Propelled by wide receiver Cooper Kupp’s 92 receiving yards and two touchdowns, the Rams defeat the Bengals 23-20 in a Super Bowl for the ages.
By Edward Segal, Valley Life Editor
Despite struggling with their rush game all day long, the Rams rallied when they needed to most, bringing Los Angeles its third professional sports title in three years.
In a season where the Rams went all in, acquiring quarterback Matthew Stafford and signing wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., they were rewarded with their second chance in four seasons to win the Lombardi trophy. Losing the Super Bowl in 2019, the Rams took care of business this time around, coming back in the fourth quarter to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals and celebrating in SoFi Stadium — their home arena.
The Rams had a lot of history riding on the 2022 Super Bowl. Their city hosting for the first time since 1993, the Rams had a chance to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the second ever team to win in its own stadium.
The City of Angels backed its team, packing 70,048 fans into SoFi Stadium, even bringing joy to Angelenos who root for other teams.
“The Super Bowl coming to LA is very exciting,” said Monarchs’ tight end Dupree Fuller Jr. “As a young athlete I always wanted a team out in the city to cheer for and root for and even though I’m not a Rams fan, it still is kind of like a dream come true.”
The Rams came out looking to take control from the get-go, but the game was controlled by the defense early on as both teams prevented each other from scoring early on.
When the Rams reclaimed the ball, Stafford passed to wide receiver Cooper Kupp for a gain of 24 yards, setting up the Rams inside the 25-yard-line. Three plays later, Stafford sniped a pass into the endzone for Beckham Jr., who caught it midair for the first touchdown of the game.
Two possessions later, the Bengals were on the verge of tying the game when Burrow lobbed a pass to wide receiver JaMarr Chase, who made an acrobatic catch for a 46-yard gain.
Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey prevented the touchdown when he deflected a pass intended for wide receiver Tee Higgins, allowing only three points on the board for the Bengals to end the first quarter.
On the next play, Stafford threw a shotgun pass to Beckham, Jr. for 35 yards, moving into Bengals’ territory. Rams’ running back Darrell Henderson gained 25 on another long pass to enter the redzone.
Kupp then showed why he was named offensive MVP, catching a pass in the corner of the endzone while staying inbounds to increase the Rams lead to 10.
On the next possession, the Bengals rallied for first down after first down to reach first & goal at the Rams’ 7-yard line, and this time, converted as Higgins found himself wide open in the endzone for an easy touchdown catch.
The Rams now led 13-10 with under six minutes to play in the first half.
On 2nd & 9 at their own 45, Stafford threw the ball behind Beckham Jr., forcing the wide receiver to contort his body beyond its limits. Beckham Jr. went down in a heap and was taken to the medical tent for further examination. He never returned to the game.
It took the Bengals only 12 seconds to take the lead in the second half as Burrow sent a deep shot to Higgins for a 75-yard touchdown.
The Rams’ second-half struggles started to show as Stafford threw an interception on the very next possession, giving the Bengals a chance to grab a chokehold in the third quarter.
Three-time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald came through for the Rams with a huge sack that forced a Bengals’ field goal, keeping it a one-possession game.
The Rams struggled to gain yardage on the next play but Henderson came through with a catch at the 42-yard-line for a first down.
Los Angeles kept going, making it within the 25-yard line but overthrowing a pass meant for Stafford that brought up a fourth down, leading to the Rams’ only field goal of the game as kicker Matt Gay cut the deficit to four.
The next few possessions highlighted the inconsistency of both offenses as the teams went back and forth, giving each other the ball back, unable to do anything with it.
To start the fourth quarter, Los Angeles’ rushing struggles continued as they were forced into a 3rd & 7 situation that they could not convert.
The Bengals earned a first down for the first time in a while, making it to their 33-yard line on a pass caught by wide receiver Tyler Boyd.
However, the Rams came up with a clutch defensive stop, forcing the Bengals back on an unnecessary roughness penalty. Burrow went down on a sack and limped off the field, watching his team punt away to give Los Angeles a golden opportunity.
Another overthrown pass on 3rd & 4 with 10 minutes left gave the Rams a tough decision. They chose to punt for the third straight time.
Two possessions later, momentum seemed to shift when the Rams converted on 4th & 1 for their first first down in four possessions, thanks to Kupp running it in on a handoff from Stafford.
After tight end Brycen Hopkins and safety Jessie Bates III brought the Rams within 24 yards of taking the lead, the ball went into the hands of running back Cam Akers. Akers, who made a remarkable return after an achilles tear during training camp, ran the ball to the Cincinnati eight-yard-line with the two-minute warning looming, giving the Rams their best opportunity to clinch the title yet.
Under pressure, Stafford threw a touchdown pass to Kupp only to have it nullified because of offsetting penalties by both teams.
The 34-year-old quarterback would have to perform another miracle. Stafford threw an incompletion, but two more flags went down, a bit much for a game that hardly saw any up to that point.
A pass interference was called on the defense. bringing the Rams within a yard of taking the lead with 1:30 left.
On second down, Stafford threw it over the shoulder of Bengals cornerback Eli Apple to Cooper Kupp for the game-winning touchdown catch.
With 1:25 left on the clock, the Rams, up 23-20, needed one more stop.
Forcing 4th & 1 with 43 seconds remaining, the Rams had to get one last stop to earn the Super Bowl title.
Burrow, the Comeback Player of the Year, was forced to throw the ball as he circled back. The ball was almost caught by Perine, but the minute it touched the ground, the crowd of So-Fi stadium erupted in celebration.
Cooper Kupp was named Super Bowl MVP as the Rams won their first Super Bowl since 2000.
“The way we prepared, the way we loved on each other, the way we trusted each other, I don’t feel deserving of this,” said Kupp. “I’m just so thankful for the guys, I don’t know what to say.”