Everyone had something to prove. This was Matthew Stafford’s first season with the Rams after playing his first 12 seasons in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. With nobody viewing them as a Super Bowl team, Joe Burrow and the Bengals had to shatter all expectations. Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium remained a close, on-the-edge-of-your-seat matchup until the very end with the Rams taking it all.
The Los Angeles Rams won their first Super Bowl at home on Sunday in a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Rams head coach Sean McVay is now the youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl. He turned 36 on January 24, surpassing Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who was 36 years, 10 months, and 18 days old when he won Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.
With Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp scoring the first two touchdowns of the day, the Rams controlled much of the first half. The Bengals picked up momentum in the second quarter with a trick play that led to a touchdown and interception by safety Jessie Bates III. This tempo change was crucial for the Bengals, as receiver Tee Higgins caught a 75-yard touchdown in the first 12 seconds of the half and 10 seconds later, cornerback Chidobe Awuzie picked off a pass from Stafford.
With a lot of back and forth, it was anyone’s game at the start of the fourth quarter. The uncertainty lasted until the final two minutes, where Cooper Kupp — after a long drive that included 15 plays (four runs and 10 passes) — scored a crucial touchdown, giving the Rams a three-point lead. The Bengals were unable to answer back on fourth down, ending the game.
With eight receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns in the Big Game, Cooper Kupp was named Super Bowl MVP (and NFL’s offensive player of the year on Thursday). “I’m just so happy, I wanted this so bad. I dreamed this, man. I dreamed this and it’s, like, surreal,” Rams’ Aaron Donald mentioned with tears in his eyes. Stafford was quick to say how every guy on the team deserved the win.
After Sunday night’s game, Burrow tweeted out, “Sorry we couldn’t get it done. Proud of our team and our fans. Love these guys.” Despite the heartbreak, Burrow told ESPN that the Bengals have to let the loss fuel them and, at the very least, they will be celebrating their accomplishments this season. Wide receiver Tyler Boyd echoed this sentiment by saying, “We just have to continue to build and stick together and stay connected as a team — as long as we do that then we will continue to prosper bigger achievements.”