Los Angeles Rams Become Second Team to Win the Super Bowl at Home
The Los Angeles Rams are your Super Bowl LVI champions-- becoming the second consecutive (and second-ever) NFL team to win the league's championship game in its home stadium. The Rams defeated Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 at SoFi Stadium on Sunday night after yet another game-winning drive engineered by Matthew Stafford.
The Rams' passing game behind 283 yards and three touchdowns from Stafford led the way to victory. Stafford and WR Cooper Kupp were a lethal combination all year and stepped up in the biggest game. Kupp caught eight passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with 1:25 remaining, and was named the Super Bowl MVP.
The Bengals held firm and competed the whole game, even when they fell behind 13-3 early in the second quarter, and wound up taking a 17-13 lead to start the second half. QB Joe Burrow found WR Tee Higgins for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, and Cincinnati would quickly add a field goal after forcing an interception.
The game was a very defensive one for most of the second half as the teams traded punts. But then, LA was given a chance to change things with 4:48 left in the game. As he has done now 45 times in his career (6th most all-time), Stafford led his team down the field in crunch time.
It looked as if the Rams would face a 4th and goal from the eight-yard line, but a controversial penalty on Bengals LB Logan Wilson gave LA a new set of downs at the Cincinnati four-yard line. The Rams had a touchdown called back on the next play and forced another Cincinnati penalty on the ensuing play.
After Stafford was stopped short of the goal line on a QB sneak, the Rams needed a great call on 2nd & Goal as the game was slipping away. Stafford lined up under center, took one step back at the snap, and turned one loose toward Kupp in the front corner of the endzone. Kupp boxed out CB Eli Apple and went up for the game-winning touchdown.
The Bengals had 1:25 left to respond. The drive started with two promising completions to get the offense into Rams territory. However, the LA defense shut things down from there. Aaron Donald and Greg Gaines made a big stop on 3rd and 1, then Donald put some crucial pressure on Burrow to force an incompletion and seal the game.
The Bengals had the better game rushing the ball, but it wasn't enough. Burrow threw for 269 yards and a touchdown, while Higgins had 100 yards and two touchdowns on four receptions. Rookie Ja'Marr Chase added another 89 yards on five catches.
This is the Rams' first title in Sean McVay's five-year tenure, and it came with rumors of both McVay and defensive tackle Aaron Donald considering retirement.
If they do retire, it's one hell of a way to go out. McVay has only been a head coach for five years at just 36-years-old, has not had a losing record, and reached the Super Bowl twice. Donald is a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer and possibly the best defensive tackle to ever play the game.