Sydney McKinney-Williams, Staff Writer
Rams QB Matthew Stafford embraces WR Cooper Kupp after their winning score. Photo//Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images
The Los Angeles Rams were able to clinch their second Super Bowl title in franchise history, doing so at their own SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp came up clutch on the game-winning drive with multiple receptions and sealed the victory with a last minute touchdown catch from quarterback Matthew Stafford with 1:25 left on the clock.
This score, along with another touchdown catch and six more catches for 92 yards, earned Kupp the Super Bowl MVP award.
Star DT Aaron Donald tackles Bengals QB Joe Burrow to seal the win for LA. Photo//Andy Lyons/ Getty Images
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald also had the performance of lifetime with two sacks, both of which came in the second half, along with two tackles for loss and three QB hits
Donald was also responsible for knocking the ball out of Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow’s hands on a critical fourth-and-one play, which secured the win with 39 seconds left on the clock. Rams’ coach Sean McVay called it “poetic” for the offense to get the touchdown followed by Donald stopping the Bengals.
Stafford on the field prepping a crucial pass. Photo//Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SPORTS
The game started off with the Rams getting on the board first when QB Matthew Stafford threw a 17- yard touchdown to WR Odell Beckham Jr. in the first quarter. Later, Stafford struck again in the second quarter with an 11-yard TD pass to Kupp.
The Rams then took a big hit to their offense when Beckham Jr. went down awkwardly after a non-contact play, later diagnosed as a torn ACL, near the end of the second quarter. He did not return to the game, but instead remained on the sideline in hopes his team could finish the job. Beckham will undergo ACL surgery for a second time on the same knee, which held him up for almost 11 months the first time around last season.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. being helped off of the field after suffering knee injury. Photo//AJ Mast/ NY Times
The Bengals got their first touchdown of the contest when running back Joe Mixon executed a trick play and threw a six-yard touchdown pass to WR Tee Higgins. The game would go to halftime with the Rams leading 13-10.
The halftime show did not disappoint either with appearances from Dr. Dre, Mary J Blige, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and 50 Cent. The performance even had Bengals’ kicker Evan McPherson on the field watching them perform. The show lived up to the hype and gave fans a break from the back-and-forth action that was happening on the field.
The Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime show gave fans around the world a memorable show. Photo//Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Bengals kicker Evan McPherson stayed out for the halftime show and clearly had a good time. Photo//NBC
Cincinnati started the second half scorching hot, with Burrow connecting to Higgins on the first play for a 75-yard score. Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey lost his footing defending Higgins, but it came after Higgins grabbed his facemask, a penalty that went uncalled. This was a definite break for the Bengals as it gave them the lead 17-13.
The very next play, the Bengals got the ball right back with a Chidobe Awuzie interception from Stafford off the hands of WR Ben Skowronek. This put the Bengals in scoring position, but they only managed to tack on a field goal, extending their lead by seven.
Chidobe Awuzie gets the interception in the third quarter. Photo//Jack Carlough/ USA TODAY SPORTS
The Rams and the Bengals both had their strengths and weaknesses in this game. Stafford was 26/40 on pass attempts for 283 yards, three touchdown passes, and two interceptions. Stafford himself called his performance in the game “up and down.”
Burrow however, had no interceptions and was 22/33 on pass attempts for 263 yards and one touchdown pass, but he was sacked seven times. He, just like Stafford, had his high and low moments. Both quarterbacks also sustained injuries but were able to keep playing.
Ultimately, it was the Rams that stepped up in the brightest moments to take home the Lombardi while the Bengals’ youth and inexperience could not keep up.
Rams celebrate the big win during the trophy presentation. Photo// Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
On Wednesday, the Rams held their Super Bowl parade with around 20,000 loyal fans that ended in the plaza of the L.A. Coliseum.
Kupp showed up to the event with a Kobe Bryant jersey. During his speech, he gave recognition to the late, great basketball player. Kupp said, "I'm standing here in this city that knows nothing but championship…Kobe's a part of this…he set the standard.”
Beckham Jr. sprayed champagne on the fans from the float. McVay showed up with a huge bottle of champagne as well, which got everyone cheering right away. Donald and McVay also got the chants going about “running it back” to get another ring. This comes days after rumors that Donald would consider retirement if the Rams won the Super Bowl. This will become an intriguing storyline during the next couple months, but the Rams players and coaches have plenty to celebrate for in the meantime.