take their first lead of the game, on a 40 yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins. The Bengals almost immediately got the ball back, on an interception by Chidobe Awuzie, intended for WR Ben Skowronek, who was in the game replacing OBJ. The interception turned into a Bengals 38 yard field goal by McPherson, putting the Bengals up by 7 in the 3rd quarter.
The 4th quarter started with the Bengals up by 4. With 12 minutes left in the game, Joe Burrow was sacked, and went down with an apparent knee injury. Burrow limped off the field, but declined medical attention. Burrow said he wasn’t coming out of the Super Bowl.
The 4th quarter remained scoreless until there was just 1:25 left on the clock, when Stafford connected with Kupp for the touchdown, putting the Rams up by 3. With 45 seconds left in the game, on 4th and 1, Joe Burrow was sacked, ending the game Rams 23, Bengals 20.
Joe Burrow was sacked 7 times in this game, 5 more times than Stafford, putting a heavy emphasis on the lack of a Bengals offensive line.
Burrow went 22/33 on Sunday, with just 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. Ja’marr Chase had 5 receptions for 89 yards, but was not able to land any of them in the end zone.
Stafford went 26/40, with 3 touchdowns, along with 2 interceptions. Cooper Kupp had 8 receptions for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kupp was named Super Bowl LVI MVP.