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Rams’ wild Super Bowl victory over Bengals completes bold, all-in plan

Written by on February 14, 2022

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The Los Angeles Rams’ 2021 season, which basically took on a Tremendous Bowl-or-bust theme, acquired its Hollywood ending Sunday night time as Sean McVay and his group overcame a sequence of doubtless crippling twists and turns to drag off a 23-20 comeback victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

In doing so, the Rams hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in their very own stadium – turning into the second group to take action in as a few years – a feat that introduced each reduction and redemption to probably the most star-studded groups within the league.

All through the buildup to Tremendous Bowl 56, McVay repeated a easy but difficult message to his group.

“Keep within the second,” the coach stated time and again.

Again within the Tremendous Bowl three years after an embarrassing championship loss to the New England Patriots to cap the 2018 season, McVay knew all too properly how negatively stress can affect gamers — and even coaches — and drive them into uncharacteristic errors. 

MORE:Sean McVay becomes youngest NFL coach to win Super Bowl as Rams beat Bengals

SUPER BOWL TAKEAWYS:Cooper Kupp comes through in the clutch, Rams put pressure on Joe Burrow

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (right) celebrates with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) after catching a touchdown pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium.

So, confronted with a shot at redemption this week, McVay cautioned his gamers to not let the magnitude of the problem overwhelm them. He harassed that they couldn’t press if confronted with adversity, however that they would wish to stay disciplined and depend on what had received them thus far.

Regardless of a harrowing second quarter, which featured the game-ending injury to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and a sputtering third quarter, the Rams managed to do precisely what McVay preached.

And in the long run, it was the largest stars who got here by for the Rams as Cooper Kupp, who completed as Tremendous Bowl MVP after hauling in eight catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns, woke from a quiet second half to bail Matthew Stafford out with one clutch catch after one other within the remaining 5 minutes of play. Then Aaron Donald, the longtime anchor of the protection, single-handedly crushed Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ hopes for a comeback with a monstrous sack with seconds remaining in regulation.

Mission completed. 

After one aggressive gamble after one other — delivery off premium draft picks for large identify stars — the Rams lastly received their championship and strengthened their declare on a fan base they’ve seemed to lock down since transferring to Los Angeles in 2016.

It wasn’t fairly although.

The Rams had orchestrated a powerful begin to the sport with landing drives capped by Stafford landing passes to Jr. after which Kupp, the latter of which gave them a 13-Three lead over Cincinnati simply minutes into the second quarter.

“I simply don’t really feel deserving of this,” Kupp stated. “I’m simply so grateful for the fellows I get to be round, for the coaches, for my household. I simply don’t have phrases, I’m simply so grateful for everybody, everybody that’s been in my life and has inspired me, has pushed me, has been there for me each step of the way in which.”

However the Bengals did not flinch.

5 totally different instances this season (thrice within the common season, twice within the postseason), Burrow directed both a fourth-quarter comeback or game-winning drive. The latest got here within the AFC championship sport when the Bengals rallied after falling in a 21-Three gap and clawed all the way in which again to beat Tremendous Bowl favourite Kansas Metropolis 27-24 in time beyond regulation.

So what was yet one more comeback towards a closely favored opponent?

It’s stated that groups tackle the persona of their strongest chief. And the cool, unflinching, and even gutsy, demeanors of each Burrow and coach Zac Taylor might be seen because the Bengals methodically put collectively a powerful drive that was capped by trickery — a move from operating again Joe Mixon to vast receiver Tee Higgins to drag inside 13-10, after which the momentum utterly shifted the Bengals’ course because of a sequence of unlucky occasions for the Rams. 

First, Beckham went down clutching his knee after attempting in useless to regulate to a move thrown behind him. Beckham, whose presence not solely gave L.A. one other top-flight playmaker but in addition eased stress on Kupp, didn’t return to the sport.

Then, 5 performs after Beckham’s exit, Stafford underthrew a move meant for Van Jefferson in the long run zone, and Cincinnati’s Jessie Bates III picked it off. Halftime did nothing to reverse the wave as Burrow related with Higgins on a 75-yard landing move on the primary play of the third quarter, and Stafford promptly threw one other interception — this time without work of the palms of vast receiver Ben Skowronek and into the clutches of cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, which arrange a 38-yard Evan McPherson subject purpose. Later within the quarter, the Rams tried to create a spark with a reverse-pass from Kupp to Stafford, however the receiver’s toss sailed excessive and over the pinnacle of his quarterback, and the Rams needed to accept a 41-yard Matt Homosexual subject purpose that solely reduce the rating to 20-16.

The Rams can thank their fortunate stars that they’ve such a proficient protection, as a result of the unit anchored by Donald, Von Miller and Leonard Floyd harassed Burrow all through the second half, holding the Bengals in test and basically protecting their group within the sport. Burrow was sacked seven instances on the night time, with two every by Donald and Miller.

However because the clock started to turn into an element, stress mounted on McVay’s offense.

When the sport reached its most important factors, the Rams went to their bread and butter: Stafford to Kupp, Stafford to Kupp, Stafford to Kupp once more together with for the game-winning landing — after which Donald slammed the door with the sack of Burrow, and strutted up the sector, pointing to his ring finger.