Super Bowl LVI — Bengals and Rams


By Ron Griffitts

Contributing columnist

Super Bowl LVI was played at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, California on February 13, 2022 between the Cincinnati Bengals (13-7) coached by Zac Taylor with offensive coordinator Brian Callahan and the Los Angeles Rams (15-5) coached by Sean McVay with offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.

Three years earlier, when the Rams were in Super Bowl LIII, Zac Taylor was Sean McVay’s quarterbacks coach.

The wild card Bengals were an unlikely Super Bowl participant as only two years before, the team had compiled a 2-14 record but with the selection of Joe Burrow in the 2020 and Ja’Marr Chase in the 2021 draft together with other young players and free agent signings the Bengals had improved. But few expected them to be in the Super Bowl.

They were led on offense by quarterback Joe Burrow playing in his second NFL season who threw for 4611 yards and 34 touchdowns with a 108.3 passer rating, running back Joe Mixon (1205 yards, 13 TD’s), receivers Ja’Marr Chase (1455 yards, 13 TD’s), Tyler Boyd (828 yards, 5 TD’s), Tee Higgins (1091 yards, 6 TD’s) and C. J. Uzomah (493 yards, 5 TD’s).

They were led on defense by Vonn Bell with 64 tackles, Logan Wilson with 57 tackles and 4 interceptions, Jessie Bates III with 67 tackles, Germaine Pratt with 57 and Chidobe Awusie with 53. Trey Hendrikson led in sacks with 14 while Sam Hubbard had 7.5 and Larry Ogunjobi had 7.

Their kicker was rookie Evan McPherson who made 28 of 33 field goal attempts including game winning field goals in the Bengals’ last two playoff games against the Titans and the Chiefs.

The Rams were led on offense by quarterback Matthew Stafford who after having spent the first twelve years of his career in Detroit, was traded to the Rams where he passed for 4886 yards and 41 touchdowns and had a 102.9 passer rating. They had at running back Sony Michel (845 yards, 4 TD’s) and Darrell Henderson (688 yards, 5 TD’s) and receivers Cooper Kupp (1947 yards, 16 TD’s), Van Jefferson (802 yards, 6 TD’s), Robert Woods (556 yards, 4 TD’s) and Tyler Higbee (560 yards, 5 TD’s)

They were led on defense by Jordan Fuller with 63 tackles, Taylor Rapp with 64 tackles and 4 interceptions and Jalen Ramsey with 62 tackles and 4 interceptions. Aaron Donald had 12.5 sacks and forced 4 fumbles and Leonard Floyd had 9.5 sacks.

Their kicker was Matt Gay who converted on 32 of 34 field goal attempts.

The Rams scored first on a 17-yard pass play from Stafford to Odell Beckham, Jr who earlier in the year had been with the Cleveland Browns. The play was set up by a 20-yard pass from Stafford to Cooper Kupp. The extra point was good and the Rams led 7-0.

Evan McPherson kicked a 29-yard field goal for the Bengals and the Rams led 7-3 after the first quarter.

The Rams scored again on an 11-yard pass play from Stafford to Cooper Kupp set up by a 35-yard pass play from Matthew Stafford to Odell Beckham, Jr. to make the score 13-3 after Germaine Pratt intercepted the two-point conversion.

The Bengals got a touchdown before halftime on a six-yard pass from Joe Mixon to Tee Higgins. Evan McPherson converted the extra point and the score at halftime was 13-10 in favor of the Rams after Jessie Bates intercepted Matthew Stafford in the end zone to prevent another Rams’ score.

On the first offensive play of the second half, Joe Burrow connected with Tee Higgins for a 75-yard touchdown play which together with the extra point gave the Bengals the lead 17-13.

Later in the third quarter, Evan McPherson kicked a 38-yard field goal to make the score 20-13 in favor of Cincinnati. Matt Gay added a field goal for the Rams and the two teams went into the fourth quarter with a 20-16 Bengals’ lead.

In the fourth quarter, the two teams struggled back and forth until Stafford engineered the Rams downfield starting with 6:13 left on the clock and scored on a one-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp and as the extra point was good the Rams took the lead 23-20.

With 1:25 left in the game, Burrow was able to get a couple of quick completions to Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd to get to the LA 49-yard line and had a second and one there. But in three tries, could not get that last yard for a first down and the Rams takeover on downs with 39 seconds left and go on to win 23-20.

It was the Rams second Super Bowl victory but first in Los Angeles as the other one was when the team was in St. Louis. Cooper Kupp got the game MVP.

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