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Super Bowl Review: Stars shine in LA as Rams edge brave Bengals

Rams defeat Bengals in 2022 Super Bowl

The Super Bowl was everything we had hoped it would be, and more. There were huge plays, controversial calls and stars balling out on the biggest stage in football. Here is a recap of Sunday’s big game.

Cincinnati Bengals vs Los Angeles Rams

Correct pick: Cincinnati Bengals +4
Final score: Los Angeles Rams 23, Cincinnati Bengals 20

The Bengals’ storybook season has come to an end, and what a season it was. After finishing in last place in the tough AFC North three years in a row, they took it upon themselves to flip the standings and take the cake as the top team in their division. Joe Burrow and company were underdogs throughout the majority of the playoffs and managed to find themselves one win away from taking home the Lombardi Trophy.

The Bengals were underdogs again to the third-seeded Rams in their home stadium in Los Angeles. The Rams have had something of a storybook season of their own. After getting off to a hot start, it seemed like they came back to earth in the middle of the campaign, even after acquiring Odell Beckham Jr and Von Miller midseason.

The Rams were built for a Super Bowl this year. There was a ton of pressure on Matthew Stafford after the Rams traded two first-round picks for the 34-year-old quarterback, and a lot of pressure on head coach Sean McVay as well after people around the league began to criticize him for being unable to win when it mattered. Since McVay’s hire, the Rams have had a great roster and it has only gotten better. McVay has led them to a Super Bowl once before and fell on his face as the team only put up three points and he got outcoached by Bill Belichick.

After so much anticipation, the game did not disappoint. It was the Rams who struck first on a Stafford-to-Beckham touchdown in the first quarter. Beckham has been perhaps the best midseason acquisition in recent memory and in the game eclipsed more touchdowns (7) with the Rams in 12 games than he did in two-and-a-half seasons with the Cleveland Browns. It was not all good for Beckham, however, as he went down grabbing his knee in the middle of the second quarter after torching the Bengals’ defense for 52 yards on two catches and a touchdown. It is being reported that Beckham re-tore his ACL and will likely miss part of the 2022 season.

The Rams went into halftime leading the Bengals 13-10, but this was just the beginning. On the first play of the second half, Burrow looked deep down the left side of the field for wide receiver Tee Higgins, who caught the ball and ran 75 yards for a quick Bengals touchdown. Higgins seemingly yanked the facemask of Jalen Ramsey, but the refs remained quiet. The Rams got the ball for the first time in the second half down 17-13, and on the first play of their drive Stafford looked to pass over the middle but it was intercepted by Chidobe Awuzie, setting the Bengals up with great field possession for more quick points.

The Bengals would take the lead on an Evan McPherson field goal and all of a sudden the Rams were down by seven points before they could gather their thoughts after halftime. After that, it was a pretty quiet game until the final drive by the Rams.

The difference in the game is that when the Rams needed their stars like Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, or Jalen Ramsey to step up to the plate, they did. With very little time left in the fourth quarter, Stafford decided he didn’t care if Kupp was double covered. The Rams trusted Kupp to win the battle, and win the battle he did. The duo of Stafford and Kupp marched right down the field on an extremely tough Bengals defense to take the lead with less than two minutes left, leaving Cincinnati suddenly down by three points.

Burrow and the Bengals took the field with hopes that they had one last magical drive in them, but it was Donald and Miller who shone the brightest during the most important drive of their lives. It was fourth down and one yard to go on the cusp of field-goal range when Donald broke through a putrid Bengals offensive line and pressured Burrow to throw the ball up in the air for an incomplete pass.

It happened. It finally happened. McVay didn’t choke the big game, Donald finally got his ring after multiple Pro Bowl selections and defensive player of the league awards, and Stafford proved that he is a top quarterback in the NFL. There were so many narratives around so many different players on the Rams, yet they were the ones to come through when it mattered and win their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

Kupp took home Super Bowl MVP honors as he hauled in eight receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Others in consideration were Donald with three tackles and two-and-a-half sacks including the game-clinching pressure, and Stafford with 283 yards and three touchdown passes.

The NFL will be gone until next September, but let us rejoice that we all got to watch one of the best NFL seasons in a very long time.

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