A Look Back at Super Bowl LVI

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams Fanatics Authentic Framed 15

Football fanatics know that the Super Bowl is one of the best times of the year. This game is a culmination of an entire NFL season, showcasing the stellar play of some of the league’s best. As this year’s Super Bowl looms, it’s a great time to look back on some of the most exciting games of recent years. One match, Super Bowl LVI of 2022 between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals, is more than worth a revisit. Explore this full recap of a massive and massively entertaining game.

Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams Fanatics Authentic Unsigned Super Bowl LVI Game-Winning Touchdown Throw PhotographJoe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals Fanatics Authentic Unsigned Super Bowl LVI Dropping Back To Pass Photograph

Meet the Players

At the beginning of the 2021–2022 season, only a few fans would have predicted a matchup between the AFC’s Bengals and the NFC’s Rams. But in the long run, it makes a lot of sense when you look at the talent levels on each team. After impressive playoff runs for each squad that involved dethroning some heavy favorites, one would suspect each team was where it was supposed to be.

Taking snaps for the Bengals was quarterback Joe Burrow, who had recently made his way to the NFL as the first draft pick after a Heisman win and national championship with Louisiana State University (LSU). After a lackluster first NFL season for Burrow, the Bengals chose to surround their quarterback with plenty of talent with the likes of star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Notably, the team should have focused on its offensive line more than some analysts suggested.

The Rams were also no strangers to talent. The team traded with the Detroit Lions to receive quarterback Matthew Stafford. Not stopping there, the Rams built a stacked roster with wide receiver Cooper Kupp, veteran receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and defensive tackle Aaron Donald. On paper, the Rams appeared to have an advantage over the Bengals. But the Bengals had just beaten the likes of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans to earn their Super Bowl spot, and sports fanatics couldn’t discount them yet.

Starting Off

For Bengals fans, things were off to an agonizingly slow start. The team knew it would face a challenge with the Rams’ defense, but it could not have predicted losing the ball on a fourth and one within the first few minutes of the game. Every coach knows that going for it on fourth can be a risk, which was cold comfort as the Bengals’ sideline watched the Rams take over on downs, leading to a 17-yard touchdown pass to Beckham. With the extra kick, the Rams were up by seven.

To Pass Interference or Not To Pass Interference?

What’s an NFL postseason without a little bit of pass interference controversy? In Super Bowl LVI, it came in the biggest game with a questionable no-call on Rams’ cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Still down by seven, the Bengals tried a red-zone pass to receiver Tee Higgins. Ramsey was covering him, with some angles showing a little more undershirt holding than the league allows. Still, the referees didn’t make the call, and the pass went incomplete. Instead of walking away with seven, the Bengals kicked a 29-yard field goal to make the score 7–3.Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams Fanatics Authentic Rawlings Super Bowl LVI Matchup White Panel Football

A Few Quick Touchdowns

For those thinking this game would be a low-scoring field goal fest, the next few minutes proved otherwise. First, the Rams threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to a seemingly uncoverable Cooper Kupp to bring the score to 13–3 after a missed snap and hold led to a failed extra point attempt. With about 13 minutes left in the half, the Rams had an estimated 91% chance of winning the game.

Not to be outdone, the Bengals drove the ball down and capitalized on trickery to put some more points on the board. They had running back Joe Mixon throw the ball to receiver Tee Higgins in the end zone with 5:47 left in the half. This “Philly Special” — but make it Cincinnati — and its extra point resulted in a 13–10 score in favor of the Rams. But the Bengals were gaining ground.

Injury Timeout

Things went from bad to worse for the NFC champions. Stafford attempted a pass to Beckham that resulted in an incompletion. Worse than that, though, was Beckham suffering a no-contact injury on his knee, which was already a problem for him.

With Beckham out, the Bengals’ defense was more able to manage a single-star receiver in Kupp, and Stafford struggled to make something happen on the offense. He even threw an interception before the half, but he got lucky when inactive Bengals cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III jumped on the field to celebrate the takeaway, sending his team back to their 10. The Bengals couldn’t capitalize on the interception. They went into the half down by three.

A Halftime Report

As both teams headed to the locker room to discuss second-half improvements, a variety of iconic hip-hop artists from the past decade hit the stage for the Super Bowl halftime show. Fans enjoyed performances from artists like Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Mary J. Blige, to name a few. As fans enjoyed this musical break from the action, the teams laced back up for a memorable second half.

All Bengals All the Time

The Bengals chose to come out of the locker room swinging. Within a few seconds, Burrow threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Higgins against Ramsey. Ironically, this play involved another no-call between the two, with Higgins getting away with what some would call a face mask grab. After an extra point, the Bengals went ahead 17–13.

Next came a series of unfortunate events for the Rams. First, Stafford threw another interception that went off his receiver’s hands into the opposition’s possession. Then, just when it seemed like the Rams’ defense may have got the stop, Burrow kept the ball on fourth and one for a first down at the Rams’ 22-yard line. Although the Bengals couldn’t fully capitalize with a touchdown, they did add three points with a 38-yard field goal. At 20–13 in favor of the Bengals, the Rams had a 42% chance of winning the game.

A Change in the Game’s Momentum

But things were far from over for the Rams. Aaron Donald seemed to take the very idea of the Bengals scoring personally. He was instrumental in holding the Bengals to their last field goal. He also got to Burrow multiple times, pushing him out of bounds and watching gleefully as his teammates, A’Shawn Robinson and Von Miller, recorded sacks. Remember when we said the Bengals had an offensive line problem? Well, this was the result.

The Rams’ offense ran into a few struggles during this time. The team even tried its version of the Philly Special with Kupp sending a pass to Stafford. This decision was unsuccessful and puzzling, though, since the team was in the red zone and could have used a touchdown. Still, they kicked a 41-yard field goal to make the score 20–16 in favor of the Bengals.

Cooper Kupp Los Angeles Rams Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16
Los Angeles Rams Game-Winning Touchdown

Crowning a Super Bowl Champion

As the clock ticked down to the end of the game, the football odds fell back in the Rams’ favor. Some crucial third-down drops plagued the Bengals’ offense, and the referees seemed to make up for earlier no-calls by flagging the Bengals’ defense for both holding and defense pass interference, keeping the Rams’ final drive alive. Finally, Stafford connected with Kupp again, resulting in a one-yard touchdown pass. After the extra point, there was 1:29 left in the game, and the Rams were up 23–20.

The game was not over yet, though. The Bengals got the ball back with the chance to tie it with a field goal or win it with a touchdown. But on fourth and one at the Cincinnati 49, Donald ended the game then and there. He disrupted the play, and the Rams got the ball back to run out the clock. The game ended 23–20 Rams, and Matthew Stafford won the Super Bowl MVP award with a well-played assist from Aaron Donald and his disruptive play.



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