Rams Late 4th Quarter Comeback Enough to Outlast Bengals and Win Super Bowl LVI

Rams claw their way back after wild 2nd half to win their second Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.

Super Bowl LVI could only be defined as a game for the ages between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals at Sofi Stadium, in Inglewood, California. (The game had standouts during the game and in the middle of it, with a star-studded halftime show featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, and Eminem.) Before the last two Super Bowls, no team had ever played a Super Bowl game in their home stadium, and it happened back to back games in back to back years. America learned to favor the Bengals in this matchup, mainly due to the rise in likeness of second year quarterback Joe “Sheisty” Burrow, but also because of how big of an underdog this team was. The Bengals were by no means expected to be in the Super Bowl this year, having a whopping 150-1 odds to win the Super Bowl at the start of the season, while the Rams had more favorable 12-1 odds. In other words, the Rams were “supposed” to be there, while the Bengals, not so much.
Halfway through the game, the Rams found their backs against the wall after a controversial no call of Offensive Pass Interference on a 75-yard touchdown by Bengals receiver Tee Higgins to start the third quarter, followed by an interception by Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie on the ensuing drive. Momentum was not on their side, and they had little to work with. WR Odell Beckham Jr., who had scored the Rams first touchdown, left the game early in the second quarter after a non-contact knee injury that kept him sidelined for the rest of the game. They also struggled to move the ball on the ground, tallying a horrific 43 yards on 23 rushing attempts, a 1.9 yards per carry stat.
But, the Rams clawed their way back through their formidable defense, specifically through their defensive line, led by stars Aaron Donald and Von Miller. The defensive line was extremely quiet in the first half, recording only 1 sack in that time. But they turned it around and sacked Burrow 6 times in the second half alone, with Donald and Miller combining for 4 of the 7 total sacks. Burrow and the Bengals were stuck in their tracks in the fourth quarter, which became the turning point in the game.
The Rams lengthy, game-winning drive started with 6:13 left in the fourth quarter, down 16-20, and it would be star WR Cooper Kupp to come to the rescue for Los Angeles. In the Rams 15-play final drive, Stafford completed 4 catches to Kupp for 39 yards. As the Rams got closer to the endzone, the game went from its laissez-faire refereeing of 3 flags in the first 58 minutes to 3 flags in the final two minutes of the game. The Rams solidified their comeback with a 1-yard touchdown to Kupp with 1:25 left in the game.
With one drive left, fans expected Joe Burrow and co. to answer the Rams score with a chance to tie it up while down 20-23. After a quick 28 yards in two plays, the Bengals were close to a position of tying the game, but they stalled on the next 2 plays, leading to a 4th and 1 from the LA 49 yard line with 43 seconds left. On 4th down, it would be Aaron Donald who would step up and force his 284-pound body through the weak Bengals offensive line, wrapping up Burrow and forcing him to throw up a prayer that would fall incomplete and unanswered.
The Rams would kneel it out and win their second Lombardi Trophy in franchise history in full team performance. Cooper Kupp would go on to win Super Bowl MVP after racking up 8 receptions for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns. Many fans were satisfied with the outcome of the game after much contemplation about who would inevitably become world champions. For Los Angeles, QB Matthew Stafford finally was given an opportunity to play for a winning franchise like the Rams and delivered, Odell Beckham Jr. was seen as “washed” and a player who would never contribute to winning football again, Aaron Donald solidified what could be the end of an illustrious career of dominance, and 40-year old offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and 37-year old safety Eric Weddle would end their hall of fame careers with rings.
As for the Bengals, their feel good story comes to the end, but the game showed to the world that they can get back into the Big Game again and that they aren’t necessarily a “fluke” team. The Bengals are a young team filled with high potential and talented players who may take them back to the Super Bowl, but potential can only go so far.