The Los Angeles Rams won their second-ever Lombardi Trophy after a close 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Rams’ newly acquired quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for three touchdowns as their impressive defensive front was able to clamp the Bengals offence to the tune of seven total sacks.
This was Stafford’s first ever Super Bowl appearance, despite being drafted with the first overall pick by the Detroit Lions in 2009.
It is the second time in recent history that the Rams have been to the Super Bowl, after an embarrassing 13-3 loss against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 53.
It was clear that coach Sean McVay had learned a lot from that loss, as his team were able to dig deep this time around, and he now holds the record of being the youngest Super Bowl-winning head coach.
2021’s Offensive Player of the Year (OPOY), Cooper Kupp, was named the Super Bowl MVP. The wide receiver had a huge day, with 99 total yards to go with two touchdowns.
The Bengals had an opportunity to win their franchise’s first Super Bowl but fell short at the last hurdle. This was the first time in over 30 years that the team had won a playoff game, capping off an exciting season with a disappointing loss.
The result means that the Bengals will have the 31st pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Rams traded their first-round pick (in exchange for Stafford), meaning the Lions will receive the 32nd overall pick.
The Los Angeles Rams hosted the Super Bowl at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. They became just the second team to ever host the showpiece event, following in the footsteps of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year. Both teams won the Super Bowl, making host teams two-for-two in the Super Bowl.
Unlike last year, attendance was not limited, allowing a packed stadium.
The atmosphere from the stadium could truly be felt during the half-time show. This year’s performance included Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem, and fans were also treated to a surprise appearance from 50 Cent.
With the half-time show line-up receiving a large backlash when it was originally announced, the imminent reaction to the performance told a whole different story, with many claiming it was one of the greatest half-time performances of all time.
Despite the game being advertised as an offensive showdown, it started with two stout defences.
Kupp eventually took the game by the scruff of the neck, however, as he carried the Rams down the field and into the endzone with less than two minutes left on the clock
The deadlock was broken by Odell Beckham Jr. as Stafford was able to exploit the one-on-one coverage and find Beckham Jr. in the endzone for the first touchdown of the game.
The Bengals quickly responded with a field goal following an impressive one-handed grab by Ja’Marr Chase, but they were left in an even deeper hole after Stafford found Kupp wide open in the endzone for the Rams’ second touchdown. A slither of hope was restored for the Bengals though as the extra point attempt was botched by the Rams.
As the end of the second quarter approached, the Bengals found some momentum as a trick play near the goal-line resulted in running back Joe Mixon throwing a six-yard touchdown to Tee Higgins. Mixon became just the fifth non-quarterback to throw a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl with the most recent being Trey Burton’s famous ‘Philly Special’ to Nick Foles in Super Bowl 52.
The half ended as Stafford was intercepted by Jessie Bates on a deep throw intended for Van Jefferson. Earlier in the quarter, the Rams had lost Beckham Jr. to a concerning knee injury, which resulted in coach McVay needing to rely on his backups a bit more.
The score entering the half was 13-10 to the Rams, though momentum favoured the Bengals greatly.
The Bengals momentum carried into the second half as they scored a controversial 75-yard touchdown on the very first play of the third quarter. Quarterback Joe Burrow found Higgins open against cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who had slipped after Higgins had seemingly tugged his facemask.
It went from bad to worse for the Rams as Stafford’s first play of the second half resulted in an interception. Chidobe Awuzie was able to snag the ball after a deflection off Jake Skowronek’s fingertips.
The Bengals could only get a field goal out of it though as both sides exchanged field goals to close out the third quarter.
The fourth quarter became a defensive dogfight, with Burrow being constantly under pressure throughout the second half.
Kupp eventually took the game by the scruff of the neck, however, as he carried the Rams down the field and into the endzone with less than two minutes left on the clock.
Up by three, it was down to the Rams defence to stop the Bengals – and they managed it. Heavy pressure from Aaron Donald, beating a double team, resulted in a botched throw by Burrow, which sealed the game for the hosts.