The game taking the nation by storm, year after year
The Los Angeles Rams were favored to receive the Lombardi Trophy over the Cincinnati Bengals at the 56th annual Super Bowl, and they delivered.
The kickoff at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California occurred at 6:30 p.m. It was expected to be about 80 degrees around the time of kickoff, making it the hottest Super Bowl on record.
The Bengals won the coin toss, performed by legendary athlete Billie Jean King to honor the 50th anniversary of Title IX and equity across sports. The Bengals deferred, having the Rams start the game with the ball.
Evan McPherson, placekicker for the Bengals, booted the opening kickoff for a touchback. The Rams started the game at their own 25 yard line. The first quarter saw impressive moves from the Rams. With six minutes left in the first quarter, the first touchdown of the game was made. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford sent the ball to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., securing the touchdown with a leaping catch. Rams 7, Bengals 0. McPherson puts the Bengals on the board with 28 seconds left in the quarter, scoring the team a field goal. Rams 7, Bengals 3. With the first quarter drawing to a close, it’ll be second-and-11 for the Rams from their 25 yard line to start the second quarter.
The second quarter started with an incompletion as Stafford was looking for the Rams’ wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Another big play for the Rams came along shortly after, with a 25-yard pass out of the backfield to running back Darrell Henderson. The Rams came in with another touchdown, coming from Stafford hitting Cupp wide open in the back of the end zone. Rams 13, Bengals 3. The Bengals first play, made by wide receiver Tyler Boyd, was an 11-yard pickup. The Bengals made three straight gains in the double digits – a gain of ten yards on a catch by wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and a gain of 14 yards on a run by running back Joe Mixon. With five minutes left, the Bengals scored a touchdown. On second-and-goal, the team ran a trick play as Mixon threw to wide receiver Tee Higgins to score. Rams 13, Bengals 10. Shortly after, bad news came in for the Rams; Beckham Jr. came tumbling down after failure to capture a pass from Stafford, and was taken off the field to a medical tent with four minutes left in the first half. Beckham Jr. was questionable to return, with 19 seconds left.
As halftime came around, stats of the game so far were… total plays: Rams 31, Bengals 30; total yards: Rams 184, Bengals 155; first downs: Rams 8, Bengals 9; third down conversions: Rams 4-for-8, Bengals 2-for-6; yards per play: Rams 5.9, Bengals 5.2.
With the second half underway, the Bengals started on their own 25 yard line. The Bengals quickly captured a touchdown; quarterback Joe Burrow hit Higgins for a 75-yard score just seconds into the second half. Next came an interception for the Bengals, with Stafford’s pass intended for wide receiver Ben Skowronek hitting off his hands. Minutes later, McPherson came out for his second field goal try of the game, and he ultimately accomplished the task. Bengals 20, Rams 13. With about six minutes left in the third quarter, placekicker Matt Gay scored a field goal for the Rams, beginning to close the gap between them and the Bengals. Bengals 20, Rams 16. It was announced that Beckham Jr. was officially out of the game with a knee injury. Minutes later, Burrow was sacked for the fifth time in the game – back-to-back plays and back-to-back sacks for the Rams. The third quarter came to a close, with a standing score of Bengals 20, Rams 16.
It was evident that the offense for the Rams was taking a hit with the loss of Beckham Jr. at the start of the fourth quarter. Burrow’s favorite third down target this game, Boyd, dropped his first pass of the season. With just over five minutes left, the Rams’ run distress continued. With about seven minutes left in the game, the Rams neared the red zone and looked ready to score. With just about two minutes left in the game, the Rams got bailed out, with the Bengals getting called for a defensive holding, which makes it an automatic first down. Offsetting penalties resulted in a replay of first down and took the idea of a touchdown off the plate, with the Rams actively still trying to make another score. Minutes later, the Rams secured the touchdown they were looking for; Stafford threw to a leaping Kupp, who made the catch over Bengals cornerback Eli Apple. With just over a minute left, the Rams took the lead. Rams 23, Bengals 20. With the Bengals trying to give it all they had left and, ultimately, coming up short, the Los Angeles Rams became the Super Bowl LVI champions.
Piper Pavelich can be contacted